Social media has the ability to turn your company into the top trend of the week. But as fast as people can build you up, they can knock you down with very little effort. A badly chosen word or an inappropriate joke and suddenly a short social media post is headline news and not in a good way.
eMarketer put together a chart showing which social media networks carry the most risk. In the eyes of those surveyed, Facebook posed the most significant risk, but Twitter and YouTube worry more people overall.
Facebook is frightening due to its size. The site is designed to create “reach,” so what I post, my friends see and so on and so forth. We also know that recommendations from friends carry a lot of weight on Facebook, so the opposite is also true. If my friends have bad things to say about a brand, then I’m likely to go with the flow and shun the brand, too.
On the upside, you have control of your own Facebook page. You can delete incoming comments and respond in a place where the world can see your mea culpa.
Twitter, on the other hand, is like a wildfire waiting to consume a forest. Customers with a complaint can @ your brand with a nasty message and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. And once a war of words takes hold on Twitter, it spreads out like gas from a tipped over can.
Now YouTube is an interesting animal. Not many people saw it as a significant risk, but 43% said slight risk. Fedex checked the first box. Remember, the majority of adults in the US are walking around with a camera in their cell phone. If your company crosses the line in public, it’ll end up on YouTube.
When asked what worries them the most, 35% of the social media responders said a critical risk to their company’s reputation. 31% were moderately concerned about the release of private information and 31% thought there was a moderate risk of losing their hold on intellectual property.
Other potential risks include malware, identity theft, legal issues, and a waste of company time.
In spite of all the concerns, companies continue to jam Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and every other social media site with branded information. Obviously, they’ve concluded that the risk is worth the reward.