A recently published survey examining corporate social media risks and rewards from advisory firm Grant Thornton found that 71 percent of the executives polled said their company was concerned about possible risks posed by social media, but only 36 percent reported having social media training.
The report included a 32-question online survey that was completed by 111 executives representing a mix of public and private, small to midsized organizations. The survey questions covered five specific topics: use of social media, opinions regarding the value of social media, social media policies, concerns about identity theft and data security and analytical tools and tracking.
According to the survey, the social media risks that cause the most concern fall into four categories, including damage to brand reputation, disclosure of proprietary and/or confidential information, corporate identity theft, and legal/regulatory and compliance violations.
Of the survey respondents, there was an even split between the executives that were very concerned about the potential risks of social media (13%) and those who claimed their company did not believe social media posed any “appreciable risks” to the organization (13%). At 71 percent, the majority of survey participants said their company was concerned about potential risks, but believed the risks could be mitigated or avoided.
While the majority of participants confirmed their company had concerns about social media risks, 59 percent reported their organization did not have a social media risk assessment plan in place.
When asked about social media training, the survey showed that attitudes have improved since the firm’s 2011 study, with 15 percent more companies engaging in social media training for staff.
Another key finding from the study revealed that 33 percent of the companies had a social media policy, while 27 percent said their company had no social media policy and no plans to develop one. (The remaining 40 percent were split between respondents who reported their company had plans to create a social media policy, or had other related policies.)