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Social business: 10 Tips for Safe, Secure and Compliant Collaboration

One of the main obstacles stopping companies from embracing a social business model is the fear that opening access to social media for employees will hinder employee productivity, or will open up new security, compliance or privacy concerns.

Sarah Carter, the VP of marketing at Actiance recently put together a presentation which gives businesses 10 top tips for secure collaboration:

Ten Tips to Safe Social Collaboration

1. Understand the landscape

  • Social media is now being departmentalised far more than before -
    • The average organisation in UK now has five Facebook fan pages, instead of just the one, as it was 12 months ago.
    • IBM North America has 39 twitter accounts.
  • By 2014, social media will be the primary interpersonal communication service for 20% of business users instead of email.

2. Consider and address the risks

  • The risks to social business and online collaboration are just the same as before, only now the speed and spread of communications is much greater and faster. Dealing with issues in real time is something you must be prepared for, as well as online reputation and crisis management.
  • Provide a secure, collaboration environment to reduce the risk of data leakage, whether inadvertent or malicious.
  • Social media channels are becoming increasingly targeted by virus and malware hackers. The trusted nature of social networks means people are more likely to click links if it looks as though it was sent through LinkedIn, for example.

3. Understand the legal and regulatory situation

  • As social provides a form of electronic communications, we have to consider the existing regulations affecting communications.
  • Consider retaining the content that is created and shared over social media.
  • Think about archiving commentary between your customers and employees (has added CRM benefits too).

4. Establish a presence

  • It may be necessary to divide your social media presences across a variety of accounts as your HR and marketing departments will have different approaches to how social media will be used.

5. Engage and be engaging

  • Ask questions, participate in groups and Q+A areas of sites and communities.
  • Follow what is going on in the lives of your employees, customer base and even competitors.

6. Consider Enterprise Social

  • It might be necessary to go beyond the major social networks such as Twitter or Facebook for your employees to collaborate. You may like to check out our ‘living’ list of social media collaboration platforms.

7. Educate

  • Educate your users about the risks of using social media – not everyone will have the same appreciation about the effects that a mistake can have on your online reputation.
  • Keep yourself and your IT team educatedabout the constantly evolving social landscape – users will be learning about new tools and platforms at a fast rate and it’s important to stay abreast of trends.
  • Educate your network about the events you are running, or attending, and use social platforms to arrange meetings before you even arrive.

8. Control, Manage, Secure

  • Ensure your employees who participate on social media for your company do so with accounts that can be clearly identified as corporate to help keep records of conversations and to aid customers identification.
  • It is possible to restrict access to certain areas of social networks and you may need to consider this*. For example, employees may need access to Facebook during office hours, but do you want them playing FarmVille?
  • Similarly, it is also possible to establish black and whitelists of words that can be used. Avoid the issue of an employee inadvertently saying that they “guarantee” an outcome by preventing it from being published.*

9. Review and Revise

  • Identify which policies are working, review your policies and then move on.

10. Measure

  • Response rates from social media outreach is important to measure across the different networks, and also against email.
  • Some of the things you measure will be simple, eg, number of connections you make, however remember that quality is especially important so numbers alone is not a suitable metric. You will need to identify metrics that accurately show the value of your social media strategy and key business goals.
*these two points were described as examples of Actiance’s features.
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