In this era of a dynamic digital world, all of us have a favorite place on social media where we go to find comfort, fun and connection. These virtual venues, like quaint coffee shops or busy city parks, have become an essential part of our daily lives, where we exchange tales, make friends and keep in touch with loved ones around the world.
And it’s quite similar for businesses as well. Social media is where all their customers come together and talk about the things that matter to them, be it the experience they had at an amusement park or how they felt about a product or service. So, it goes without saying that social media is the place for brands to connect with customers, including the potential ones.
But the Internet can certainly be a dangerous place, filled with lurking cyber threats that are ready to feast on unsuspecting explorers. So, we must all be vigilant guardians of our online environments and take steps to ensure our safety and privacy in the real world.
And trust us, you're not alone if you've ever had second thoughts about your online safety or hesitated to press the "Post" button, whether it’s as a business or an individual. We all have the instinctive need to protect the things that are important to us. This includes protecting our online profiles on social media and the data of our customers from cybercriminals and other malicious actors who take advantage of vulnerabilities to steal sensitive data, spread false information and carry out other fraudulent actions.
So, in this article, we'll be exploring the 10 best practices in social media security that will help you in staying safe and sound as you go about your social media day-to-days. With that said, let’s start with the basics.
What is social media security?
Social media security involves a set of policies and procedures used to safeguard user information, privacy and accounts on various social networking sites. It provides security against online harassment, unauthorized access, phishing attacks, malware, data breaches and identity theft. By implementing the right security measures, users can significantly lower their chance of being a target of cyberattacks and ensure a safer online experience.
Why is social media security important for brands?
According to Meta Platforms, the login details of one million Facebook users were stolen in 2022 due to security issues in applications that were downloaded from Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc.'s app stores. As per Meta, attackers could possibly get full access to a person or business' account and contact their friends or access confidential information. Which leads us to the question of the hour — why is it so important for brands to double up on their social media security? Well, here’s why.
Safeguarding brand reputation: Maintaining audience trust and credibility means protecting sensitive information, such as customer data, intellectual property and private company information. There could be reputational harm if there are security breaches or unauthorized activities on social media sites.
Preventing data breaches and identity theft: Brands frequently gather and keep user data, including email addresses, names and even financial information. By implementing strong security measures, the brand and its consumers are less likely to experience identity theft since all the crucial user data is kept safe from hackers and possible breaches.
Reducing the risk of social engineering attacks: Attackers might trick unwary people into revealing sensitive information or taking part in destructive actions by posing as brand representatives or creating false accounts. Strong security procedures can make your brand less vulnerable to these social engineering scams.
Keeping customers engaged: Social media platforms are essential for interactions between brands and customers. And your customer engagement could be disrupted or severely impacted if your account is hacked, which may decrease consumer loyalty and satisfaction.
Business continuity: There’s certainly a dent on your business continuity if your social media account is compromised or suspended because of security violations. This can halt advertising campaigns, customer service initiatives and overall brand visibility.
10 best practices for social media security and privacy
1. Develop a strong password policy
Brands should create a strong password policy and instruct employees to use it when logging into their social media accounts. Passwords should include intricate combinations of uppercase, lowercase, digits and special characters. They should also be updated regularly, and the same passwords shouldn't be used on different platforms. Avoid using common passwords or information that could be guessed, such as birthdates or pet names.
2. Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication amplifies security by requiring users to submit a second form of verification, such as a special code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their password. This approach substantially reduces the risk of unauthorized access, even if the initial credentials have been compromised.
Both X, formerly Twitter and Facebook have two-factor authentication solutions. Once activated, you'll get a unique code on your phone that you'll need to input to complete the login process whenever someone tries to log in to your account from a new device.
3. Educate employees on security awareness
Security breaches can be avoided with regular training and updates on new security risks. Brands should regularly hold training sessions to inform employees of the potential hazards of social media and how to identify and react to potential threats. Employees should be taught how to spot phishing efforts, suspicious sites and social engineering tactics. Brands should also implement guidelines for using social media, managing passwords and handling data.
To learn about security enhancements and best practices, follow reliable cybersecurity blogs and websites, and the directions that official social media accounts of the platforms you use provide.
4. Limit access privileges
Brands should limit access rights by allowing only authorized staff access to social media profiles. Ensure that only those employees who need access to certain accounts and functionalities for their jobs are granted administrator rights. To retain control over account security, access rights should be verified and updated regularly.
5. Monitor and evaluate account activity
Social media accounts should be frequently monitored to identify any unauthorized access or questionable behavior. Brands should create a procedure for content approval and review before the content is published. Keep a record of logins, posting schedules and account configuration alterations. And make sure that you respond immediately to any security or unauthorized access problems.
6. Use third-party applications with caution
Carefully examine the security procedures and reputation of third-party apps before integrating them into your social media accounts. Pay attention to the permissions given to these applications because they could give access to private information that they shouldn’t be privy to. Regularly check permissions and revoke them for unnecessary applications.
7. Protect mobile devices
With the increasing usage of mobile devices for social media management, it’s necessary to take precautions for the safe usage of these devices. Ensure that these devices have activated biometric or secure password authentication. The data that’s saved your devices should be encrypted, and operating systems and software should be updated often to fix security flaws.
8. Update and patch software regularly
Attackers may take advantage of outdated software, jeopardizing the security of your social media accounts. All social media management applications and platforms should be updated with the most recent security patches and upgrades. Brands should perform frequent scans for vulnerabilities and promptly implement any pending patches.
9. Keep an eye out for free Wi-Fi
Brand employees should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to access their social media accounts. This is because public Wi-Fi hotspots are usually insecure, and it’s easier for hackers to intercept data on these networks. Instead, a trustworthy, dedicated Wi-Fi network or a private and secure internet connection with a strong password would be ideal.
10. Update privacy settings frequently
Social media platforms often change their privacy settings and available security alternatives. Brands should stay mindful and updated about these changes and use the available tools to manage who can view their posts, reach them and access their personal information. Privacy settings should be reviewed and modified regularly so your brand can retain control over its online visibility.
The round up
Brands must prioritize security as they leverage social media's potential to safeguard both their online reputation and their audiences’ confidence in them. Implementing the above best practices can help brands strengthen their social media security and reduce the risks related to cyber-attacks.
Remember that social media security is a continuous process and that maintaining a strong defense against possible threats requires brands to be constantly vigilant, up to date on their security protocols and well-equipped with a trained staff.
This is where you can make the most of Sprinklr Social as an all-inclusive social media security solution. Our unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform's powerful password management, account activity tracking and cutting-edge security tools can help you protect your social network presence. What’s more, its strong two-factor authentication approach adds an additional level of security against possible attackers. So, give it a try today to make sure that your social media accounts and activities are as safe as they get.
Frequently Asked Questions
Brands can protect their social media accounts from phishing attacks by training staff members adequately to spot and resist phishing attempts. Additionally, you may prevent unwanted access due to phishing attacks by implementing two-factor authentication and restricting access capabilities.