Twitter. Facebook. MySpace. None of these names are new to you. As social networks (like the one you are likely reading this from) proliferate, companies want to jump on the bandwagon and promote their goods and services. And why not? These networks reach millions of people every day. Create a fan page on Facebook or get a following on Twitter and it is an easy way to get your message out without spending nary a penny. From promotion to customer service, companies are flocking to get their name in front of their users. But does your company have a PLAN for how to do this? Per a recent CEB survey, 71% of companies plan to increase their investment in social media, but only one third have guidelines for how it should be used. And without a strong policy, you are exposing your company to unnecessary risks. From Premature Release of New Product Information to Exposure of Company Problems to Harassment, there are risks many do not consider when undertaking such an effort.
Companies need to consider things such as developing a policy on the use of social media, both internally and externally and partnering with Corporate Communications to monitor the organization's brand in social media. Even if you are the Corporate Communications group in your small company, you should check these sites frequently and know who is making posts and of what nature under your company's name. Protect your image. Today many people will look you or your company up in a search engine before considering doing any form of business with you. Make sure your image is a good one.