As a business, effectively utilizing social media channels has become an integral aspect to the marketing approach. The fact of the matter is that social media streams have the ability to reach audiences that previously only TV had the capacity to achieve, and at far less cost. Utilizing this internet-based phenomenon is therefore a no-brainer.
However, as it is internet-based, social media channels also have the potential to be security risks. Security is now central to all business operations, and your social media activities are no different. With that in mind, here are 5 common social media security threats to watch out for, as well as those practices which can be put in place to cover the potential risk.
Hackers and malicious content
Hackers do target businesses’ social media accounts, we have seen this in in the past with incidents involving the likes of Forbes. Although it is not something to keep you up at night worrying about, the threat must be taken seriously and the very least you can do is implement software which scans for this very nature of threat. It is important to state here that there is no software solution that can absolutely guarantee against this type of material slipping through the net, but implementing a firewall and then activating programs which do perform consistent monitoring is absolutely the right choice, and will guard against malicious posts being made from your accounts, phishing scams, and those impersonating your accounts. There is only so much you can do, of course, but this is a great place to start.
Continuously monitor inactive accounts
As a business you will want to have the relevant handle on any viable social media channels, but that may not mean that you are using them all at the same time. In fact, it’s normal for business to buy up handles just to prevent anyone else from using them, and therefore causing confusion that something is coming from your business or not.
Unfortunately, hackers have often manipulated this fact, and have time and again gained access to inactive accounts and have set about causing damage to a business in this way. Although there is no full proof way of preventing this from happening, at least implement a system where inactive accounts are also regularly checked to ensure nothing is coming from them.
“Every business should be performing regular social media audits to check the content that has gone out, even on what are supposed to be inactive accounts. Review your security processes diligently, and continuously,” recommends Kurt Brosnich, a SEO writer at Boomessays and Academized.
Have an approval system
This one is just common sense. There is a litany of examples of businesses shooting themselves in the foot with inappropriate posts that simply were not checked before they were sent. Anyone can make an honest mistake, but if you have a post approval process, it drastically limits the possibility of someone posting something, however innocently, that is clearly going to cause offence or some kind of backlash against your business.
Despite all the efforts of accomplished hackers, still the biggest threat to your online security is your employees themselves who can inadvertently make the mistake or clicking on the wrong link, for example, or sharing something that turns out to be malware, a virus, or a fishing scam. All of this has the potential to tarnish you customer relations, and is something that you will wish to avoid at all costs.
Although nothing can be prevented 100%, a great way of seeking to solve this issue is providing your staff with some simple yet effective training into social media best practices.
“Never assume that your staff know what social media best practices are. Diligent companies deliver training which instructs and informs employees about every aspect of delivering your brand’s message online, and this covers all threats from social media channels,” advises Jean Richards, an SMM manager at UKWritings and Big Assignments.
Of course, this is not an issue which afflicts the vast majority of organizations, but there have been instances of employees posting damaging material through their own company’s social media channels. This may be unlikely, but it is still best practice to manage accounts and passwords with a semblance of control, and restrict who has access to this information. At the very least, this can prevent access falling into the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, as we have seen before, nothing is full-proof when it comes to the online world. However, at the same time, vigilance and smart practices such as those listed above can go a long way to securing your business’s operations and ensuring smooth social media communication channels which continue to reach your audience in the way you intend. There is nothing to fear, just be smart in your operations.