Execs Still Fretting About Social Media
While social media is revolutionizing everything from epidemiology to marketing, for many top corporate executives it’s just one more thing to worry about, judging by the results of a survey of 100 senior-level executives from public and private companies by the Financial Executives Research Foundation audit, tax, and advisory firm Grant Thornton LLP.
The FERF-Grant Thornton survey, titled Social Media Risks and Rewards, found that 71% of senior-level execs were worried about risks associated with social media, with 13% saying they are “very concerned.”
Asked what they considered the top risks associated with social media, executives from private companies listed the potential for negative comments about the company (36%), disclosure of proprietary information (32%), and out-of-date information (18%) as the most worrying. They were less worried about accidental exposure of personally identifiable information, fraud, and corporate executives (i.e., themselves) doing something embarrassing or incriminating on line.
Among public companies, the top concern was disclosure of proprietary information (50%), followed by negative comments, out-of-date information, and fraud, each at 17%. Again, executive hijinks on social media were not viewed as a major concern.
Perhaps more worrying for the corporate worrywarts is the fact that their companies, both public and private, seem largely unprepared to deal with social media threats: just 21% said their companies have an incident management plan in place for fraud or privacy breaches, only 33% have a general social media policy (that’s up from 23% two years ago), and only 59% have performed a social media risk assessment. 44% of execs surveyed said their company doesn’t have a policy for securing mobile devices. On the positive side, 72% of executives said their companies hadn’t experienced social media fraud… yet.
Despite all this, executives clearly view social media as important for the future of their companies: 66% said they see their organizations using social media more over the next year, and 68% said social media will be critical for corporate efforts in the future. The top applications are brand awareness (38%), recruiting (27%), and customer identification (14%). Just 1% said they thought social media was a waste of time.