Social Media Security: How to Stay Safe on Social Media?

Learn all about social media security, its importance, benefits to individuals and businesses, potential dangers to your social media accounts and ways to keep them secure.

Despina Singh
July 10, 2023
7 min read

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Table of Contents

What is social media security?

Social media security refers to the measures businesses and individuals take to protect the privacy, confidentiality and information of their social media accounts.  
 
It envelops various aspects such as privacy settings, account authentication, awareness of phishing and scams, third-party apps and permissions, secure browsing habits and more.  
 
Protecting personal or business data and minimizing risks is crucial as social media platforms grow in popularity and interconnectivity. 
 
In this guide, we’ll explore the whys and wherefores of social media security.

Why is social media security important?

Social media is now an essential aspect of our communication and customer engagement. It is crucial for us to use it carefully and responsibly. 
 
Here are some social media security risks and their potential impact on businesses (with more to come later in this guide): 

  • Unconfigured privacy settings increase the risk of unauthorized access and potential data breaches 

  • Cybercriminals can exploit inadequate social media monitoring for suspicious activities, spreading malware and impersonating your company, thereby compromising its security 

  • Underestimating social engineering attacks and lacking tailored plans to handle security incidents often leading to delays in effectively addressing breaches 

What’s at stake? Protection of confidential information, preservation of online reputation and prevention of online harassment or cyberbullying.  

Yet companies frequently overlook social media security. Maybe because it might not be the most exciting part of creating a social media strategy. But it can be the key factor that safeguards your business from severe security breaches or substantial financial losses.

On that note, let’s explore the benefits of social media security for individuals and businesses.

Benefits of social media security

Understanding the benefits of social media security is a good starting point for both individuals and businesses alike to ensure a safer and more secure online presence.  

Benefits of social media security for individuals

  1. It protects personal privacy: Social media security protects sensitive information, prevents unauthorized access and defends against identity theft, fraud and online abuse. By limiting access to trusted individuals, it ensures a higher level of privacy. 

  2. It enhances online reputation management: It allows for better control over one's online presence, protecting against reputational damage from inappropriate content or harassment. Moreover, it creates a safer and more enjoyable online experience by minimizing interactions with cyberbullies.  

Benefits of social media security for businesses

  1. It protects sensitive corporate data: Social media security plays a vital role in protecting intellectual property. It prevents unauthorized access and serves as a shield against data breaches. This is especially crucial for businesses relying heavily on social media platforms for marketing and sharing valuable data. 

  2. It mitigates brand reputation risks: Actively monitoring and addressing security threats is key to safeguarding a brand's reputation. It helps reduce the risk of unauthorized access to social media accounts, ensuring the protection of valuable assets. By prioritizing security, businesses enhance their credibility and foster trust among customers and stakeholders. 

  3. It helps to stay compliant with regulations and standards: Implementing strong security practices is essential to comply with data protection regulations, preserving customer trust and upholding industry standards. Businesses can safeguard themselves from potential legal and financial consequences, ensure the safety of sensitive data and maintain a reputable position in the market by prioritizing security.

Employing social media security measures is crucial for individuals and businesses to cultivate a safer and more secure online presence. However, equally significant is familiarizing oneself with the prevailing social media security risks and threats.  

Let's dive into that before we explore the best practices to ensure social media security.

Risks and threats associated with social media security

The following are some common risks and threats associated with social media security.

  • Unauthorized access: the unauthorized infiltration of personal or corporate social media accounts by hackers or other bad actors, which could result in data breaches or the improper utilization of information 

  • Phishing attacks: the act of deceitfully trying to acquire sensitive information, such as passwords or personal details, through impersonation of genuine entities or creation of fake profiles 

  • Malware and viruses: malicious links or infected files can spread malware and viruses through social media platforms, compromising the security of devices and networks 

  • Privacy breaches: inadequate privacy settings or unintentional sharing of personal information can expose individuals to privacy violations, identity theft or online stalking  

  • Reputation damage: inappropriate content, negative comments or online harassment can harm an individual's or business's reputation, impacting trust and credibility 

  • Social engineering: manipulation techniques employed by cybercriminals to deceive users into revealing confidential information or performing actions that compromise security 

  • Account hijacking: the unauthorized takeover of social media accounts, often for malicious purposes, leading to identity theft, dissemination of harmful content, or fraudulent activities 

  • Data mining and tracking: social media platforms collect and analyze user data for targeted advertising or third-party purposes, potentially compromising privacy and personal information 

  • Cyberbullying: harassment, intimidation or abusive behavior directed at individuals on social media platforms, causing psychological and emotional harm 

  • Fake accounts and scams: creation of fake profiles or fraudulent schemes on social media, aiming to deceive users into providing personal information, financial details or engaging in fraudulent activities.

Staying well-informed about these risks and actively implementing essential precautions are crucial for safeguarding oneself when using social media platforms. 
 
We'll now turn our attention to some industry best practices.

7 best social media security practices

Human error accounts for 95% of all data breaches.

Source: Databasix

  • Draft a social media policy

You can outline a well-thought out social media policy that defines how your business and teams should use social media responsibly.
Consider including the following elements in our social media policy.

  1. Guidelines for account management: provide clear instructions on how to create and manage official social media accounts 

  2. Branding and tone: lay out guidelines to ensure your brand's identity and the right tone shines through in your social media posts 

  3. Content guidelines: specify what's acceptable and what to avoid when it comes to the content you share 

  4. Legal and ethical considerations: address important topics like copyrights, privacy and disclosure requirements 

  5. Crisis management: prepare protocols for handling potential social media crises or incidents that may arise 

  6. Updates and revisions: let everyone know that this policy will be reviewed and updated periodically as needed

It's important to remember that the specific needs of your social media policy can vary based on factors like your industry, company size as well as business goals.

Social media policy for every type of business: best practices and examples

  • Insist on two-factor authentication

Adding two-factor authentication (2FA) is crucial for online security as it promptly mitigates the dangers tied to compromised passwords. If a password is hacked, guessed or even phished, it no longer grants intruders access. Without approval from the second factor, the password alone becomes futile.

  • Restrict access to specific individuals

Securing your social media accounts involves limiting access. While external threats are a concern, data breaches can also originate from within your organization. Not everyone on your team requires knowledge of account passwords, even if they handle social media tasks. You can assign different roles to different people while ensuring permission vary based on each role. Doing so helps restrict access to sensitive data or features as well as allows better accountability. It's also crucial to implement a system that enables you to revoke account access when employees leave or change roles.

  • Automate approval workflows

You don't have to grant posting access to everyone managing your social accounts. You can streamline your workflow by utilizing approval processes. Only approvers will have the flexibility to modify content during the approval stage, making swift edits without the need for message rejection and re-composition. This not only improves efficiency and saves time, but also works as a defensive strategy to limit the number of people who need the posting ability.

  • Give someone the rein

Designating a dedicated individual as the vigilant guardian of your social presence is crucial for risk management. This person assumes various responsibilities such as:

  1. Developing and implementing a security policy

  2. Monitoring the brand's social media presence

  3. Managing access and permissions

  4. Aligning social media strategies with security goals

  5. Collaborating with the IT department

  6. Training team members on security practices

  7. Responding to security incidents promptly

Typically, this role is filled by a seasoned member of your marketing team. However, it's important for them to maintain a strong collaboration with the IT department to effectively address potential risks. Team members should rely on this person for guidance in case of any social media mistakes that could expose the company to risk, enabling prompt and appropriate responses. 

  • Implement an early warning system

Ensure comprehensive monitoring of all your social channels, including both frequently used and dormant ones.
As mentioned earlier, assigning a responsible person is recommended to verify the authenticity of all account posts, starting with cross-referencing them against your content calendar.
Investigate any unexpected posts, even seemingly legitimate ones that deviate from your content plan. It could indicate human error or a potential security breach.
Tap into your social media monitoring strategy to identify and address imposter accounts, inappropriate brand mentions by employees or others associated with your company and negative conversations surrounding your brand. 

  • Keep tabs on social media security concerns

Regularly checking for new social media security issues is crucial to actively address emerging threats and vulnerabilities. The digital landscape evolves constantly, and staying attentive allows prompt identification and mitigation of potential risks.

Here’s a checklist for your regular audits:

  1. Review social network privacy settings every quarter to adapt to any updates that may impact your account's privacy and data usage control 

  2. Assess and update access and publishing privileges for your social media management platform and accounts, revoking access for former employees and adjusting roles as needed 

  3. Stay informed about recent social media security threats by maintaining a good relationship with your IT team and keeping an eye on mainstream news outlets 

  4. Conduct a quarterly review of your social media policy to ensure it evolves with changing network popularity, security practices and emerging threats, thus enhancing the safety of your social accounts 

Always remember: To ensure the effectiveness of your social media policy, employee training is essential. Social media training empowers employees to use social tools effectively, boosting their confidence in utilizing social media for work while maintaining safety for personal and professional purposes.

Introduction to Media Monitoring & Analytics

How to use a social media security tool for better protection?

A social media security tool, often part of a comprehensive social media management platform, offers various features that can be helpful in enhancing social media security.  
 
Here are some capabilities that contribute to social media security: 

  • Account management

Sprinklr platform showing how one can add multiple social media accounts

You can manage multiple social media accounts from a centralized platform. It helps organizations maintain better control and oversight of their accounts, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. 

  • Access control

Sprinklr platform showing the multiple available user access roles

You can assign different access levels and permissions to team members responsible for managing social media accounts. This ensures that only authorized personnel can make changes or post on behalf of the organization, minimizing the risk of unauthorized individuals gaining access to sensitive information. 

  • Content moderation

Sprinklr platform showing the smart approval feature to moderate publishing

Social media security tools provide features for content moderation and filtering. So you can set up moderation rules and filters to automatically detect and remove inappropriate or harmful content posted on social media channels. This helps in maintaining a safer and more secure environment for engagement and protects the organization's reputation.

  • Risk detection and monitoring

Sprinklr platform showing how to set social media alerts to detect risk proactively

You can leverage social listening capabilities to monitor social media conversations in real time. By using predefined rules and advanced keyword monitoring, organizations can identify potential security threats, mentions of sensitive information or malicious activities related to their brand. This early detection helps promptly address any security concerns and take appropriate actions. 

  • Compliance and governance

 Sprinklr platform showing how to  automate workflows for maximum compliance and governance

You can implement policies and workflows to ensure adherence to industry regulations and internal guidelines. This helps in maintaining data privacy, security and appropriate content usage across social media channels.

  • Collaboration and communication

Sprinklr platform showing how users can send messages and collaborate

With its collaborative features, it facilitates secure communication and coordination among team members responsible for social media management. By keeping all communication within a centralized platform, organizations can reduce the risk of information leakage or unauthorized sharing of sensitive data.

Note: A social media management tool provides functionalities that indirectly contribute to social media security. With centralized account management, access control, content moderation, risk monitoring, compliance support and secure collaboration, it helps organizations maintain a safer and more secure social media presence.

Final thoughts

In today's digital landscape, social media security holds immense significance. It serves as a crucial shield, safeguarding personal and business data, protecting online reputation and warding off cyber threats. 
 
Prioritizing social media security is essential to mitigate risks and maintain trust in our interconnected digital world.

Discover more by getting a hands-on experience with our free trial.

Find out how Sprinklr helps businesses deliver a premium experience on 13+ channels, using foundational AI so you can listen, route, resolve, and measure — across the customer experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Social media security protects individuals and businesses from risks and threats on social media platforms. It involves safeguarding personal information, preventing unauthorized access, preserving online reputation and mitigating cyber attacks. Strategies include strong passwords, privacy settings, caution against phishing and utilizing platform security features. Social media security is crucial for a safe online presence in the digital age.

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