You have many options when it comes to marketing your business. However, one of the most popular methods is via social media. After all, 45% of the world currently uses social media. Therefore, if you want to reach out to potential customers, then this is the way to do it. However, it is not all fun and games, and if you are not careful, reckless social media posts and poor in-office security could damage your brand and alienate your customers.
To prevent unnecessary issues, a careful combination of online security and strategic posting is the first step. Let’s talk about why protection is so important and how to get started.
Be Cautious of Who Handles Your Accounts
Over the years, there have been many hacks of major businesses, and the results have been quite damaging. Indeed, in 2013, troublemakers hacked into the Twitter profile of Burger King and changed its profile pic to a McDonald’s logo. Although it brought some media attention to Burger King, you don’t want people thinking about your competitor when they view your ads.
However, it is not only about your brand reputation; it is also about your customers and the security of their data. When a social media account gets hacked, it gives the perpetrators access to company data. Even if they cannot get into customer records, they can still gain access to your customers’ social media usernames, change their passwords, and wreak additional havoc with those accounts. It’s a nasty situation, and you do not want to let your company become the next famous cyber victim.
The first step to protecting your accounts starts in-house, and it begins by being fully aware of who posts on your company’s behalf while limiting access to intruders. Assign a dedicated admin to the account and create a secure password.
The password should not be easy to guess and must include letters (both capitalized and lowercase), numbers, and special characters. Change the password at least once a quarter to something completely different. Don’t just add a number at the end. For added security, implement two-factor authentication where, in addition to the password, the user also enters a code that is sent to their mobile device. If your social media representative ever leaves the company for any reason, make sure to change the password and take away their permissions.
Everyone involved with your social media strategy should be on the same page. Create a list of company guidelines, including which content should be shared, the type of wording that is off-limits, and what is considered confidential. If links are shared by, or to, your company, check that they are secure, and if your staff knows not to click on links that they do not fully understand.
Make sure that there is an approval system in place with at least one person verifying that a post is smart and secure before it goes live. A hacker could infiltrate your account and post a message that could contain a malicious link. So, your team should also be responsible for monitoring your social media accounts to ensure that all posts are your own.
Also, complete regular audits of your social media accounts, including privacy settings. You should be proactive and work with your tech team to understand new known threats so you can protect against those as well. Because of the possibility of cybercrime, the protection of your social media should be the number one priority.
Close In-House Vulnerabilities
Of course, having security at the front gates is meaningless if you don’t have the proper precautions inside your own business. Social media can create a gateway for hackers, but if your company has additional security, you can stop the criminals in their tracks. For instance, a secure and updated firewall should be in place to block unwanted intrusions, and it should be paired with dependable antivirus software that runs on a weekly basis.
Back up all data collected by your organization on secure backup servers that are air-gapped from your main computers. Update your servers on a regular basis, and be sure to encrypt them so data cannot be compromised even if it is accessed. All employees should also back up their data regularly.
Some companies may have a representative who likes to post company updates from their mobile devices, but extra caution is needed in this scenario. For one thing, the device should always be secure, because if it gets lost, and this person is still logged in, a criminal could go to town. Employees should also be careful when posting in public places like coffee shops, as hackers can set up fake Wi-Fi connections that look just like the real deal. When you connect, the hacker can have immediate access. This tactic is known as a man-in-the-middle attack.
The bottom line is that security must be the priority of every employee who directly interacts with your social media accounts. After all, every position in your company creates opportunities for hackers. This starts with the managers who do not properly shred old confidential documents as well as accountants who have access to all sorts of sensitive customer data, from social security numbers to health records. Therefore, it is important to create a secure environment and keep all confidential information out of the wrong hands.
Other Secure Marketing Methods
It is worth noting that social media is only one of many methods of marketing your business. Many companies try a slew of approaches that get the word out while also staying secure. For instance, a popular marketing technique is using Google AdWords to place advertisements for your business above the results in their search engine. This way, you are putting your marketing in the hands of experts who take on most of the risk while the customers come to you.
You can also use search engine optimization to attempt to rank higher in search results. This type of marketing means that you are doing most of the work in-house, and by reaching out less often, you minimize the risk of inviting cybercrime. Finally, many companies rely on email marketing to send out valuable communications to their customers. Again, there is always a risk of a data breach, but as long as you keep your security protocols up to date, your corporate data and the info of your customers will remain secure.
Damage to your brand can be a costly endeavor, especially if it leads to the release of private customer data. Create a strategy, take the proper steps, and your business will survive the dangerous social media battlefield while you increase your reach.