Risks in Social Media

Social media training, a social media risk assessment plan, a social governance policy, and a risk-aware culture — is all of this really necessary? Yes. For all the benefits social media have provided to financial service firms from marketing, referrals, and recruitment, the complexities and legal risks are still daunting, not to mention risks to reputation.

But going social cannot be avoided, according to a new Accenture paper, “A Comprehensive Approach to Managing Social Media Risk and Compliance.” The number of social network users worldwide skyrocketed to 1.73 billion in 2013 and is expected to top 2.55 billion by 2017. In the US, people spend 16 minutes of every hour using social media. With momentum like this, “it is better to manage it effectively than try to stand in its way.”

The legal and brand risks are understandably paralyzing, but at this stage, adopting social media is not a forward-thinking move. It’s an obvious and inevitable strategy. Fortunately, early adopters have demonstrated that social media can be managed, and financial firms have yet to make headlines for a major accidental breach through social channels.

We have been talking much about social media, lets take an example of a firm that has to understand their risks regarding social media. We will discuss our previously used example of Ahmet’s resutarant based in South Bank, Brisbane.

They claim the following on their webpage

A great atmosphere leaves a lasting impression from the moment you enter Ahmet’s. From the vibrant rugs and lanterns adorning the walls to the jangling Turkish music, you will be transported to Turkey, erasing the memory that Brisbane is just beyond the door.

As it was identified that the restaurant has to increase their social media presence, so here are the following strategies suggested to minimise the risk

Define your strategy. For a successful social media program, you need a well-defined strategy that has been developed and endorsed by management. Your strategy should address these key questions:

·         What business benefits do you expect social media to achieve?

·         What are your target markets, and how will your social media serve them?

·         How will management ensure that the entire organization is following the strategy?

·         Who is authorized to speak on the organization’s behalf?

·         How will you respond to negative or untrue feedback?


Monitor and manage feedback. There is a wealth of information in the feedback that companies receive from the public—especially feedback from current and future customers. Still, not every comment that a company receives is going to be useful.

A very important aspect of your social media strategy is figuring out who and what to listen to and how to react to their comments. All remarks should be evaluated carefully. It is important to act on negative comments swiftly and appropriately, but it is just as important to address potentially fake comments, which can skew product opinion and lead to brand damage. Both Amazon and TripAdvisor recently addressed issues regarding fake reviews in an effort to maintain their brand image.

5 thoughts on “Risks in Social Media

  1. How can you tell if it is a fake comment? I guess it has to be defined and worked out by particular organisations but it still seems slightly difficult. How did Amazon and TripAdvisor address their fake comments? Were they able to delete them or did they respond?


    1. It is hard to tell these days as there are many software generated comments as well. These comments can be positive and they can be negative as well. What matters the most is the firms ability to evaluate if the customer is not fake by following up with the customers


  2. Companies that are on social media are definitely more vulnerable – I know a small jewellery business that had vengeful customers posting on their social media defaming their services with utter lies. In that situation they were actually able to seek legal action about that person and have a restraining order and a formal recanting of their comment. So it’s important to remember that above the usual comment deletion and flagging, companies are able to take it one step further and get real results. I think that also sets a good standard for a community in general, to be aware that you can be liable online very easily. Nice post!


    1. Lucy, I totally understand and there is no way that firms can counter this completely. However, firms can only engage with their customers and ensure that the firm understands their needs


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