Social media is a critical component of any business’s marketing plan. With the outreach potential being limitless, most companies are leveraging multiple social media platforms to attract potential customers. However, a social media presence doesn’t come without associated risks. From unauthorized posts to phishing attempts, your social media platforms can expose company data to threats from hackers.
This is why managing social media risk effectively is an essential part of your overall data security plans. Being proactive not only protects sensitive company data, but it also prevents your brand or reputation from being damaged.
Here are the core steps you should take towards managing such risks effectively.
1. Be Aware Of The Risk Environment
Even before you can begin mitigating social media risks, you need to identify and understand them. Social media risks may be as simple as an unauthorized post, or as complicated as a hacked account.
Hackers are also developing more sophisticated ways of compromising your data. Some of the most prominent social media risks include:
a. User Authorization
Do you use Facebook authentication to access other online accounts? If so, your data may be at risk. Facebook announced vulnerability in its third-party authentication system, which hackers can use to access your social media platforms. These vulnerabilities can also extend to other sites such as Linked In and Google. Therefore, companies need to monitor how they use social media logins for daily use.
b. Password hacking
Corporate social media accounts contain sensitive data that hackers can use negatively. For example, you may keep customer information on various social media sites for marketing purposes. If this data is compromised, the consequences will be extensive.
One way of making your sensitive information vulnerable is by using weak passwords. General and easy to guess passwords can be a recipe for disaster on social media.
Automation is a critical aspect of social media marketing. For example, you may have set up your accounts to send automated discounts and promotional offers to your customers. But if these messages end up in the hands of hackers, they can be fabricated and embedded with malicious links. Phishing messages damage your brand and expose your customers and employees to data security threats.
2. Include Social Media Risk Management Into Established Policies
After understanding your social media risk environment, you should proceed to implement a robust risk management policy. The policy should include steps for communicating and responding to hacking attempts. Furthermore, there should be specific practices for handling social media accounts, creating content, and sending out messages.
In light of the risks your company faces, each process should be targeted towards mitigating exposure and responding to emergent threats on time. In other words, your social media policy should be flexible yet effective enough to handle present-day challenges.
3. Use The Right Third-Party Vendors
Social media management software is a useful tool that you can use to manage risks from various site. These platforms make password management easier and can be designed to alert you of any suspicious activity. They also help you create content that falls in line with your overall brand. By automating various aspects of your social media profiles, you can spend more time analyzing data, patching up loopholes, and staying ahead of emergent social media threats.
There are many social media management platforms out there- but a few stand out as the most convenient and effective to use. For example, Hootsuite, MailChimp, and Loomly provide unique, secure, and practical features that you can use to manage your social media handles. Hootsuite is a favorite among Fortune 1000 companies because of its advanced automated and security features.
4. Train Employees On Fundamental Social Media Security Practices
Even with the best social media policy and management software in place, you can’t adequately manage the associated risks without training your employees. Remember that employees are the ones on the front lines when it comes to creating content, managing user authorizations, and designing messaging strategies.
Therefore, make sure your employees are always up to date with current threats and social media trends. They should also have an idea of the potential impact that a hacked account could cause.
5. Clearly Define Your Social Media Strategy
Many corporate accounts are hacked because the company hasn’t developed a robust social media strategy. Ask yourself what the goal of your social media presence is. Are you looking to raise brand awareness, promote a specific product, or assist customers in real-time?
Each goal you have will determine how you manage risk. For example, chatting and instant messaging will require you to implement more advanced security policies for avoiding the associated risks. And if your goal is to raise brand awareness, you may dedicate more resources towards identifying phishing messages that may deceive your target audience.
6. Monitor The Risk Environment
Finally, you should have a plan to monitor your risk environment continuously. This means catching hacking attempts early and identifying phishing attacks before they can damage your reputation. You should also have a chain of command in place to review and respond to events as necessary.