With great exposure comes enormous responsibility.
Without a doubt, social media is the great equalizer. Until the arrival of WordPress, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr, “big business” had an inequitable advantage. Of course, any small business could create a website, but few had the resources and knowledge to capture global exposure and sales.
Most small businesses had to settle for direct mail, local newspapers, networking, etc. because they simply couldn’t compete with the large ad budgets doled out by big brands. In most cases, mediums with the highest reach — TV, Radio, Magazine, Outdoor and Digital were not viable for the average entrepreneur with limited resources.
Social media changed all of that.
The Proliferation of Social Media
Since the advent of social media, anyone can create an online presence and broadcast their uncensored point of view on the Internet at virtually low or no-cost. Public figures like Justin Bieber and Lily Allen quickly rose from middle class obscurity to international celebrity due to the influence of social media.
The world now spends over 110 billion minutes on social networks and blogs (AC Nielsen). This means that you, and your company’s target audience spend 25% of the time (12-15 hours a month) visiting social media sites. And unlike other types of media, social media is doubling year over year, it’s inexpensive and it’s available 24/7 on mobile devices.
But therein lays the problem.
How to Manage Social Media Risk
Good and bad news, truth or fallacy, can spread online like a pandemic. In contrast to paid-advertising, a large percentage of what is said in social networks is contributed by people outside of your organization. How can you keep track of every single thing that is said or written about you? It’s almost impossible to monitor and control where and how your brand is mentioned online.
And while social media can potentially boost reach and sales exponentially, it can also easily damage your company’s reputation. With this in mind, here are five simple ways to mitigate the risks associated with social media?
1. Use social media to interact.
The focus of traditional marketing is on lead generation and sales. However, in social media it’s all about engagement, education and relationships. To excel in social networks, you will need to offer value upfront to gain followers and then get to know them and understand their needs.
If you fail to engage, you may risk more harm than good. How many people and businesses have asked you to “like” their brand, re-tweet or join their mailing list in the past 24 hours? Probably more than you’d like to admit. Since we are inundated with brands talking “at us,” it becomes significantly harder to make an impression and persuade action.