Most businesses understand the importance of protecting information across the organization, especially related to finances and client and supplier information. Steps are taken to keep this data away from anyone with malicious intent because there can be severe repercussions for breaches.
However, while the penalties may not necessarily be financial, security breaches on social media can have a lasting impact on a brand. In practice, a company Tweet is usually the work of a single individual from a specific department. To the outside world, it can represent the entire company and its approach. Security, therefore, means more than just passwords and information and extends to the brand's full online presence.
As a brand grows, there will always be attempts to leverage its success, and some are more unscrupulous than others. Many social platforms use a blue checkmark to indicate that an account represents who it claims to, but not all services provide this, and not everyone pays attention.
Your social media strategy should focus not only on growth and promotion but also on brand protection. If you have the resources to do so, you can instruct the marketing or media teams to track mentions through alerts and stay on top of new services as they become available. Social networks come and go, but it is essential to protect a brand by being ready to secure the correct name as new opportunities gain traction.
Smaller organizations, in particular, are likely to rely on passwords for account access. It is often possible to assign users and roles through the primary account, which the main account holder, such as the business owner or head of marketing, can activate and deactivate as required.
There are numerous benefits to handling social accounts in this way, beyond removing access when an employee leaves their role. A company can prevent sharing of details and unauthorised access through anything but approved accounts by granting these permissions separately. Users never see the passwords and so never have the chance to share or lose them.
The corporate social media world moves fast, and it is essential for businesses, particularly those without dedicated resources, to make time to review their activities and security protocols. Even after following the step above, if it is the CEO's responsibility to turn account access on and off, it may not be their highest priority on any given day.
By scheduling time weekly or monthly, a company's head of social media can ensure that account settings reflect current business requirements and that passwords are updated regularly to prevent unauthorized access.
It is often an excellent idea to encourage using a VPN when undertaking any work-related tasks, which applies just as much to social media as any other business-critical activity. Indeed, not using a VPN is considered among the most common security mistakes in the workplace, and using them should apply to anyone that works online in company time.
In this context, the primary benefit of doing so is that all communications from one point to another are encrypted. In an area of the business that relies on passwords, it makes perfect sense to keep that information away from prying eyes to avoid unwanted access to accounts and the consequences that may follow.
Ideally, staff that work at a business hold the brand in high regard and will only take to social media in the company's name for positive promotional exchanges. However, the most successful brands across most channels have a particular style, which has usually evolved over time.
By creating a social media policy, covering tone, frequency, and anything else that positions your brand in the correct light, you can ensure consistency of message while also accounting for staff turnover. In relying on a stated policy rather than an individual, new hires can quickly familiarize themselves with what is expected from them when representing the brand online.
Social media represents one of the most significant opportunities in the history of marketing for businesses of all sizes, especially when comparing the cost to the potential impact. However, there are potential pitfalls, but by following the steps above, any business can be confident of avoiding them.
Rick writes extensively about the latest marketing and social media trends and how they can help small and medium-sized businesses to get the most bang for their buck in their online operations.
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