Social media has become an undeniable reaching out to the public, spreading news and info among thousands of fans. If one post can spread so rapidly, what happens when this pervading force in communication falls into the wrong hands? How can you be sure to secure your social media?

As social media security becomes essential to businesses, following basic guidelines will help circumvent the worst of the traps people fall into when it comes to keeping intruders out of their media and followers. These guidelines will also improve damage control if the worst does happen.

1) Strong Passwords

Believe it or not, many people still use ‘password’ or ‘1234’ as their password, even in business situations. Instead of the old standbys, complex passwords that include numbers, letters, and symbols are harder to crack. It’s rough keeping track of those complex passwords, especially in a business setting: that’s why a password manager like Keypass or LastPass can become essential. Not only does this take the guesswork out of creating a good strong password (both programs have features that will create passwords for you, including ‘pronounceable’ ones people can remember) but manage them so sensitive passwords are not visible to those who don’t need long-term access to sensitive information.

2) Education

Even big companies have fallen into the trap where one employee clicks on a bad link in a decoy email, where they submit valuable username and password data, only to lead to a security breach within the whole company.  The easiest way to circumvent this problem is to sufficiently educate everyone on safe practices. These include:

–          Be suspicious of clicking on links; if you’re not completely sure where they come from, they make take you to unexpected and invasive websites.

–          Be watchful of official-sounding emails providing a link and asking you to update your info. When in doubt, type the url to the website you want by hand. Links can be cloaked to take you to unexpected websites.

–          Do not open a suspicious or unknown attachment, even if it appears to be from someone you know. Ask first if you need to.

–          Be cautious of questionable software and downloadable games which can contain malware that is quick to infect a system and difficult to get out again.

3) Utilize a Social Media Manager

Social Media Managers like Hootsuite not only keep track of and schedule media interaction but have software designed to look for misuse of links and posting. They act like an extra firewall, creating a buffer between you and intruders. Further, these Social Media Managers allow for permissions, requiring specific contributors to post drafts to be reviewed but only allowing administrators to approve final posts.

Centralizing social media accounts within your company helps prevent miss-posts and leaks. Also consider hiring an outside agency to manage your social media accounts, employees at Appletree MediaWorks, LLC are trained professionals that can help you with your social media maintenance. This also introduces a formality to social media for business, which employees might otherwise approach in a more casual way.

4) Review & Update

Assess and review your security on a regular basis. Who has access to passwords and social media accounts?  Who has permissions to what? Do passwords or accounts need to be changed in the case of departing employees? Finally, ensuring that software is up to date on browsers, operating systems, and all virus/malware protection can keep software more secure.

5) Prepare for the Worst

If all goes well you will never have to resort to contingency plans for reclaiming hijacked accounts or covering for bad posts that have gone viral on the internet. However, making plans in the event of a crisis will make it a little more manageable.  Preparing employees on what to do if they receive a cloaked email can halt a social media hijacking intrusion in its tracks. Keep an unassociated email as emergency to reach all employees or users if needed. A plan for damage control speeds up the process and reduces the damage that a security breach can cause to a business’s reputation.

We do hope that your company takes the tips above into consideration. Social media can be good for business when it is properly maintained and analyzed. Reach out to Appletree MediaWorks, LLC for more tips and to have a social media analysis done for your business today.

The Five Step Guide to Better Social Media Security”, MarketingProfs,

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