The number of social media users is rising at an astonishing pace. Given this fact, it’s not surprising at all that social media marketing has become the backbone of building a solid online presence for both small businesses and large corporations.

Precisely because of that, these channels should be one of the greatest risk concerns for your business. According to CIO Insights, the worldwide cyber breach costs are expected to reach $6 trillion in 2021 and social networks are largely to blame.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stop investing in your social media presence. You just need to build your strategy wisely, identify the major social media security risks, and take actionable steps to prevent them effectively.

Here are a few tips you may find helpful.

Build a thorough social media policy.

When building your social media marketing strategy, you will need a detailed social media policy. In other words, you need to draw up clear guidelines on how to use social media responsibly to avoid any legal problems or security risks.

The mere idea behind creating a social media policy is to educate your team members. It should teach them to create strong passwords, highlight the importance of updating software regularly, and inform them about the most common cybersecurity risks. It should also teach your employees to handle copyright legally and how to add a sense of consistency across all channels they use. Finally, your social media policy should determine which staff members should have access to your accounts and determine who is responsible for each profile.

Test your social media security consistently.

Online hacks are constantly evolving, becoming more sophisticated and smarter. So, to recognize and mitigate them, you need to assess your social networks, as well as the overall cybersecurity strategy regularly. Here are a few factors you need to assess:

  • Your social media privacy settings. If the social networks you use have been updated recently, maybe they’ve set the predefined settings. Make sure you check your privacy settings and modify them if the need arises.
  • Publishing rights. Check who can manage your accounts and publish content. Ensure that all your ex-employees who had access rights are now removed from the list of admins. If one of your employees changed their role within your company, but they don’t need the access to your profiles anymore, you should limit their access to your profiles, too.
  • Your privacy policy. Update it according to the latest online security trends to make it highly relevant.

Familiarize your employees with the basics of social media security.

A few years ago, a U.S. Airways employee accidentally posted an X-rated photo to the company’s Twitter account. This is just one of a plethora of similar examples reminding us that we’re all humans and, no matter how professional we are, we make mistakes.

Research proves the same. In 2016, Ponemon and Experian surveyed 601 data protection and privacy training experts and concluded that 66% of them believe that employees are the major threat to their companies’ online security. This is why you need to support your social media policy with the right cybersecurity training for your employees. Some of the most common the training should cover are the following:

  • The consequences of sharing passwords and using the same login data for all accounts
  • The risks of clicking on suspicious ads, emails, and content
  • Multiple issues caused by becoming friends with people we don’t know personally
  • The risks of using public Wi-Fi to manage your business and their private social accounts

Limit the access to your social media profiles.

Now that you know that your employees may make mistakes and cause online security incidents, you need to consider limiting access to your social networking profiles. In other words, instead of letting anyone publish content on your business’ social media accounts, you give the admin data to just a few members of your team. This could be your social media managers or content marketers- people that understand the link between your social media presence and branding efforts. The employees you put in charge of your social media accounts should also be familiar with your social media policy, know how to mitigate the major social security risks, and design your social media marketing campaign according to them.

Set strong passwords.

Make sure your passwords are hard to hack. Your company name or “Facebook login” simply doesn’t cut it. Combine numbers, symbols, capital and lowercase letters to create unique, strong passwords. Also, update passwords every three months. If possible, ask for two-factor authentication to prevent a hacker from intercepting your business’ data.

Over to you

Social networks let you humanize your brand, provide a personalized user experience, and connect with your target audience on an emotional level. However, you need to implement them strategically. Build a straightforward social media policy, give the admin rights to just a few employees, and constantly assess your social networking profiles to check any irregularities on time. Most importantly, invest in employee education to teach them to use both the corporate and their private accounts safely.

Hope this helps!

Lauren Wiseman is marketing specialist, contributor to and entrepreneur. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in the fast-changing and demanding market, strongly believing in a holistic approach to business.

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