As a social media risk and compliance analyst at Forrester Research, Nick Hayes nails down what firms should watch before jumping online—and tries to understand why some still refuse to dip their toe in the water. Hayes talks about why 2015 is almost too late to launch a social media account and why.
"What's kept a lot of people on the sidelines are compliance issues and regulators. They want to make sure they're doing [social media] the right way. A lot of oversight can be difficult, and it's tricky because they don't always understand all the risks, but the ‘watch and see’ period is over.
If you're not doing social media in 2015, you’re going to be behind the curve. Already, your overall ability to market through free features is difficult. In order to get any reach you have to start leveraging paid sponsorships for overall branding. We also believe you need to prioritize your thinking about social selling, how to build deeper relationships through LinkedIn, Facebook, and how to connect at the right moment. That means having the right data, and building a bigger picture of who that customer is. You need to know when they're getting promoted, when they got a new job, or even that they have a new baby so you can reach out and say, 'Congratulations. What does this mean for your investment strategy?'
Yes, there are risks that are well-known. But that shouldn't stop an organization from using social media strategies. You need to be there because the obvious value is too great. And even if you have a policy that prohibits social media at work, your employees are likely using it on smartphones, outside of office hours, times when you don't have control over what they're saying. You need to have a way to unify that message and promote the right behavior. That's a better way to mitigate risk."