We live in a digital world where people are able to connect with others more easily than ever before with the use of social media and the internet. This means that they are also able to connect with brands easily, providing social media and other internet marketing tools are used in the correct manner.
Social Media is considered as one of the best, low cost marketing tools available and many companies now employ individuals specifically to maintain and expand their social media marketing efforts. As social media has the opportunity for a brand message to reach such a wide and varied audience, many organisations now actively encourage all team members to partake in the corporate social media efforts. This company push of social media however, can leave the organisation open to security threats from members of staff who are not too content in their work – you can’t always please everyone right?
By not monitoring posts and content placed across social media and the internet in general, the brand message can be manipulated and tainted. Negative messages regarding the organisation, its products and staff can be spread just as easily as, and often quicker than, the brand message. The same principle can apply to corporate secrets or key areas of the supply chain which offers a competitive advantage being revealed. This can be detrimental to the success of an organisation as content on the internet is often available a long period of time after it initially becomes an issue.
Social media can also be an IT network security threat as allowing staff to access social media sites leaves the organisation open to malicious content, phishing schemes and account hacking. However, if organisations were to prohibit the use of social media all together, a significant competitive advantage can be lost.
However, organisations do have the ability to protect themselves against the risk through the IT team working in collaboration with the HR department in order to introduce an acceptable usage policy. This is a document which all team members must adhere to when using social media within the workplace and stipulates both acceptable and unacceptable actions ranging from social media sites that can be used, content that may be distributed and the use of personal social media accounts.
Further to the introduction of a social media acceptable usage policy, many organisations such as DELL offer training to team members in order to ensure they understand the importance of social media and how to make their contributions more effective. This ensures that all members of staff are able to understand the importance of social media, how to offer a consistent message and ensure that the brand is represented as intended.
Acceptable use policies and supporting social media training have the intent of providing a safe working environment, increasing employee productivity and providing a layer of security to company assets like individual computers and network infrastructure. With the increasing use of social media in the business world, it is certainly worth investing a little time and money into ensuring that your business and network infrastructure remain secure.