Why you should be afraid of social media.

Author:Nixon, Tom
 
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Mark Twain once said, "Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." The same might be said of social media in 2009.

Plenty of companies are looking into it, or inquiring about it, but far too few are taking decisive action. Others are simply afraid of it, but they, too, aren't doing anything to allay their fears or to address what negativity could arise in the social media realm. Those people and companies SHOULD be afraid, and here's why:

1 Like a bad story in the press, it's happening with or without you. Your employees are using social media ... get used to it. Even if you block access at the office, every company has employees on Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, etc. Whether they do it from the office, from home, or on their mobile devices, they're finding it ... and engaging in it. Wouldn't you like to have some level of control, or provide some direction or strategy?

2 You're not monitoring it. Do you have any idea what these employees are saying about your company online? Do you have any idea how they are representing you, as ambassadors to your brand? By simply listing employment in their social media profiles, employees are exposing your brand with every action they take, every comment they post, and every photo/video they upload.

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3 You still haven't written your social media policy. Your company has an e-mail and Internet usage policy to curb unseemly behavior. The problem is, none of your employees use e-mail to interact socially anymore. They're on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media conducting their business. Yet you have given them no parameters within which to operate.

4 You don't want to be social. Sure, your competitors are doing it, but you don't want to follow, right? You don't yet understand it, and you don't yet grasp what can be gained from exposing your company to the public. Too late. It already is.

5 You don't have a strategy. Many companies are jumping in feet first, setting up Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages and Linkedln profiles, with zero purpose nor objectives they wish to accomplish. They read Time Magazine or watch the Today Show and see that everyone and every company is joining Twitter so they figure, "Me, too!" One of two things will result: you will give up or will you see absolutely no results ... or both. After all, how can you measure success if you haven't defined metrics for gauging it?

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6 You don't have the...

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