Safeguarding corporate reputation in social media
This week I was fortunate to visit the Middle-east to give a two-day workshop on ‘Reputation Risk and Communication’.
It was my first trip to Dubai for a number of years and it was a privilege to return and witness at close quarters the extraordinary flowering of the emirate and the optimism and drive of its people. It was also a welcome antidote to the shocking and numbing images of riots and massacres that so easily shape perceptions of the broader region.
The visit also provided a chance to hear direct from senior communications, marketing, risk management and legal professionals from the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Pakistan about their professional observations, experiences and challenges.
The workshop focused on how organisations can mitigate and manage corporate reputation in a broad sense, including during crises, with much of our discussion focusing on social media, which is clearly a major concern, in part due to its role in the so-called Arab Spring.
Here are a few slides from the workshop outlining how companies and governments can safeguard corporate reputation in social media.
I am glad to say my take on this issue appeared to resonate positively with the workshop participants.
That said, there’s always much to learn.
It would be great to know your comments or suggestions.
Are you aware of Nexgate’s technology solutions designed to allow social world audits and full discovery of all instances of brand utilisation? The average US corp often has between 100 and 200 active social media accounts of which they know and control potentially a dozen. Many will be legitimately set up by different divisions etc but with no centralised control, no adherence to response standards and no consistent messaging to appropriately carry the “brand’ so to speak. Then there will be the fake accounts and these can be discovered and closed down with the co-operation of the platform provider:eg Facebook, LinkedIn etc. In Australia, we have even discovered examples of trademark breaches using these tools. Nexgate can also provide safeguards against inappropriate language, with posts being automatically removed and held for review. If its then determined as a false positive the post can be resubmitted.
Given these processes can be automated it removes the element of human error as well as saving human resources which can be deployed in more meaningful ways instead of 24/7 social media monitoring.
Its also on topic to consider some of the regulatory considerations corporates need to be aware of: Advertising standards is one that can be tricky especially in countries where your website content is considered advertising, including whatever gets said by anyone, either employees or joe public via a comments section. If someone makes a false or misleading claim, or they use bad language etc and these posts remain on the website the company runs the risk of breaching the advertising standards for many countries across the globe.
Companies may also have obligations that relate to their specific industry, or if they are a public company there may well be obligations around addressing rumours that appear on investor forums and other social media platforms.
There is also a requirement to ensure you store and archive all social media content from your accounts. Archiving is a growing area which the data storage salesmen love and companies can no longer avoid in case its needed for later defense or litigation purposes. Once it was only email that was required to be archived now social media accounts by necessity must be part of this equation. Imagine the difficulty this might represent if you aren’t even aware of or in control of all of your social media assets. Fortunately most of these things have been solved through technology solutions available today but the risks are not widely acknowledged hence it remains a significant issue.
Also have a look at NetBoxBlue technology which does some of the above as well and has been widely deployed around cyberbullying identification both within education and corporate environments. Great tool with a strong sense of social conscience because it can do a powerful lot of good in the prevention of suicides from cyberbullying.
I would also add having strong employment contracts identifying appropriate use of social media is one area most companies still haven’t tackled fully and should do so. Where I come from there have been several successful wrongful dismissal court cases against employers who have sacked someone for their actions on social media. Employers that don’t spell out the expectations they have of their employees on social media will run the gauntlet needlessly.
Thanks Graeme, I have indeed heard of Nextgate, though know little about it. Feel free to ping me details at my email address, as per the contact page of this blog.
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