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Social Media – the risk vs the opportunity

Anyone who still thinks social media is a fad is living in the dark ages and so is their business. It is proving its worth ten times over and engaged online communities are proving the best company endorsement money can’t buy.

Social Media for your BusinessFor anyone who knows me and our Gen Red team you will know how passionate we are about online campaigns enhancing traditional offline communications. The opportunities are endless, but they aren’t without risk.

Brisbane law firm Rostron Carlyle Solicitors conducted a national survey into the perceived risks of social networking to organisations and were concerned to find most employers were ill-equipped to protect themselves against employee misuse.

Queensland’s leading  legal expert on social networking, corporate IT lawyer Malcolm Burrows of Rostron Carlyle said while 76 per cent of respondents claimed they used social networking sites while at work, 54 per cent also said their work place did not have a social media policy.

“Social media comes with serious risks, such as loss of confidential information, breach of copyright and privacy, discrimination, defamation and even infringement of industry specific legislation,” Mr Burrows warned.

“55% of companies fear social media will affect their business reputation.”

But what are companies doing about it?

Whether you are raising awareness of your brand through the media, or building an online community of devoted followers you are playing with fire and yes there are risks and uncontrollable elements. But the biggest risk is not getting in the game at all, the damage that could occur online that you aren’t managing and the market share your competitors will be stealing from you if they are engaging with your customers and you aren’t.

Know what the perceived hazards are to your business and have plans in place to combat that should it arise. We have crisis communications plans in place for traditional forums, why not the internet also?

Have a social media workplace document built into your induction and contract stages to protect your firm and be a leader in the way the business world is moving.
Like anything worth doing in life, the risks are there, but does the risk outweigh the massive opportunity you have at your finger tips?

The answer is no. So if you still aren’t engaged, take the step today.

Fleur Madden-Topley

Fleur Madden-Topley

Fleur is managing director of <a href="http://www.redpr.com.au">Red PR</a> in Brisbane and Blue by Red PR in Sydney. She started her career as a journalist and Red PR was born out of the necessity for public relations professionals to deliver quality work and exceed both their clients’ and the media’s expectations. In seven years, Red has become one of the most respected lifestyle PR agencies in Australia. In 2008, it was the first Australian agency asked to partner with PROI, the largest global group of independently owned agencies.

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