Top Tips for Keeping Your Business Safe on Social Media

| Feb 28, 2016 299 views 1 Comment

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When 81% of small and medium-sized businesses use social media, it’s no surprise to see that hackers and scammers may decide to take advantage. Executives often fail to realize how much of a risk they are taking every time they use social media.

This doesn’t mean for one moment that people should avoid using social media. It’s an essential tool and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

In this guide, you are going to learn about some of the ways to keep your business safe on social media. This will teach you how to implement proper social media policies.

Have a Social Media Policy

It’s shocking how many companies have no social media policy at all. Your employees should be trained in how to use social media when they are using the company’s electronic items.

The biggest restriction you should have in place is that employees shouldn’t be allowed to use work devices to access personal social media streams. It only provides another avenue for malware and all types of spyware.

The same should apply to personal social media devices. You shouldn’t allow people to access your company’s social media streams on their devices. When you are in control of the device, you can control its security. You have no idea what your employees are doing on their time.

Limit the Number of People and Devices that Have Access

You are reducing the risk by restricting the people and the devices that can access your social media streams. Many companies make sure that only the marketing department can access their social media feeds. All other work computers have popular social media websites blocked.

Furthermore, only a certain number of people should know the password to get onto your company Facebook. Now you know who to turn to if something goes wrong. You wouldn’t give the front door key to everyone, so why would you do the same with your social media passwords?

Authorized Tone and Style

You obviously shouldn’t dictate precisely what people can and can’t say on social media. You want your marketing team to have the freedom to try new things. On the other hand, a single slip can damage your business’s brand image for months to come.

Educate your social media and marketing teams on the tone and style you wish to see on social media. It may come in the form of specific guidelines or you may simply tell them about the image you want to put forward. This will prevent any embarrassing and costly mistakes later.

What about Security?

Your security arrangements should be the same on every device. The latest anti-virus and anti-malware software should be installed. At no point should you attempt to be cheap by picking up a free option. They are nowhere near as effective as paid alternatives, plus they are rarely updated so you will be exposed to the latest threats.

Your connection should be fully encrypted and the password to access the connection should be changed regularly.

Some companies have taken to banning the use of mobile devices to access social media feeds. This is because phones and tablets don’t have the space necessary to install heavy-duty protection. The easiest course of action, from a CEO point of view, is to complete social media updates from desktops.

What is the Greatest Threat from Social Media?

Social media can prove to be a backdoor for hackers. But the greatest threat from social media is what you post on it. Businesses have been destroyed because of disasters on Twitter and Facebook. The vast majority of your audience will have a presence on here, so if something goes wrong everyone is going to see it.

It’s not like a bad customer service call. At least, the damage is limited to that one person and whomever they tell. Even for a few seconds, a social media mistake is as universal as it is humiliating.

The key is proper training and being clear about what you expect from your social media team.

Last Word

Social media security is becoming a far bigger issue than usual because of the rise in cyber-attacks. The lessons you have learned here about social media should also apply to the rest of your company. It could prevent your financial department from getting hacked, your emails becoming public, and the loss of customer data.

Good security practices across your whole company will pay dividends in the long run.

How will you protect your company against threats posed by social media?


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One Response to Top Tips for Keeping Your Business Safe on Social Media

  1. Andrew Rudin February 29, 2016 at 8:31 am (861 comments) #

    Hi Aj: great recommendations. Financial risk from social media abuses risks are significant for companies, and not a week goes by that I don’t encounter a company that’s oblivious to the problems. In Mashable’s 11 Biggest Social Media Disasters of 2012, the overwhelming majority were caused by errant Tweets – or ones that were plain stupid. ( Twitter’s ubiquity and ease-of-use should cause every CFO to stay up at night over this issue.

    “Loose lips sink ships.” I’m sure there’s a more contemporary version of that admonishment used during the second World War. The closest I could find is “if you don’t want to see your comment to appear on the front page of The New York Times, then don’t write it online.” That advice came from an attorney I interviewed a few years ago for an article I wrote, Human Talent or Party Animal? When an Employee’s Social Media Behavior Becomes a Legal Liability (on CustomerThink).

    For my clients, I recommend being very specific about employee social media conduct. This includes especially what’s prohibited. In addition, most companies don’t realize that an employee’s rogue conduct online can result in legal action against the company if the action occurred during business hours – an increasingly vague standard, since “9 to 5” no longer defines a business day. If written policies have not been issued, and if employees have not been regularly advised of them, companies can face greater liabilities.

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