How can your organization mitigate the risks of social media, and maximize the rewards?

Look no further than the major airlines for recent examples of the extreme, often exasperating impact of social media done wrong. In an era when everyone has a smartphone camera, any shred of privacy—particularly in public spaces—is pure illusion. The odds of your organization’s bad day being posted, tweeted, or snapped are only increasing. Just ask United, Delta, or Southwest. At the same time, the social media engagement designed to diffuse brand consequences can do just the opposite. Just ask United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz.

What’s your organization to do?

1. Train your troops. Anyone who touches your organization’s social media presence needs to understand its premise, platforms, and priorities. That’s why creating a comprehensive social media training structure is critical. Your people must know what’s acceptable, expected, and encouraged in your social media engagement. What are you trying to achieve? How does it grow your brand? What are the boundaries? Great organizations have a thoughtful social media policy, complete with clear lines of responsibility and accountability. And they commit to rich and recurrent employee training to make their people their valacyclovir get you high most powerful brand ambassadors.

2. Align and prosper. One thing leading companies have in common is their full understanding of social media risks. And they put their money where their risk is. You don’t have to have a Social Media Command Center like Microsoft to ensure every post aligns with brand voice…but you still need to align every post with brand voice. That means staffing your social media outreach adequately. Make sure you devote enough resources to avoid conflicting, tardy, or imprecise content.

3. Don’t fear, fear itself. Remember, on the other side of risk is reward. So, keep your organization’s eye on the social media-powered prize. Surveys show the greatest challenge for many enterprises is a culture that stymies social media experimentation in favor of a bunker mentality that keeps your brand bound to less relevance, less energy, and less impact. That translates into less money in sales, less loyalty in customers, and less engagement in stakeholders. Remember, the reward is worth it…if your organization embraces the imperative of making social work for you…in spite of the risks.

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