Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 29 2013

Is This Tactic Posing a Risk to Your Meeting?

By Daniel Metz

social media risk

As more attendees spend more time online, meeting teams are dedicating a portion of their days to capturing their attention with Facebook posts, tweets and photographs on Instagram. While social media platforms represent plenty of opportunities to engage prospective attendees, those status updates can also pose dangers to organizations.

Unfortunately, it appears that many organizations are failing to defend themselves against some of those dangers. Grant Thornton, a global advisory firm, conducted a survey of 111 senior-level executives of public and private organizations, and the findings show that 84 percent of respondents are concerned about the potential for risks in social media use. However, only 18 percent indicated that their companies perform social media risk assessments. and only 36 percent have some type of social media training program in place for their employees.

SEE ALSO: Convene’s Best Examples of Social Media at Meetings

The Risks Vs. The Rewards

If you need a concrete example of how not to succeed with social media, just look at San Francisco-based apparel and accessories retailer Gap. When Hurricane Sandy was causing catastrophic damage along the Atlantic shore in 2012, the company tweeted that it hoped those affected were safe and to perhaps consider shopping at Gap.com. Not surprisingly, the company faced plenty of public backlash.

While the Gap incident highlights a worst-case internal scenario, remember that there are plenty of external variables, too. In the meetings industry, those variables could include attendees posting negative comments about the experience to outside groups hacking into a page and posting fraudulent information.

SEE ALSO: 5 Tips to Supercharge Your Event with Social Media

Looking Ahead With a Social Media Strategy

Ultimately, social media is still in its early stages. Despite the massive number of people who use these platforms, the rules for managing these interactions from an organizational standpoint are continually evolving. It’s important to place a specific person or people in charge of conducting regular assessments of the social media landscape to make sure that efforts to engage attendees aren’t putting an organization or its meeting in a problematic position.

Grant Thornton’s research reveals that some forward-thinking companies are outlining and implementing social media policy guidelines. Click here for a complete copy of the report, which includes insights from executives and a sample policy that can help shape your own.

SEE ALSO: Time for a Status Update - Your Meeting Marketing Strategy

What have you done to ensure that your pursuit of social media success doesn’t hit any big hurdles that can come back to haunt your organization? Share your comments below.

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