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Risk in Context

Social Media: Follow the Risks

Posted by Regina Spratt June 03, 2016

Some risk professionals might ask: “Why would I use social media to track risks?”

The better question is: “Why wouldn’t  you use social media to track risks?”

I’ve been considering such questions after reading our 2016 Excellence in Risk Management study, which showed that just 6% of risk professionals view social media as an important tool for gathering information on emerging risks

Among the many possible reasons you don’t use social media? You don’t know where to start.

That’s understandable. You’re constantly evaluating risk updates, staying abreast of colleagues’ and clients’ demands for counsel, and protecting your organization’s reputation (along with your own).

So let me offer some suggestions on how to make better use of social media, and then offer a real-life example of social media’s value.

Follow the Leaders

Social media platforms can facilitate rapid information sharing, often unfiltered by journalistic bias. But with so many sources, deciding how to use them can be daunting. Here are a few places to start:

  • LinkedIn: Follow emerging risk thought leaders and join their groups. In addition to insights and expertise, you’ll see the content they share and their engagement with others.
  • Twitter: Follow relevant accounts for breaking news and insights into emerging risks. Twitter is only as good as the people you follow.
  • YouTube: Look for tutorials with risk experts. Many posts from other social channels will direct you there.
  • Google Alerts: Set up alerts for companies, topics, and keywords and be notified whenever relevant results arise.
  • Blogs: Blogs are now mainstream — bookmark relevant ones for risks and industries.

Grounding the Hoverboard

Now for a simple example of social media’s risk management value.

One of the most sought-after gifts this past Christmas — hoverboards — created immediate risks in a number of industries, not the least of which was higher education. As students came floating back to campus following winter break, safety officers faced potentially dangerous crashes and falls, as well as hoverboard batteries being implicated in a number of fires.

A catalyst to mobilizing a quick response to hoverboards on campus was social posting on the University Risk Management & Insurance Association (URMIA) network, according to several education professionals we spoke with for our Excellence study.

“We banned them last week,” said the risk director at a major research university. “And the thing that got me thinking about it was all those questions on URMIA.”

As social media content grows, we all need to be selective in what we monitor. But by following targeted social sites, reading informed thought leaders, and connecting with relevant people, you will expand your ability to identify risk issues early, drive the discussion, and offer sound advice. It’s one more way to help your organization be risk ready.

Regina Spratt

Regina Spratt is the south east zone practice leader for Marsh.