Last week I blogged about what you can and shouldn't believe on Facebook or other social media sites and how to tell the difference. Many businesses are using social media as a marketing or advertising tool, reaching out to the billions of Facebook and Twitter followers. However, this can be a double edge sword.
Businesses using social media can increase your exposure to potential customers, but it also increases your chances of financial loss. How? By exposing your business to potential 'brand damage" among other things.
In a recent article featured in Insurance Business America by Caitlyn Bronson, David Lewison, a financial services national practice leader, said " I think social media can be really dangerous if a company doesn't have somebody really sophisticated handling it for them". "When they have an adverse event, they tell the IT guy... to take care of it". "Well, he's not an advertising or PR expert - he's and IT guy. So he blasts out to all their customers that they've screwed up and once it's out there, lawyers hear about it and maybe get involved, and customers don't want to do business there anymore".
Businesses are also exposed to potential libelous or damaging posts on their site or written about their site, and not to mention exposure to hackers as well. Every day I see or read posts by social media hackers. Individuals that 'break in' to your social media account and post or tweet using your name. This can significantly damage your reputation for business owners - to the point of closing doors.
Fortunately, the insurance industry is aware of this risk and has come up with a solution. We want you to be proactive - be careful - take steps to mitigate potential damage. However, should something happen you could have cyber coverage to fall back on. Many carriers have some type of cyber protection built right into your business owners policy or a separate policy can be purchased for added protection.
Cyber policies are anything but standard, every one is different , but many can include coverage for things like your website or social media content, privacy liability, and even business interruption following a server meltdown, perhaps due to a virus, trojan, malware or hacker. Directors & Officers policies may also cover some liability for internet and online social media.
As always, read through your policy language or check with your agent to know if and how much protection you have.