How Much Will Your Social Media Channels Cost You?

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How Much Will Your Social Media Channels Cost You?

How Much Will Your Social Media Channels Cost You?

The risks associated with social media are only going to get worse. Just look at Mr. Zuckerberg and his tale of woe – it seems the EU didn’t buy into his crocodile tears. Already I am off topic. Luckily, we are not all in the hot seat and I could comment about ethics, responsibility, and apple pie, but I will save those thoughts for another day.

For the rest of us, legal risk associated with social media has left many in a quandary. How many social media channels is your company involved with? Even if you are a business-to-business organization, your list is likely to contain LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and of course your blogs. You may have one person or a team managing a channel, and they are probably associated with marketing. Organic, they are not.

What’s the problem? How often do you find a records manager or a legal professional in charge of a social media channel? I would venture to guess that doesn’t happen often. On the plus side, online social media channels provide an informal method to communicate with clients, prospects, stock holders, and partners. Iron Mountain revealed that 76 percent of businesses regard social media communications as formal business records. But 46 percent of those surveyed had no idea that they carry legal responsibility for their content on social media channels. And a third of the businesses surveyed described their management of social media as, “unmanaged and chaotic.” 

As a result, if social communications are being captured, organizations will either save everything or delete everything. Keeping everything can lead to a costly and inefficient use of storage. It can also create delays during eDiscovery, given the volume of records to be searched, and can expose organizations to the discovery of items that could have been destroyed or ignored. Neither one is a good option.

Internal records are different. They are ‘owned’ by an organization, not a third party, and are managed in-house rather than through a platform not under the control of a company. I am quite sure that your business has documented policies and guidelines on which information can and cannot be shared, who is authorized to speak on behalf of your organization, and which social media tools can be used.

It’s not all that black and white. An article in TechTarget used the following example, “A customer airs a grievance on a social media platform and it turns into a customer lawsuit. The social thread needs to be captured as a record. But what if the conversation started on a different Twitter account days prior and wasn’t captured as part of the record? Is the record incomplete? Should this portion of the thread be included? Individual records managers, or other employees, will often have to make these kinds of determinations.”

Let’s assume you are aware of the legal risks involved with your tweets, so you now must apply, capture, or generate metadata to make the records accessible and findable, from inception to archive. There are software packages sprouting up that target a specific social channel, but it’s not feasible to buy a software package for every channel. Some also provide you with social compliance modules for FINRA- and SEC-regulated industries, along with workflow routing to decrease the time required for submission and review of pertinent social media materials. Your other option is to manually apply the metadata. Hmmm, an option that is both costly and unproductive, not to mention highly subjective.

Since we do generate metadata where none exists and can classify records against your file plan, our solution may be a good tool to take into the wild and wonderful world of social media channels. Just to throw it out there, organizations are also responsible for information that may be personal in nature, if posted to a social media channel in the work environment. Ouch.

Our webinars also address the topics explored in our blogs. Access all our webinar recordings and presentation slides at any time, from our website, in the Recorded Webinars area, via the Resources tab.

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