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Our Insights


Surviving the Hype of ‘Social Media’

Social media continues to grow in Australia and Aussies are among the leaders when it comes to engagement, with nine out of 10 Australians having a social media profile. Latest social media statistics published by Vivid Social portray a very good picture of social media influence in the daily life of Australians. Facebook tops the list with 15 million Australians visiting every day.

YouTube: 15 Million
Instagram: 9 Million
WhatsApp: 7 Million
Snapchat: 6.4 Million

6 in 10 Australians use Facebook
1 in 2 Australians use Facebook on a daily basis
1 in 2 Australians use YouTube
1 in 3 Australians use Instagram
1 in 4 Australians use Snapchat
The Yellow Social Media report also highlights interesting habits of users within Australia. 33% of people on social media have reacted to a post that turned out to be untrue.

Social media is about dialogue, interactivity, spontaneity, people, and technology.

But is social media, really social anymore? It is now being used by businesses to communicate, stay connected, market, and offer products or services to individual in a very personal manner.

The number of organisations with a social media presence have increased significantly. Many are using it to propel their marketing, outreach to potential customers to grow their businesses by creating more revenue streams and compete with the ever changing market landscape.

Some of the main objectives which are achieved through effective Social Media strategy include:

  • Reduction in marketing costs

  • Business agility

  • Customer centric approach

  • Information sharing, with the potential for key messages to go global

  • Value propositions, and revenue generation in new markets

  • Reduction in the time to market by interacting with real world data to tailor new solutions on the fly

While harvesting all these advantages, there are also some risks which are inherited due to direct interaction with consumers and unintentional attraction from non-related audiences. This extra limelight also exposes the organisation’s strategies, tactical plans and internal methodologies to competitors and criminals.

Social Media remains a favoured target of scammers, as criminals seek to leverage the trust our customers have in our social circles to spread scams, fake links and misinformation


Hackers are not always trying to gain direct access to systems or its data for monetary reasons, they may also have malicious intent to destroy, degrade the brand value, disrupt core services, or carry out public defacement of social media channels.

Brand Hijacking:

As the brand name continues to gain exposure, it may also gain unwanted attention from hackers or motivated groups of people who can leverage publicly available information and data to exploit, misuse or to impersonate an organisation or its employees and trick their consumers and business partners.

Customers/ consumers may be exposed to hijacked websites or are redirected to staged fake website where all data is compromised including personal identification details resulting in data breach and public defacement.

Competitive Exposure:

Organisations are constantly competing with each other to keep the foot in the door. They are developing new strategies to have more public outreach, generate revenues, create more product streams to attract buyers, consumers and end users.

Too much information about strategies, tactics and modelled data can expose organisation secrets and targets to the outside world. This can be leveraged by other organisations to counter/ respond to the competition. This unintentional information spills can impact future growth and makes it easier for other organisations to gain benefits from the secret magic sauce.

Legal Issues:

Most of the small to medium sized organisations have outsourced their social media marketing campaigns or the housekeeping of social media accounts. Lack of policies and procedures to govern the process, rules of operation can lead to product/ service disparagement or defamation.

Key Takeaway Messages

Security is not an absolute. Organisations decide on an appropriate threshold, and to what extent they want security. This is sometimes expressed formally as their risk appetite or tolerance.

Establishing certain practices and structuring your control environment can boost the degree of security in the individual processes as well as overall cyber/ risk posture of the organisation.

Although no list/ guidelines will be extensive, but here is a food for thought to stay protected in the “viral” social media world.

  • Establish an integrated brand protection function, including elements such as trademarks, patents, licensing, domain management and social media monitoring. These functions are often fragmented across organisational boundaries

  • Human error cannot be negated. Employees can post wrong or improper information on social media sites intentionally or unintentionally. Establish an Acceptable Use Policy, a document that details what can and cannot be shared on the applications and the Internet in general. Organisations should log/ record all communications for review and monitoring purposes.

  • Expectations of customers have gone up with Internet-speeds! Organisations should ensure that nominated staff can handle the social media traffic from all channels in a effective way. Also publish the response times on media so the customers/ consumers would know when to expect a response. Monitor the response times for compliance with the published timelines.

  • Establish policies and processes that ensure all electronic communications are tracked and retained as per the regulations or e-discovery.

  • Establish HR policies and awareness trainings so employees do not share company/ customer information over their personal accounts which might damage an organisation’s brand or reputation.

  • Create content filtering or limit access to sites to restrict employees from using excessive social media in the workplace.

  • Policies, training, and controls should be defined for consequences for failure to comply to access social media from mobile devices, which may result in data theft or leakage.

No step is small, and every little thing counts. Due diligence at granular level is what makes organisations digitally more resilient.

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