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She defined social media as a way of engaging with a large number of people in a cost-effective and time-efficient way. It’s conversation, rather than talking about yourself. There is no right answer to such digital marketing, she said. Your brand is what you say, how often you say it, and when. There can be a conflict between security companies that want to put their brand ‘out there’, competing with others; and the individual, who wants to protect himself by not having an online profile; and certainly not their photograph online for any to see. While Mary Thomas is not a security specialist, she did say that she wouldn’t suggest someone in the Army put a photo of themselves online in Army fatigues: “It’s up to you what photos you put out there.” She protects her privacy – and her children’s – by only doing her social media for business; and being pictured with her dog, but not her children. “You can decide what your brand looks like and how much you put out there.” She went on to aims. Do you want customers talking about your services. Do you want testimonials? The audience can be much more than customers; prospects, suppliers and rivals. She did speak of securing your social media profile in terms of reputation: because of high-profile cases of staff going ‘rogue’ after they have been sacked, but they still have access to the social media account passwords. You haven’t time or money for all the channels, so which are the right ones for your audience. “I would always recommend you do one channel very, very well rather than lots of channels half-heartedly. Choose that one channel carefully.” And do have a crisis management policy, she advised, if something goes wrong; make sure staff know how to use social media, rather than just giving the role to someone young. And measure what you do: “If you are going to do it, do it properly.”
Tool for investigators
The EPIC audience from the floor spoke of how social media such as Facebook are key to the investigator. The top-end criminals are getting wise to it; the average criminal not so; that is, they give away locations (on Twitter for instance) or connections with others. Chris Booth, MD of Palatine R&D, spoke on due diligence and checking and tracing, and the databases available. He spoke of ‘the dreaded footprint’; that every search on a credit checking service such as Equifax leaves a ‘footprint’ of your search, under your name. Do you want to have your search known, even if you have the permission of the client? He suggested that online is like an iceberg; with the well-known search engines as the fairly small part of the iceberg above the surface, and a massive amount of data underneath; but you need to know where to look.
For more on the EPIC event, see the April 2016 print issue of Professional Security magazine; visit http://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/online-magazine/27-03-16/26-04/.
Visit http://www.epic-uk.com. The current patron is Sir Peter Fahy, former Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police.
EPIC meets next at Chester racecourse on Thursday, June 23.