One of the best ways to establish a solid online presence for your business or personal brand is to leverage social media. After all most of your target audience is now likely on social media. In fact, recent social media usage stats show that there are now over 4.74 billion social media users according to Hootsuite’s digital report of 2022.
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On the flip side, there are also a growing number of plenty of malicious people and even hackers taking advantage of social media platforms. This is perhaps well illustrated by a 2021 report by the Federal Trade Commission, which showed that more than 95,000 people reported about $770 million in losses to fraud initiated on social media. Well, you ought to stay vigilant to avoid falling prey as you use social media. Talking of staying safe, here are some of the best Social Media Security Tips to reduce common risks:
Keep your personal information secure!
Social media is a place to interact with other brands and your clients. Forming a deep connection with your audience is an excellent way to humanize your brand and relay your intended message. However, oversharing on the Internet would not be such a good idea.
There is no need to publish personal information online like your home address, personal telephone number, photos of your workplace, or school information of your child.
Remember, malicious individuals, might use the information to track you down or even put your family in danger.
Use robust security tools
It is impossible to monitor your social media accounts 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, you never know when a malicious social media user will strike. They might infiltrate your social media account in the wee hours of the night, only for you to wake up to a rude shock. Now, security tools can be your eyes and ears, leaving you to worry about extra responsibilities.
For example, you can use social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Mention, Brand24, Brand Moran, and the like to lookout for imposter accounts. You can use cybersecurity tools like ZeroFox to alert you of suspicious activity like malicious links targeting your brand.
You could use a tool like BrandFort to help protect yourself from spam and phishing comments targeting your social media.
Secure your phone
The threats to your social media accounts become more significant if you or your employees are using mobile gadgets like phones to access and manage them. An employee might download a virus without knowing, which gives the hacker the ability to create a vulnerability in their device. This can be an avenue for the hacker to infiltrate your social media account.
It is thus best to implement stringent measures to secure your phones and other devices with antivirus and other security tools like using a VPN. Ensure you also avoid using unsecured public WIFI which can be a leeway for an attacker to get access to your phone.
Use SSL certificates for better security
As a business or personal brand, you might want to route social media engagement to web traffic. For starters, you need to add secure links to your social media bios.
In other words, you ought to ensure their interaction with that website is secure. One way to do this is to encrypt the traffic between your web server and the end user (including you when you interact with the site).
You can install a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate to encrypt and secure this interaction. Installing an SSL certificate gives you a secure padlock next to your website URL on the browser. This will ensure your users are more comfortable following your social media profile links to your website.
They are likely to share personal information and even transact on your website, leading to more conversion rates. Remember, nobody wants to transact on your site if users get a browser warning that it might be insecure! So from a security point of view and the customer’s trust, it is essential that a site holder should buy SSL certificate and provides a secure environment.
Do regular security audits on accounts
Unfortunately, cybersecurity is not something you can do once and forget all about it. Trends change occasionally, and some methods of securing your online presence might become obsolete before you even know it. In addition to the dynamic nature, hackers are getting sharp and discovering new ways to bypass your security protocol.
One of the best practices is to conduct regular security audits on all your social media accounts to help you stay one step ahead of the bad vectors. Every few months, ensure you review who has access to all your accounts, look out for recent security threats, revisit your social media policy, and update your privacy settings.
Staying safe on audio-only apps
You might think that audio-only apps like music and Podcast apps are harmless since you are not publishing photos and videos as you would on Facebook and Instagram. However, hackers have begun conducting nefarious activities that could put you at risk. You never know who is listening to your everyday conversations.
Also, anyone can create a fake account and pretend to be someone they are not. Therefore, it would be wise to watch what you say while using audio-only apps and limit the number of employees who can access and manage them.
Avoid reusing passwords!
You should always stay vigilant with the authentications you use for social media and other apps. A skilled hacker can use a computer or software tool to guess your passwords. Well, password security stats show that if you use a seven-character password with uppercase and lowercase letters, it will only take the hacker 1 minute to infiltrate your account.
Now, imagine you use the same password for all your social media platforms. Once the hacker figures out one password, they might use it for the rest of your accounts! Therefore, we cannot stress enough how important it is to improve social media security by using different passwords for every account you create.
Tip: You can also add another layer of security. For example, other than using password-only authentication, you can use a password with an Email or Text combination.
Train your staff on social media security best practices
Your employees are one of the biggest cybersecurity threats to your company. Yet they handle sensitive company data and trade secrets and manage social media accounts. A small misstep on their part could lead to massive losses for your business. In fact, human error is one of the leading causes of cybersecurity breaches.
According to Kaspersky’s IT security economics in 2019 report , “inappropriate IT resource use by employees” is the leading cause of data breach. As per this report, 50 percent of Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) reported these types of incidents.
So, ensure your employees are implementing the social media policy you have in place. In addition to the policy, employee training would be best to ensure they understand why it is important and what to do if something goes wrong. Training also helps your staff know what to look out for, for instance, what a phishing attack on social media looks like.
Social media is an excellent tool to help you broaden your reach, grow your brand, and increase your revenue. It is also cost-effective to spread the word about your business and tell your unique story exactly how you want your audience to perceive you. It is also becoming a huge gold mine for malicious users looking to execute their frauds. This is why you should implement best practices to help you avert common social media risks!