In my last blog posting I spoke of people, in general, having a fear of social media. The question is why?
The answer could be as simple as “it is human nature”, but that would be letting me, and you, off the hook way too easily! We need to dig a little deeper. For this posting, let’s look at the issue from the perspective of an organization or institution.
Thanks to research presented earlier this year by Nancy Bain, we know that 75% of all Canadians are now on-line, that there are some 18,620,000 Canadians on Facebook and that the time that we spend on Twitter is up 3700%.
These numbers can be daunting for businesses or institutions. These numbers are significant and it means that decisions makers have to take a hard look at actions that will involve the use of new communications’ tools, new technology and very open and public discussions. This is a frightening thought for many.
The questions that immediately come to mind are: how will we learn to use these tools effectively? Who will train us? Do we need training? What are the full ramifications if we choose to not use these tools and resources? What are the ramifications if we do? Do we need new policies? Do we need to staff 24/7? And most importantly, what if something unsavoury is said about my organization? What can I do? This last question is probably really what would keep managers awake at night. Earlier this year Eisner Amper conducted a survey of Boards of Directors asking them what they felt was the biggest threat to their respective organizations. The result was a clear and decisive statement – reputational risk!
So, we know that reputational risk is a huge concern. That being said, why exactly would so many decision makers choose to not engage in social media? The reason – is what I like to call the Ostrich Effect! If one chooses to bury his head in the sand and therefore cannot hear what is being said on social media, it doesn’t exist, right? Wrong!
The fact is that there are many communications professionals that can assist organizations and institutions navigate the social media waters and prepare a social media strategy that meets your specific organizational needs. We are just a click away! What are you waiting for? Organizations and institutions need to be proactive. Waiting for a crisis to emerge is not the answer.
In my next posting, I will look at crisis communications and how social media can work to your advantage.