Identify the risks in using Social Media and manage them

It is obvious to me that most ministries and businesses should be in social media because of the tremendous potential to further your mission or revenue stream, so the issue is pretty much resolved on whether to move forward or not.  The next issue is to identify the risks in moving forward because there are risks.  The action steps are then to manage those risks.

What are some of the risks?

The author of The Facebook Era mentions some things to keep in mind (see my review).  How do you protect customer’s or constituent’s privacy?  How do you protect the privacy of your staff?  How do you simultaneously use and protect your intellectual property?  Same question for your trade secrets.   How do you and your staff keep from slipping across the line into slander? 

Non-exempt staff are required by law to get paid for every hour they work (by the way, it’s also a moral and ethical issue to pay them for their time).  How do you handle the inevitable situation when a non-exempt staffer gets a brilliant idea and works on it for a few hours at home after hours?  That is a place where it is tough to juggle the legal, effectiveness, and financial oversight issues.

You can fill out the list on your own with a few minutes thought.  Then you need to figure out how to manage and control those risks.  Like everything else in life that is worthwhile, you need to boldly move forward while at the same time keeping an eye on the risks.

Giving your team good training is key to managing the risks.  One of the fun ideas from The Facebook Era is to have your 50-year-old managers explain to your 20-year-old staffers the risks and how to stay out of trouble.  Then have your 20-year-olds explain to your 50-year-olds how to use Facebook and Twitter and the rules-of-the-road for each of them.  Each group knows something valuable and can train the others!  I chuckled when I read that comment, because if you can combine the skills of both groups, you will have an awesome social media strategy.

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