Seven ways to manage social media risk | ACMA

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28 January, 2014 01:26 PM

ACMA buzz

Seven ways to manage social media risk

By Louise Tapsell - ACMA Social Media Producer

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Signing's up to a social media platform can take seconds, but it’s a decision every company or agency should take time to consider. The ACMA has learnt many lessons as we head into the second phase of our social media engagement.

Late last year ACMA reps attended the Social Media Risk, Privacy and Governance Forum in Sydney. The conference discussed many aspects of social media management and the risks involved.  Here are some of the tips we and others have learnt about the world of social media risk management.

Think before you hit the sign up button

Think about the channels that are appropriate for your brand. Don’t have much visual content to show off? Perhaps Instagram isn’t the best choice. Looking at primarily a male audience? Best not to invest in Pinterest.

Once you’ve found an appropriate channel, write guidelines for that channel to inform your content strategy. This will help you understand what topics you want to talk about, develop your tone and create a brand personality. Working with existing advertising and marketing teams will help you develop this strategy.

Make friends with Murphy’s Law

A lot of branded social media content is about positive messaging, but you need to be prepared for the dark side. Take the time to develop a document that outlines what could go wrong and what action you would take.

Interns shouldn’t run the show

There might have been a time when social media posts and responses could be given to your most inexperienced person in the Comms Department. Those days are (or should be!) gone. Your social media plans and content need to be integrated into your marketing, media and advertising plans. Social media outreach needs to be included in the first level of planning and not be an after-thought.

Moderation minimises risk

Don’t employ someone part-time as your Community Manager. Users not only expect a response within 48 hours but also expect the page they are visiting to be monitored with unsuitable content, profanity and bullying removed quickly. This means having a person monitor the account after working hours and on weekends.

Do not delete

Starting your brand on a social media forum doesn’t just mean accepting positive feedback. You’ve got to be able to take the good with the bad. Kim Chandler McDonald, Flat World Navigator, says consumer feedback, good or bad, should be seen as ‘emotional capital’. It can help you shape your business by listening to your customer’s feedback.

If you have to use the delete button, let it be justified because the user has broken the moderation rules set out in your moderation policy. The ACMA keeps its Facebook moderation policy in the ‘About’ section of its page, so it can be easily accessed by visitors and commentators.

Social media visibility at the highest levels

The social media environment moves fast. Issues can grow quickly and you need to be able to respond.

Chris Gross, Head of Social Media at Fox Sports and former employee at Vodafone, says the highest level of management need to be aware of what a crisis looks like and the need to act quickly.

For example, at the ACMA, we report frequently to our Executive Group so members are not only aware of what has achieved positive outcomes for our brand, but what feedback consumers are giving us on varying topics.

Minimise risk at the employee level

It would be hard to find someone without a social media presence these days and forbidding your employees from using social media is not an effective way to treat staff. Employees will tweet and post and they may talk about their work environment.

Develop a strong set of social media guidelines to provide new employees about using social media and upholding the values of the brand when posting.

You can view the ACMA social media guidelines here. The ABC Social Media Guidelines for Employees is also available here.

Contact Louise at