Social Networks Risks- How to Manage

By Albert Franquesa, Principal Consultant, GFT
In 2012 we saw many cases where public companies were hit by social networks causing major headaches and even impacting their business decisions and forced them to make changes.

As an example, take Bank of America, which announced an additional $5 a month fee for debit cards holders. One person started a petition on the social networks requesting Bank of America to revert this decision. In a few days, 300,000 people had joined the group. Following the social network feedback, the Bank of America ditched its plans on the maintenance fee. The so called ‘social effect’ forced the bank to react quickly, whilst being closely-monitored by the media and society. And what is worse, causing a reputational impact – which can be difficult to recover from.

Today, when anyone can see themselves as an amateur reporter, via twitter or similar social networking tools, the risk to a company’s reputation is even greater. A tweet from an influential person, or a group of people re-tweeting a bad experience with a retail bank can cause lasting damage if the organisation doesn’t act fast. In addition, an errant tweet from an official company account could negatively affect a trade or client relationship. For highly regulated industries, social media can be a legal minefield.

On top of this, one cannot ignore the cultural change that is needed within public companies to adapt to the social media revolution. Everyone needs to be onboard as soon as possible. The social media strategy is a matter for the whole company, from the boardroom down, and simply a specific department. Companies need to manage social networks and share the responsibility throughout the organisation

There are many solutions that public companies are already putting in place by using a range of different products and technologies, and setting up specific departments within the business to monitor and solve these sorts of problems.

Wouldn’t it thus be a good idea to detect all the tweets that mention a company specifically and process them accordingly in a workflow type tool? Identifying the relevant tweets and acting fast is not difficult. But when it comes to certain, specific actions being the responsibility of specific departments, and depending on the nature of the tweet, this simple scenario can get very complex. Additionally, we must remember that regulators can ask for evidence on how a customer in a regulated industry acts using social media. All activity must be recorded and archived.

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Recently one of our customers came to us wanting to capture all their relevant tweets and then process them accordingly, filtering out to the appropriate departments (legal, risk, compliance, marketing, etc.). This was achieved using ServiceNow, an ITSM SaaS and PaaS tool. The solution loads tweets into the tool and sorts them accordingly: archive, monitor and act, based on specific metadata fields, such as message content, social profiles and dates. The customisable workflow means that it can be adapted to a client organisation’s way of working. From each tweet a task can be created for the risk department, an incident for the helpdesk or simply notify the marketing department about a specific feedback on a campaign it recently launched. Reports for teams can be added as required.

Managing these tweets in time (and broadly speaking any social media content) can help to manage a client’s reputational and compliance risks, while helping meet the regulators requirements.

We recognise that there are now a host of companies communicating with existing and potential customers via social media channels, and this will only increase. Such customer interaction has major benefits, but companies must realise that such communication happens in an informal and insecure environment which poses some very unique challenges that companies must plan for, if they don’t want to be caught out.

Source: Techbubbles

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