Social media platforms present wonderful opportunities for businesses. You can use them to connect to your customers, reach out to new customers, sell your products (both existing and new), answer queries from customers among others.
(Read our article on social media and business here)
While you stand to gain a lot from social media as a businessperson, you should also be aware of the attendant risks that come with these platforms. Let us look at the five key risks of social media to businesses:
- Human error - At the touch of a button, your message is instantaneously available to everyone in your online communities. And not just them, virtually anyone who has a member of your online tribe in their own communities. Since people will most likely share, retweet, like and repost what you publish, it is important for you to take great care before posting. Not so long a go, Donald Trump made a presidential "covfefe"error. There is no harm in double checking what you want to post online.
- Fights with members of your tribe - say someone didn't like what you have published and goes ahead to malign you with unprintable words, what do you do? You have done your best to get your customers the very best offer, product or service, and yet, some are calling you names. Not everyone will be happy with what you do - no matter how good you are at it. Because social networks makes it easy for people to hide themselves behind their online personas, they will easily provoke you into an online war. Do not let them win. It is as Senator Hillary Clinton said, "When they go low, we go high!" Don't fight anyone. Calmly and maturely respond to any harsh comments you get. If its too much you can always report, delete or block!
- Controversial content - religious, sexual and political content is usually controversial. Sometimes, even when you mean well, some people may take offense. This is why it is important for you to steer away from such content unless your business is about them.
- Slow or zero response to comments - Imagine this: your customer has read your post and left a comment or question for you online. For whatever reason, you do not respond to it. Would they come back? What impression are you creating to others? No one likes being ignored. You should respond promptly to comments and address any concerns your tribe has raised. If not, they will quickly dump you for the competition.
- Costs - Most social networks are usually free to join. However, you may have to hire someone to create a professional profile for you, and another to manage the sites.
There are other risks of businesses using social media including legal, reputational, financial and operational. Your social media strategy should be able to cover these risks and give you your true North.