5 Social Media Risks
Philomena Smillie, Team Lead, Quiip
In the always dynamic and never-without-controversy world of social media, it can be hard to stay abreast of best use practices for keeping your brand safe online. Here’s five current risks to add to your checklist this week.
For those in the world of social media (and let’s face it, who isn’t these days?) you are no doubt aware of Twitter’s slow demise or certainly the sense of impending doom that has hung like a cloud over the once innovative and thriving social media platform.
If the growing cesspool of unmoderated hate speech and negativity on the platform wasn’t concerning enough, unregistered users have now been denied access to tweets and restrictions have been put in place on how many tweets a user can view in a day. Advertisers have jumped ship, workers have walked the plank, and the captain of the ship appears to be drunk on rum somewhere below deck.
Which begs the question, should your company jump ship? Brands have invested significant time and energy into Twitter, growing sizeable followings whilst developing and nurturing significant relationships. So while the obvious answer might be yes, somewhat understandably this is a platform that might be hard to walk away from. Twitter has in the past proven to be the largest and most engaged social media platform for many government organisations, politicians, and media outlets and yes, the future can feel uncertain when considering parting ways with your previously successful way of connecting to the masses.
Of course, it is also essential to keep abreast of where one might jump ship to and what resources will be required to make a successful transition from one platform to the next.
Should brands decide to persevere with Twitter they must also consider the mental cost of their social media team having to wade through the vitriol and misinformation and to have supports in place for them.
As you’re well aware – social media users are savvy. Woe beholds the company who tries to pull the proverbial wool (polyester) over the eyes of their audience. Case in point – fast fashion giant Shein’s recent ‘Influencer Trip’, the best case of bluewashing we’ve seen in quite some time.
Shein invited a group of fashion influencers on a trip to visit its innovation centre and one of their factories in China in what appears to have been a carefully orchestrated attempt to deflect labor law violations (including child labour allegations) and greenwash the effect of their little to non-existent environmental policies. Social media users were not happy and were quick to question whether the influencers were shown a model factory in an elaborate set up and paid to promote propaganda. While it seems likely that indeed this was a poorly devised and executed attempt to boost brand reputation, instead, the company has been left with yet another stain on its collar.
The speed at which any faux pax (fashion related or otherwise) will be screen grabbed, shared, discussed and dissected is not to be underestimated. Well planned content, aptly moderated, is critical.
Yes this is 2023 and yes, it should be a no-brainer that you need to keep your social media accounts safe and secure. But let’s face it, we’re all guilty of taking shortcuts from time to time, even if we know we really shouldn’t. But when it comes to protecting your social media security – you really, REALLY shouldn’t.
Use strong passwords and keep them safe by using a password manager. Unlike the type of managers many of us are familiar with, password managers are both efficient and effective. Whether you are managing your own social media account or that of multiple accounts across several brands, remember – those who have access to your social media platforms have access to your audience. It’s not only IP and financial integrity that are under threat, but indeed the aforementioned brand reputation if your identity is compromised.
(As an aside to the above, be sure to limit who has access to your social media accounts – Terry from payroll really doesn’t need access – and be sure to set up two-factor authentication.)
Ahhh AI. Love it or hate it, generative artificial intelligence has arrived at the party and isn’t leaving any time soon. It is essential that if you use AI services, like ChatGPT, you keep front of mind that this new party guest can’t distinguish between real facts and fake news. Sure, they are fun to be around and everyone wants a chance to get up close and personal, but be careful when sharing what you take away from the conversation.
The promotion of misinformation is serious business, not only from an ethical perspective (inaccuracies fuelling negative rhetoric, hate speech and subsequent consequences) but also from a legal perspective (defamation anyone?) and of course the inherent risks to your brands reputation (not a good look for any brand, indeed any person, to be claiming another’s work as their own or singing false truths from their rooftop).
Users need to take it upon themselves to verify any information they share that was produced through AI means.
Online safety and bullying
Finally, and for me personally, one of the reasons that I value the work in community management that Quiip does so effectively – online safety and bullying.
Online abuse and harassment are very real concerns for any user of social media platforms – be it a young adult exploited using imagery, an adult discriminated against based on their gender, race, sexuality or social class, or any person who shares their lived experience and is bullied and subsequently silenced for doing so.
Cyber abuse unfortunately occurs regularly on social media with posts, comments, chats, livestreams and the sharing of inappropriate memes, images and videos all used as tools for harmful behaviour and toxic content.
Despite the Online Safety Act of 2021 essentially making service providers accountable for the online safety of the people who use the services they offer, content that is harmful to the physical or mental health of other social media users still permeates most platforms.
Make sure your social media content is moderated to ensure a safe user experience for your brands audience. Done effectively, not only can moderation engage customers, building loyalty and advocacy, but any sensitive or high-risk content can be dealt with quickly and effectually before causing any damage to an individual and indeed, to your brand.
Looking to create a risk averse brand presence? Or just need a second set of eyes to go over your governance docs? We’ve got you. Get in touch and let’s chat!