Companies need to have a social media policy in place.

This is according to Nigel Miller, a partner at law firm Fox Williams, who noted these networks are a great way to engage customers and add value to brands. However, as with any emerging technology, there are a number of challenges facing firms as they seek to use them appropriately.

Brand impersonation is one issue that needs to be given serious consideration. If fake Twitter or Facebook accounts are set up, Mr Miller stated customers can be easily misled.

“This might be done by jokers, scammers or counterfeiters. The negative impact on a brand can grow exponentially if false offers, scams, malicious information, spoofs or jokes get shared on social media networks,” he added.

Social media monitoring can therefore be used to stop this from becoming a major problem. If firms are keeping on top of what is being said about their brand, then they should be able to notice any impostors or improper content.

Mr. Miller added account details have to be kept secure at all times. He pointed to the case of Tom Watson, the Labour MP who had his Twitter hacked by an intern after he went into a meeting, as an example of how damaging not doing so can be.

When it comes to drawing up a social media policy, firms should make sure they set up ‘official’ pages on platforms – such as applying to use the blue verified badge on Twitter. This lets customers know the page is genuine and can be trusted.

Businesses also need to consider how user-generated content will be dealt with, as they should reserve the right to take down offensive or damaging content. Staff should also be educated about the risks of improper use of social media channels.

For example, employees should be prohibited from posting offensive comments or releasing confidential corporate information. With brand protection such a big issue at present, firms should go out of their way to make sure they stay on top of social media.

Firms ‘need a social media policy’

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