Only One in Three Companies Address Social Media Concerns

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ — Social media has become a fixture on communication agendas across the country. But according to a new survey by Minneapolis-based Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, social media use is also generating its share of corporate heartburn.

Concerns regarding social media use were acknowledged by some eight in 10 businesses participating in the national study of management, marketing and human resource executives.

Fifty-one percent of executives surveyed said they fear social media could be detrimental to employee productivity, while 49 percent believe that using such could damage company reputation. In fact, those surveyed who are notusing social media on a corporate basis say non-implementation is primarily due to concern about confidentiality or security issues (40%), employee productivity (37%) or simply not knowing enough about it (51%).

Despite these apprehensions, social networking is being viewed as a key strategy. Eight in 10 said social media can enhance relationships with customers/clients (81%) and build brand reputation (81%).

The recently completed Russell Herder/Ethos study found that 40 percent of companies technically block their employees from accessing social media while at work. At the same time, 26 percent of companies use social media to further corporate objectives, and just over seven in 10 said they plan to increase the use of these new opportunities.

Remarkably few efforts are being made to mitigate perceived risks. Only one in three businesses surveyed has a policy in place to govern social media use, and only ten percent said they have conducted relevant employee training.

“Rather than bypass the social media opportunity, organizations should embrace it while taking steps to educate their team about internal guidelines and best practices,” said Carol Russell, CEO of Russell Herder. “Companies of all sizes should begin to define their strategy regarding social media, and most importantly, the rules for employee engagement. By doing so, management can take advantage of the benefits offered by these new communication channels, while mitigating undue risk.”

Ethos President David Baer, who advises companies on business law issues, agrees: “Social media is a far different animal than traditional technology, so a company’s current policies on IT matters are usually not sufficient. Plus, such guidelines must take into consideration the form, substance, philosophy and culture of the organization.”

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Carol Russell

    Yuliya Horbach

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