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How to balance social media risks and rewards

Recently I had the pleasure of joining colleagues at Marsh and LinkedIn to speak on a timely webcast, “The New Reality of Risk: Balancing Social Media Risks and Rewards.” Watch a full replay of the webcast here.
With more and more of your employees using social media and social networking for sales, marketing, and other business activities, organizations must take conscious efforts to understand, evaluate, and mitigate the risks involved. In this webcast, we took a close look at what hurdles and benefits come from social sales and marketing.
Webcast participants included Mike Derezin (@mikedfresh), Global Head of Sales, Sales Solutions, LinkedIn; Adeola Adele, SVP, US Employment Practices Liability Practice Leader, Marsh; Robert Parisi, Managing Director, Marsh FINPRO; and myself. Thank you also to Regina Spratt, Managing Director, Marsh’s US Sales Leader for moderating.
Particularly inspiring were Mike’s introductory statements on the ubiquity of social media. Today, 91% of adults in the U.S. actively use social media. In the 18-24 year old range, that figure jumps to 98%. Around the world, over a billion people use Facebook to connect with family and friends, Twitter to follow specific interests, and LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and other professionals.
As social media becomes more and more valuable to both businesses and their customers, it’s clear today that governance is essential.
In developing social media governance, organizations must always start by setting clear goals and identifying exactly what risks are involved. At this stage, it is critical to receive input and buy-in across the C-suite to ensure that all the business needs are being met, from sales to marketing to compliance. Indeed, social media success requires cross-functional collaboration: you may view the organization departmentally, but the customer views you as a single unit.
Once goals have been established, next steps are to set a policy, train the organization, and enable social media activity. As a final and ongoing step, the organization must have a team in place to monitor and enforce all the guidelines they’ve established.
Ultimately, the greatest risk in all this is not being on social media at all. You must serve the customer where and when they prefer, especially if that means over mobile or on social media.

To see slides and hear the whole conversation, go to the webcast.