reputational riskBy now you’ve probably read about Manti T’eo. Not about his prowess as a sportsman but about a social media led hoax that could severely damage his career. As it stands no one really knows what happened. All we know is that someone was the victim of a hoax and that Manti T’eo will probably never shake the specter of the story.

No business will ever fall into the trap that Manti fell into. No matter how severe your reputational risk exposure gets, you’ll never be brought down by a fake dead girlfriend. But his story can teach us a few things about reputational risk and how you can protect your image online.

1) Honesty really is the best policy

People lied here. No one can be certain as to how much Manti knew, he says he was duped too, but lies were certainly told. For the most part, those lies were extremely successful. But they came back to haunt the liar. The lesson is that you can’t maintain untruths on social media.

When you post something, even if you delete it, it can be found or recovered by someone. Whenever you post something on social media, you need to be able to stand over its content. The reputational risk management tip here is simple, just don’t post anything that might come back to haunt you.

2) Social Media is two-way communication

The lies about Lennay Kekua came out because of the activity and images posted on faked twitter accounts. A number of accounts related to the hoax were deleted as soon as people questioned their credibility. The hoaxers never considered the fact that ordinary people would be able to talk to ‘Lennay’ and that not all of that conversation would be positive.

That’s something every business needs to consider when using social media. You need to be prepared for anything your friends or followers throw at you. Deleting the account is not a recommended form of reputational risk management.

3) No Reputation is risk proof

The main takeaway for business here is the sheer volume of interest in this story and the damage it has done to one of the brightest young talents in the country. Manti probably felt bulletproof for most of last year. He certainly appeared be building a truly legendary sporting story. Now he looks foolish at best and devious at worst. His impenetrable reputation lies in ruins.

That same reputational risk hangs over each and every business. No matter how big or how secure your reputation is, it could come apart at any moment.

Do you have a question about Reputational Risk Question? Ask ithere and get answers, for FREE.