Social media is very hot right now! Everyone and anyone seems to be utilizing these sites, and small businesses are hopping aboard sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ so that they can be where the customers are.
These social media channels are great tools for small businesses. They help to build your brand, find new customers, and connect with your existing customers in a way that you simply cannot otherwise. You should definitely be using social networks for your business, but you need to know that social media activity is not without its risks to your small business. The following are the top threats for small business in social media that you need to watch out for.
A PR implosion
For most small business the staff wears several hats. You probably are not a small business if you manage to have a social media manager and a public relations person on staff to be sure that your presence on these social sites comes across as perfect and polished all the time.
Occasionally you will have a client, customer, or someone else you makes a disparaging comment or other negative post about your business on these social sites. This isn’t necessarily the threat; the issue is how you choose to handle it. A non-diplomatic response that lacks professionalism and panache can make any damage exponentially worse. That being said, while you always want to respond quickly, to avoid creating your own bad press, compose a smart, professional response, and consider researching first to see how social pros think you should respond.
A security snafu
You surely know that social sites have some security and privacy risks. Everyone has someone they know with a Facebook page or Twitter account that had been hacked or otherwise compromised at one time or another. Unfortunately, business accounts face the same security risks.
When an individual account is compromised, it is usually just a major annoyance that the user has to work with. If a business profile is taken over by a hacker, there can be big problems. It can be hard to retake control of the account, and in the interim fans and followers may be getting some very off- message communications from the criminal that now controls your account. If the hacker manages to scam any of your fans or followers while posing as your business, this could reflect very negatively on you.
An expensive error
Another great threat to small businesses in social media activity is the employees using the social media. Employees accessing their personal social media account, or even your business account, can fall victim to one of the many scams on Facebook, may accidentally give out privileged information, or could contract malware while using the company computer.
If your employees are not well versed in using social media safely and securely, accessing these free networks can end up incredibly costly. Not only should your employees be trained in safely using these sites, but they should be discouraged from using personal accounts as well. All of your computers should also be equipped with top notch antimalware protection; in the event of a rogue application or an employee clicking a malicious link, this coverage could save you money and a lot of time that you would have to spend with an IT pro.
These were just the top threats for small business in social media activity. There are many threats online to individual as well as business users. These threats are real, but they are no reason for your business to stay off of social sites. Social media marketing can give your business a big boost, so you should use these sites, but you need to do so safely.