Managing Risks arisen from Social Networks

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

In 2012 we saw many cases where public companies were hit by social networks causing major headaches and even impacting their business decisions. As an example, take Bank of America’s strategy change when they announced an additional $5 a month fee for debit cards holders. One person started a petition on the social networks requesting Bank of America to revert this decision. In a few days, 300,000 people had joined the group. After that, Bank of America abandoned its plans on the maintenance fee. The social effect caused the bank to have to react with complex actions while being closely-monitored by the media and society. And what is worse, causing a reputational impact, which is very difficult to recover from.

In times when everybody can become a journalist, using twitter or any other similar tool, the risk to a company’s reputation is increased. A tweet from an influential person who has had a bad experience with his retail bank can cause lasting damage, if one doesn’t act fast. Also, an errant tweet from an official company account could negatively affect a trade or client relationship. For highly regulated industries, social media can be a legal minefield.

On top of that, one cannot forget the cultural change that is needed within public companies to adapt to this reality. Everyone needs to be on-board as soon as possible. The social media strategy is a matter of the whole company and not of a specific department. Companies need to manage social networks and share the responsibility throughout the organisation

There are many solutions that public companies are already putting in place by using a mash of different products and technologies, and setting up specific departments within the business to solve these sorts of problems.

Wouldn’t it then be good to detect all the tweets that are mention our company and process them accordingly in a workflow type tool? Identifying the relevant tweets and acting is quite easy. But when it comes to certain, specific actions by specific departments, and depending on the nature of the tweet, this gets a bit more complex. Additionally, regulators can ask for evidence on how a customer in a regulated industry acts in social media. All activity must be recorded and archived.

We have recently done this for one of our customers that wanted to capture all their relevant tweets and then process them accordingly in the appropriate departments (legal, risk, compliance, marketing, etc.). We achieved this using ServiceNow (NOW), an ITSM SaaS and PaaS tool. The success of the solution is that once our tweets are loaded into the tool, we can treat them accordingly: archive, monitor and act, based on specific metadata fields, such as message content, social profiles and dates. The customisable workflow means that we can adapt to the client organisation’s way of working. From each tweet we can create a task for the risk department, an incident for the helpdesk or notify the marketing department about a specific feedback on a campaign it recently launched. And on top of this, we can add the reporting the teams need. Managing those tweets in time (and broadly speaking any social media content) can help us to manage very efficiently the reputational and compliance risks of the business, while helping us to meet the regulators requirements. It’s possible that if some of the headaches in 2012 might have been detected earlier, if such as system had been in place, meaning the corporations could have responded in time.  So, what’s your social strategy within your company?

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