Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives.
As its influence has increased, so have the ways we interact with it. This includes businesses using social media to connect with customers, employees, and other key stakeholders.
Recently, WhatsApp, a cross-platform messaging and VoIP service, experienced a cybersecurity breach that “left users unknowingly vulnerable to malicious spyware installed on their smartphones.” The platform, owned by Facebook, is used by over 1.5 billion people to send message, videos, pictures, and voice recordings by using an internet connection instead of a mobile network. In 2017, the company announced they were developing solutions for small businesses and enterprises to more widely use the platform to connect with shareholders.
The implications of this breach shed light on a peril that many companies may not be thinking about—is it worth the risk to communicate through a social media platform that makes your connections vulnerable? More importantly, can you solely rely on social media communication for emergencies?
There are important points to consider when determining whether you can trust your tweets or posts to reach the right people at the right time:
- Does everyone who needs the information subscribe to you?
- Are the algorithms in your favor so the information is viewed in a timely manner?
- Can you send the tweets or posts directly to shareholder phones or emails?
- Is the information you’re issuing okay to post publicly?
- Can your audience receive ALL the information they need and respond back to you or do you have to direct them to a website which can crash in case of high traffic?
In many cases, social media should not be the sole way to communicate emergencies. Consider an active shooter situation. If stakeholders aren’t “plugged in” to their accounts, they may miss key warnings and messages. Plus, putting that information on social media could cause widespread panic as spouses, parents, or the community seek more information or rush to the location.
Social media is a powerful tool. It should be used in tandem with a proper emergency notification system to inform key audiences during a crisis or emergency. Encouraging the public to follow your organization for information can be a great way to connect with them and spread information about your company. If your organization faces an incident that requires quick communications, it may be the first-place people check. But it is important to also be prepared with a system that is guaranteed to reach those who need the information most.