How to mitigate social media risk

How to mitigate social media risk

Many organizations have warmed to the idea of using social media for their businesses, but that doesn’t mean many decision makers are not concerned about risk. A recent survey conducted by Grant Thornton, in association with Financial Executives Research Foundation, discovered that more than half of companies included in the survey (59 per cent), did not conduct a risk assessment before engaging in social media.

The report went on to identify four areas of perceived risk: 

  1. Damage to brand/reputation
  2. Disclosure of information
  3. Identity theft
  4. Legal/regulatory/compliance violations

The survey found that 71 per cent of executives were concerned about risk, but believed that certain measures could be taken to avoid risk. We’ve all heard social media horror stories and, in addition to learning from the mistakes of others, there are a few things we can do to avoid or prepare for crisis situations:

  • Conduct and internal and external audit to review existing policies, procedures and guidelines for communication. This process may identify gaps in corporate policies that can easily be remedied.
  • Interview stakeholders within your organization to discover what they are worried about–you could uncover an element or angle that you had not previously considered.
  • Provide training to employees with access to social media.
  • Prepare a crisis procedure that outlines steps for reporting and responding to negative comments and feedback online.

Developing a social media strategy will surely help you to mitigate risk. A helpful approach is to begin your journey into the world of social media through listening. Certain media monitoring tools are available to help you monitor for conversations that might be important to you and your organization. You should also be sure to remember that you don’t need to be on every social media platform–sign up and engage on the ones that make the most sense for your business.

If you have questions about the risks of social media, or would like to discuss developing a social media strategy for you organization, then please send us a note.


Are there things about social media that keep you up at night? Tell us what worries you in the comments below!


Full report: Grant Thornton. “Social Media Risks and Rewards.” September 2013. Accessed online October 24 at

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