Social media is the fifth form of mainstream media. It encompasses all media, making it the king of all media. At this point, most people know how to use social media and how to navigate the various websites. But many employers are still on the fence.

Hootsuites’ CEO says, “The world’s top brands—like Pepsi, Virgin, NHL and American Express—[are] now embracing [social media] company-wide.”

MarketingDonut reports, “One of the simplest ways to convince your boss that social media is the future is [by] showing how much profit [the company] can make. Show how your competitors are using social content to attract potential clients, showing the strengths and weaknesses of their campaigns. Use your website analytics to monitor the flow of visitors to your website from Facebook, Twitter or organically, and how many convert to leads or sales.”

And social isn’t just for business-to-consumer communications. It’s also great for connecting employees too. SHRMreports, “Social networking platforms may allow organizations to improve communication and productivity by disseminating information among different groups of employees in a more efficient manner, resulting in increased productivity.”

As you are setting up social media as an effective tool, you must consider the security implications.

  • Implement policies. Without some type of policy in place to regulate employee access and guidelines for appropriate behavior, social media could be problematic. Teach employees effective use by providing training on proper use—including, especially, what not do, too.
  • Limit social networks. In my own research, I’ve found 300-400 operable social networks serving numerous uses from music to movies, from friending to fornicating. Some are more or less appropriate and others even less secure.
  • Train IT personnel. Effective policies begin from the top down. Those responsible for managing technology need to be fully up to speed.
  • Maintain updated security. Whether you’re using hardware or software, anti-virus or critical security patches, make sure you are up to date.
  • Lock down settings. Most social networks have privacy settings that need to be administered to the highest level. Default settings generally leave the networks wide open for attack.
  • Register your company name and all your officers at every social media site. You can do this manually or by using a very cost-effective service called Knowem.com.

Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures

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