Here Are Some Risks to Consider Before Using Social Media for Your Business

Read more from Michael Alter here and in the Dollars and Sense archive.
The noise about using social media as a means to grow your business has become so constant it almost blends into the background at this point. With Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pushing their advertising platforms and Google+ touting better search optimization, it’s inescapable. 
However, for those that have used it for business, I’m sure you’ve already seen it’s not a golden ticket to growing revenues. For some, it’s had an added value of awareness, but for others it can seem like you’re in a room talking to yourself. 
So before you rush into spending a bunch of money on social media advertising, consider that: A) There are no guarantees it will help your business; and B) There are no guarantees it won’t hurt your business. 
A recent study from Grant Thornton outlines some of the risk involved: 
  • Damage to brand reputation
  • Disclosure of proprietary and/or confidential information
  • Corporate identity theft
  • Legal, regulatory and compliance violations
Yet, only 18 percent have performed a risk assessment on using social media and only 33 percent have a social media policy. 
We’ve all seen examples of companies, celebrities, and various other outlets getting in trouble because of controversial tweets. That’s one risk, of course, for anyone using social media.
What may be more likely for your small business or firm is that an unhappy customer can very easily get on Twitter or Facebook and blast you. In fact, it’s probably going to happen. Are you prepared for when it does? Do you have a policy in place? You don’t want to just go off the cuff and risk more bad publicity. 
Social media is certainly something you shouldn’t ignore. It’s another avenue to generate attention for your business, and you should at least be aware of what you can do with it. Just don’t go in blind.

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