No matter the path you decide to follow in business, you’re always at risk of running into some road blocks, legal troubles, PR crises, and a thousand other negative consequences. Most businesses are well aware of this and understand that the risk-reward scenario insists they must move through the minefield in order to achieve success. However, with social media still a relatively new thing for most brands, these risks aren’t yet understood quite as well.
What are the inherent risks of using social media to promote the growth of your bottom line and of your brand in general? Some may consider negative feedback or a technical malfunction to be the brunt of the potentially bad news here, but it can actually get a lot worse.
Whether or not you hire a social media marketing consultant to assist you in operating your campaign, the fact is that you can find out about most of the hazards with some simple research. Start by focusing on these factors below if you want to understand some of the risks associated with social media advertising.
Inherent Risks of Running a Social Media Marketing Campaign
A Public Relations Crisis
What exactly is a public relations crisis? Well, a PR crisis can wear many different masks. There is no one particular thing that stands out above another. The real issue here is the speed at which a simple PR faux pas can transform into a brand-crippling viral crisis. For example, if you’re caught using false information about a product, you might expect some negative feedback. But when dealing with social media, this can go viral and spiral out of control. Your dishonesty can be a trending topic on a variety of social sites. Just replace that situation with any one of an endless number, and you’ll realize just how risky it can be.
A Security Breach
Do you think that hackers have decided to leave social media alone? They’re browsing social media sites in large numbers, and it’s not always about your company information or your finances. Some basement-dwelling hackers just want to get into your accounts in order to wreak havoc. They think it’s fun to spam your fans and to screw with your profile page. People can get your information if you’re publicly displaying your email, clicking on links, keeping the same password, etc. Be mindful of your security to help minimize a potential breach.
Offending Your Audience
Some of the risks associated with social media marketing are just risks you have to take. You can handle the social media management after the fact with some of the situations, such as offending your audience. Unfortunately, we live in a hyper-sensitive world, where many people truly believe it is their inherent right to not be offended. These individuals actually seek to be offended just for the claim. And, of course, even if that isn’t the case, you may end up inadvertently releasing material that offends some. It’s just another form of a PR crisis that you’ll have to stay out in front of if you want to keep it under control.
When operating online, you’re always at risk of your competition stealing from you. There are different “levels” here, for lack of a better word. For instance, another similar brand may simply find some inspiration in what you’re doing, emulating the tactics. That’s fine; that should even be encouraged for you to do. But others will run the exact same promotions, post the same material with their name inserted, and mirror your activities. It’s rare, but it’s still a risk you have to be aware of.
Focusing on staying within the boundaries of the law is now more important than ever. What you do on social media will be around permanently in some form or fashion, and an ad you released a year ago may be pulled up to be used as evidence in some type of litigation. This risk is handled by understanding the law and by operating a clean campaign. But you have to realize that the risk is there.
The more risks you’re aware of in social media, the better equipped you will be at handling them. The risks mentioned above only cover a small number of the many potential issues you could face. However, understanding the main categories will give you the proper frame of reference for dealing with most of the inherent risks.