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10 Strategies for Effective Social Media Risk Management

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  • 10 Strategies for Effective Social Media Risk Management

Social media offers a powerful means of connecting and engaging with your desired audience. However, along with its benefits come risks that can potentially damage your brand’s reputation and bottom line.

From negative comments and online trolls to data breaches and PR disasters, the world of social media is rife with pitfalls. Worryingly, a single social media post can quickly escalate into a crisis, impacting a company’s reputation and finances, underscoring the influence of social media today.

But fear not! With the right plan, you can steer clear of these risks and make sure your social media game stays strong.

Read on for ten strategies to help you master the art of social media risk management.

Social Media Risk Management

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Ten Strategies for Social Media Risk Management

Develop a Clear Social Media Policy

Much like a ship relies on a meticulously charted route to navigate the open seas, your organization needs a well-defined social media policy to chart its course in the digital world.

Within this comprehensive document, you should include guidelines that cover various aspects of social media engagement. Think of it as an instruction manual, with chapters dedicated to content sharing, response times, and expected standards of conduct. Let’s take a look at these a bit more closely.

Content Sharing: Specify suitable content for social media, covering tone, language, visuals, and alignment with your brand’s voice and values.

Response Times: Ensure your social media team responds swiftly to interactions, positive or negative. Define response times and escalation procedures for inquiries, comments, and complaints.

Appropriate Conduct: Set conduct guidelines for team members on social media. Establish ethical standards and engagement protocols for interactions with followers, competitors, and critics.

Monitor Your Social Media Channels Regularly

Monitoring your social media channels is like keeping a vigilant watch on a bustling city. The thing is, social media never sleeps, and you shouldn’t either.

Imagine you run a popular e-commerce store specializing in fashion. One busy afternoon, as you’re away from your desk, you notice a flurry of negative comments popping up on your latest Instagram post.

Now, here’s where your diligent social media monitoring tools come into play. You’re out and about, but you can swiftly spot the issue and access your office computer with a remote desktop connection download.

It turns out that a few customers have received the wrong sizes of clothing in their recent orders, and they’re expressing their disappointment on your post.

Thanks to your proactive monitoring efforts, you spot this issue as it unfolds. You immediately respond to each comment, apologizing for the mix-up and promising to rectify the situation.

When you handle the problem quickly and with professionalism, you’re not just stopping negative comments from getting worse, you’re also showing your audience that you take their concerns seriously.

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Establish an Escalation Plan

Not all issues can be resolved with a simple reply or deletion of a negative comment.

Having a well-defined plan in place will help your team respond swiftly and decisively when needed.

Let’s consider a fictional example involving a popular fast-food chain. One evening, a customer visiting one of its restaurants finds a foreign object in their burger. They take a photo of it and share it on social media, tagging the chain’s official account with a strongly worded complaint. This is where their escalation plan springs into action.

Identification of Key Decision-Makers: The social media team identifies the severity of the situation and immediately notifies the crisis management team. This squad’s got folks from PR, legal, and customer service – all hands on deck.

Assignment of Responsibilities: The PR representative takes the lead in crafting a public response, the legal representative assesses potential liability, and the customer service representative reaches out to the affected customer privately to gather more information and offer assistance.

Swift and Decisive Response: The chain releases a public statement on its social media platforms acknowledging the incident, expressing concern for the customer’s well-being, and promising a thorough investigation.

Coordinated Messaging: The PR team works closely with the legal team to ensure that public statements align with potential legal implications. Meanwhile, the customer service crew offers a toll free number for business and individuals that might have been affected by a similar issue.

In this fictional scenario, the clear escalation plan enabled the fast-food chain to respond swiftly and decisively to a severe social media issue.

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Train Your Social Media Team

Your social media team should be in the loop when it comes to understanding the world of social media risk management. Just as a pilot undergoes rigorous training to handle various in-flight situations, your social media team needs to be prepared for the challenges they might face in the digital world.

Make sure to provide them with some solid training that covers everything from dealing with crises and resolving conflicts to being familiar with the latest data protection and privacy tips.

Consider an incident where your social media account is hacked and offensive content is posted. Without proper training, your team might not know how to respond effectively in such a crisis. They could inadvertently make the situation worse, damaging our brand’s reputation.

Provide them with the skills and knowledge to safely pilot through the occasionally turbulent skies of social media.

Respond Promptly and Professionally

Ignoring or deleting negative comments can often make matters worse. Address the issue with a calm and empathetic tone, and take the conversation offline if necessary.

Meet Sarah, a fictional dedicated social media manager at a thriving e-commerce company known for its trendy fashion collections.

One morning, Sarah logs into the company’s social media platforms to start her day. As she checks the social media feed, she notices several new comments and messages on the company’s latest Instagram post. Customers are complaining about delivery times and lack of information on product availability.

Sarah springs into action. She starts by quickly replying to public comments with detailed information about product availability and assuring customers that their inquiries are being addressed.

For more complex queries or order-specific issues, Sarah initiates private message conversations with customers. Using unified communications, she easily accesses order histories and inventory data to provide personalized responses.

As a result of Sarah’s diligent responses, customers on the social media platform feel heard and valued. Instead of further complaints, positive feedback and grateful comments flood in, giving a nice little boost to the company’s online reputation and customer loyalty.

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Use Social Listening Tools

Another hugely helpful tip to boost your social media risk management strategy is using social listening tools. They’re like your personal social media detectives, always keeping an ear out for what people are saying about your brand in the vast world of social media.

These tools are game-changers because they can help you figure out if folks are loving your stuff or feeling a bit underwhelmed about it.

For instance, imagine Emily, a social media manager at a fictional chain of coffee shops. She starts her day by checking the company’s social listening tools. One morning, she notices a surge in mentions of their new “Caramel Bliss Latte” but also spots recurring complaints about its sweetness.

Recognizing the potential issue, Emily responds promptly, thanking customers for their feedback and promising a solution. Behind the scenes, the product team adjusts the recipe based on social listening insights.

Within days, they roll out an improved latte, and Emily updates customers via social media. Thanks to social listening tools, the company was able to turn a potential crisis into an opportunity, showcasing its responsiveness and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Protect Customer Data

Data breaches are a significant concern in today’s digital age. So, here’s the deal: You’ve got to make sure your social media accounts are locked up tight. That means changing your passwords regularly. And when it comes to handling customer data on social media, you’ve got to be super careful. Put some strong security measures in place to keep that sensitive information safe, such as strong passwords, two-factor authentication, adjusted privacy settings, and encrypted data transmission.

To maintain data privacy and comply with regulations like GDPR or CCPA, consider using secure data analysis methods, such as data clean room technology. These provide a protected environment for businesses to analyze social media data without compromising user privacy or risking legal consequences.

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Have a Crisis Communication Plan

No matter how prepared you are, crises can still occur. Let’s talk about something crucial here: having a plan for when things go south. This plan should include ready-made templates with messages to use for different types of crisis, a list of who to contact in a pinch, and a clear chain of command.

Let’s consider the example of an online fashion brand that recently sold shoes that might have a manufacturing defect, posing a potential safety hazard to customers. The brand immediately updates its homepage with a prominent safety advisory message.

In addition, it creates a dedicated crisis page with in-depth information about the recall within their decoupled WordPress setup. To maintain transparency and consistency, the company also shares links to the crisis page and blog updates on its social media platforms.

Customers can subscribe to the blog for immediate notifications. By acting swiftly and having a rock-solid plan in place, this brand knows how to tackle a product recall crisis like a pro. It keeps its customers in the loop and maintains trust, even when the going gets tough.

Collaborate with Legal and Compliance Teams

Social media risk management is not solely the responsibility of your marketing team.

Team up with your legal and compliance departments to make sure your social media efforts follow industry rules and legal requirements.

Imagine a pharmaceutical company launching a new drug. The marketing team is enthusiastic about showcasing it on social media to swiftly connect with a broader audience. However, without consulting the legal and compliance teams, the team starts making claims about the drug’s miraculous benefits without proper evidence or mentioning potential side effects.

As a result, the company’s social media campaign goes viral, but it also catches the attention of regulatory authorities. These marketing claims violate industry regulations, and the company faces hefty fines and damage to its reputation.

Had the marketing team collaborated with legal and compliance experts beforehand, it could have crafted a campaign that was both engaging and compliant with regulations, avoiding the legal nightmare that followed.

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Learn from Mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable. Instead of dwelling on them, turn them into learning opportunities. Conduct post-mortem analyses after significant incidents to identify what went wrong and how to prevent similar issues.

For instance, imagine if a major airline faced a social media crisis due to flight cancellations caused by technical glitches. After resolving the crisis, the company conducted a post-mortem analysis and found that its social media team was understaffed during peak hours and lacked real-time customer sentiment data.

To improve, they increased staffing and incorporated phone call tracking data. By diving into customer service calls and keeping an eye on inquiries, the airline spotted common issues. This led to a revamp of its social media game plan: being more proactive, quicker with responses, and speaking its customers’ language.

Balancing Social Media Opportunities and Risks

In today’s world, social media is everywhere and it opens up tons of opportunities for brands of any size. But here’s the catch: those things that make it awesome, like letting you stay anonymous, spreading information super fast, and being easy to use, can also turn into big problems if you don’t handle them properly.

So, make yourself aware of the risks, have a plan in place for when things go wrong, and remember to stay watchful and always put your audience first. With the right approach, you’ll glide through the social media world smoothly and successfully.

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