Social media attracts hundreds of millions of daily users, making it a natural platform for companies to use to generate leads and service customers. Although many businesses have learned how to craft messages and compose content to appeal to their audience, many have failed to recognize the security issues that can affect their experience.
After all, with employees interacting with customers and posting content on social media, incidents can happen that can poorly reflect on your brand and jeopardize the integrity of your confidential information. By using the following five social media security tips, you can stay safe while leveraging social networks to your advantage.
Set Up a Social Media Policy
Never just “hope” that your employees will responsibly use social media. Such assumptions can lead to conflicting expectations and frustrating misunderstandings. Even worse, operating without having a social media policy in place can compromise your operation and leave you without grounds for recourse if something goes wrong.
An effective social media policy will define the acceptable use of social networks by employees while they are “on the clock.” Also, the policy should contain a schedule for training to make sure the entire staff stays aware of social media security guidelines and best practices. Particularly, the policy should dictate what company information employees can discuss and share on social media.
While controlling the dissemination of information, be sure to address what employees can do and say about your business on their private social media pages. After all, what they do and how they behave can reflect on your organization. To address this, you could, for example, stipulate that all your employees avoid filling out the employment status in their social media profiles. You can also forbid them to use their social media accounts to discuss business-related matters.
Train Your Employees
Once you have a social media policy in place, you should train your employees. Training sessions should include a presentation of how to manage account privacy settings and how to avoid threats posed by phishing links and malicious accounts. Every employee should know that mistakes made on social media can lead to virus infections and network breaches that can severely damage the firm.
Additionally, training should cover seemingly simple concepts such as creating strong passwords and keeping them safe. Also, your company should train employees to avoid open public Wi-Fi connections at airports, coffee shops and other risky locations. If possible, acquire access to VPN services and teach employees how to use them when working remotely or while traveling.
Be Careful With Third Party Apps
Third-party applications can enhance the social media experience by adding features and integrations that might otherwise be missing. Unfortunately, some apps compound the security concerns of social media because they might have security flaws that cybercriminals can exploit to gain access to social media accounts and business networks. Additionally, some third-party developers themselves might have malicious intent.
Make sure you have strict procedures in place regarding the installation and use of third-party social media apps. Although some might offer speed, efficiency or convenience, they should all be cautiously handled. It’s best to use well-known trusted apps.
Limit Access to Your Account
Your social media policy should include a system to track the people who have access to your business account. After all, security risks increase as the number of users increases. Ideally, you should always have an up-to-date list of account users and a way to track their activities while logged in. Also, you should periodically change the password to prevent former employees or other unauthorized people from accessing your account.
While limiting the number of people who can access your business social media accounts can reduce security threats, you can also give some of your employees only limited permissions. You can do this with the help of trusted social media management apps such as Hootsuite. This way several of your employees can have the permission to draft posts, but only a selected few can be allowed to review and post them.
Implement Continuous Monitoring
For the protection of your company, you should always monitor all the online activities of your employees, especially when they are clocked-in and accessing resources via your business network. You should, however, expand your monitoring policy to include your social media accounts, regardless of how employees access them.
Additionally, schedule routine security audits of your accounts using built-in and trusted third-party tools to make sure that you can quickly identify and resolve any problems. Furthermore, social media sites regularly update their systems and often add new features that can help you improve the security of your accounts.
Wrapping It Up
To improve the security of your business’ social media accounts, you need to craft a robust policy and reinforce it with live training. Furthermore, you can improve security by carefully selecting third-party apps and limiting the number of employees who can log into your accounts. Finally, by monitoring the status of your accounts and periodically auditing them for security, you and your team can use social media with confidence to grow your business.
About the author: John Porter is a Southampton-based freelance writer and a tech head, so he enjoys writing about business and technology and is particularly interested in all types of productivity apps. Find him on Twitter @johnpourter.