Companies large and small, as well as individuals can become victims of poor social media security. Hacking, modification and spreading of political and scatological messages has been done to accounts. Customers and prospects have been lost and brands have been tarnished.

These types of attacks can be fatal for small businesses, even though they may be easy to recover for large corporations or other major players.

How can you stop these threats?

It is impossible to get out of social media. Social media is becoming more popular as people use it to keep up with brands and companies, share their opinions, and decide whether or not to purchase their products and services. Social media is a growing tool for marketing and it is expected to continue to grow. It appears that social media will eventually surpass traditional sales tools.

Most of the security breaches that have occurred so far are due to employees or business owners falling for simple scams. They simply opened suspicious emails and clicked through to rogue sites without hesitation.

These are some simple steps you can take to protect your business and yourself.

Training and education

Your staff or you may not have the necessary caution to use networks securely. Education and training are the only solutions in such situations.

There are structured social media education programmes that provide training on how to use special tools and how to do it securely. They come in many formats, including webinars and how-to guides.

Google allows you to search for programs that are right for your company and financial resources.

Accounts can be compromised by malicious links. It is best to be cautious, especially if you are directed to pages asking for passwords or usernames.

These educational programs include training on how to recognize suspicious emails, messages or links that could be used as a gateway to your system for hackers.

These programmes not only improve security but also increase the effectiveness of social media campaigns. Many of these programmes offer training in advanced social media aspects, such as how to attract new clients.

Protecting passwords

You and your staff will likely share passwords and accounts if you both use social media. You will share more passwords the more accounts you have.

How do you secure these passwords?

It is very difficult. Here are the steps:

You should first create complex passwords rather than using very simple passwords like 12345etc, password. There are password-generating tools available.

You must also ensure that passwords are not stored on shared computers, mobile phones, emails, or on post-it notes, or on any other paper scraps.

Complex passwords are difficult to remember, especially if there are multiple of them. It is possible to reduce the number passwords that your staff uses. This can be done by making sure they log into your company’s accounts with the same username/password as their company email account.

The added advantage is that employees can instantly be removed from all company media if they leave the company. If a disgruntled employee still has access, he/she can cause havoc on your social media accounts.

Centralising control over social media

Many people and businesses, even the smallest, will have multiple accounts on different networks such as Linked In, Twitter and Facebook.

It can be time-consuming and difficult to manage multiple accounts, especially if your company has many people involved in tweet creation and updating.

First, you should conduct an audit of all accounts. This will include identifying who is responsible for managing them and who has access. You can then close down any accounts that you don’t use and deprive employees of access to the rest.

After that, consolidate the accounts in a social network management system. You can use an SMMS to:

Write messages and publish them to multiple accounts on different social networks using a single interface.
All social activities can be monitored from one location, simplifying the tedious task of monitoring them all.
There are many well-known SMMS available. Many operate on a freemium basis Basic services are available for free, but you can pay extra to get additional services.

Good SMMSs will include malware tools that notify users when a suspicious link is clicked. Secure systems will notify you when suspicious activity occurs on your accounts. This gives you the opportunity to stop the threat.

Social media has increased the urgency of centralizing social media using an SMMS. This is due to Facebook’s Promoted posts. Imagine that you have invested thousands of dollars or euros in Promoted Tweets on Twitter, and someone hacks your account and posts offensive tweets.

An SMMS must have the ability to block malware from being used. This SMMS should be able monitor the results of paid social media without requiring additional passwords.

Message approval

It is easy to make a mistake or mistweet on social media. These errors can cause serious reputation damage. To avoid them, you need to establish an approval process before any social messages can be posted.

If more than one person is involved in social media activities, formal approval is not required. This is a critical step to ensure your messages adhere to the highest standards.

A simple approval process allows another person to view a tweet, message, or update before it’s published. All social media messages should be approved by a good social media management system.

An approval process allows for the content of posts can be checked and typos can be corrected. Links can also be checked. This process allows you and your employees to exchange ideas and make corrections.

Approval will significantly reduce the chance of major social media crises. It will not, however, guarantee that everything goes according to plan.

Disaster recovery

Mistakes happen. No matter how secure you are, there’s always the chance of something going wrong. An inappropriate message could be sent because someone got access to your system or something was overlooked during approval.

What can you do in the event of an emergency?

The boy scouts motto Be prepared is the only solution.

“Being prepared” means you and your employees should have a plan for how to respond to a crisis quickly and effectively. This plan should be flexible because crises are unpredictable.

To ensure it works in an emergency, you should test and evaluate the plan. It is important to practice the plan to ensure that you and your team know what to do.

Social media is instantaneous so you must respond immediately. In fact, social media can be used to help you respond in a timely manner. You can do this best by using a proven social media management system.

A good SMMS can help you monitor how customers, prospects, and the general public react to the issue in order to respond appropriately.

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