Board members need to get on board with social media to allay reputational risks

Social media strategies should be discussed at board level for businesses to get a tighter grip on emerging reputational risks, social media expert James Leavesley has said.

In an interview with StrategicRISK, the chief executive of UK-based social media consultancy firm CrowdControlHQ warned that board members need to wise up to social media because “[problems] get leaked and flagged up on social media”.

Leavesley said: “Social media encompasses the whole organisation and so it needs to be discussed at board meetings. Whether the problem is product recall, customer service issues or wherever the problem lies, things get leaked and flagged up on social media.”

He added that a lack of communication between the PR and marketing team (responsible for social media) and risk managers could give rise to embarrassing PR gaffs if company incidences are not communicated to the marketing team.

He advised that both departments need to improve communication: “For instance, the social media manager may not understand that sharing usernames and passwords poses a risk to the organisation –  and the head of risk does not even know it goes on.”

He added: “Putting in place monitoring processes, alerts and controls across the organisation to flag issues to the relevant people is a start, though having a social media policy in place is crucial.”