6 Ways To Protect Your Social Media Business Accounts From Hackers

By Holly Zink

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Social media encompasses a large portion of promoting a small business. The work a business has put into their social media accounts could be gone in an instant if their accounts get hacked. This can become a nightmare, especially if inappropriate content is being posted. With this, businesses may have to delete their social accounts altogether and start from scratch.

What business would want this? None. There are plenty of tactics a business could implement to protect their social media accounts and prevent hackers getting access to them. Here are 6 social media safety tips every business should swear by.

1) Have Secure Login Information

When you create social media accounts, it’s essential that your account login information is strong, secure, and backed up.

Have Strong Account Passwords

With ALL of your social media accounts, make sure your passwords are strong. If your password is not strong, you are begging to get hacked.

Here are a few password guidelines that should be applied when creating your passwords:

  • 12 - 16 characters long
  • Random combinations of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation.
  • Passwords should have no relation to the business like location, zip code, etc.
  • Don’t use the same password twice for different social media accounts.
  • Example of a Strong Password: A]'Ceuag7Pxu8m_}

As long as you follow these simple password guidelines, you have a better chance of being protected. An easy way to come up with a strong and secure password is by using a password generator like PasswordGenerator.net.

Keep Your Login Information Records Secure

It’s common practice to keep records of your business’s social media account login information. However, where these records are kept is another concern. Make sure your records are kept in a secure place. For example, instead of using Google Drive, use a password protected computer folder to store your information. To be safe, you can also backup your records on an external hard drive or USB so you have an extra copy.

 

2) Use Private Wi-Fi Networks

When managing your business social media channels or doing work in general, ALWAYS use a private Wi-Fi network. Private Wi-Fi systems are always password protected. Most small businesses nowadays invest in their own Wi-Fi to have that extra layer of security.

Why Can’t I Just Use Public Wi-Fi?

We all want to save a buck, but it’s not worth the risk using public Wi-Fi versus private Wi-Fi. There are multiple dangers associated with using public Wi-Fi which many are not aware of. One threat all businesses should be aware of are hackers creating fake Wi-Fi networks to steal user’s information.

For example, if you are at a Starbucks, a hacker could create a Wi-Fi network called “Starbucks Guest.” Because the brand name is the title, you wouldn’t second guess that it is a fake Wi-Fi connection. As soon as you join, your information and work are accessible to the hackers.

Public Wi-Fi could expose your computer to malware and viruses. The safest thing you could do to protect it is to install antivirus software on your computer or laptop.

Bottom Line: Don’t allow your business devices to be used on public Wi-Fi. Have a private office Wi-Fi network or provide your employees with portable private Wi-Fi hotspots.

 

3) Only Friend/Follow Verified and Legitimate Profiles

When you are focusing on what people or businesses to follow/friend, make sure they are legitimate. Most social media channels have a way of showing you if an account is legitimate and verified. For example, below is a search I did on Twitter for people using the keyword, “small business.” The accounts that have a blue check mark next to their name are verified accounts like Google Small Biz, 10K Small Businesses, Entrepreneur, Office Small Biz, and Inc.  


Twitter Small Business Search

 

Be wary of social media users who aren’t verified and follower requests from people you don’t know. Do your research before clicking “Accept.” You can do a quick online search of the person to make sure they are who they say they are. Many hackers create fake accounts that look real to lure people in so they can steal your information. By knowing who you are following, you will lessen the risk of your accounts getting hacked.

 

4) Limit Who Has Access To Your Social Accounts

It’s good social media practice to limit the number of employees who have access to your online business accounts. You don’t want too many employees having access to them, as it could cause confusion as to who is posting what and accessing the accounts on what devices. With this, it helps prevent your social accounts from getting hacking through emails, cell phones, and/or computers. By following this common practice and not having too many people with social access, it limits your vulnerability to becoming hacked from outside sources.

 

5) Secure Your Business Computers

Any small business should make sure they do what they can to protect their business and social media accounts from hackers. These are two ways to accomplish this.

Install Antivirus Software

To prevent hackers and viruses from getting access to your accounts and other business information, install antivirus software on your office computers. This is common practice for anyone! There are many software programs that you can choose from, such as BullGuard and Norton. Set these programs to automatically scan your computer so you don’t have to constantly worry about doing it yourself.

Limit Site Access

Another way to secure your office computers is by blocking access to certain sites that have been known to have viruses on them. This could include sketchy video streaming sites and free music download sites. Ultimately, it’s up the small business owner to decide what sites should be blocked.

 

6) Don’t Click On Suspicious Links

This tip is essential to follow! Before clicking on a social media or email link, take a second look at it! Not every link posted on social platforms is safe. Most are created to catch your eye so you immediately click on it.

Some ways you can spot a suspicious link include:

  • Clickbait wording and content is used
  • Quizzes about popular topics like Game of Thrones
  • Sweepstakes and contest links from non-verified or non-official accounts

 

These type of links could lead to viruses and malware or hackers gaining access to your information. Even though we wish everyone on social media has the best of intentions, most do not.

By following these tips, tactics, and social media practices, you’ve taken the first step in preventing hackers from accessing your business social media accounts. Along with these methods, always make sure you know what your employees are up to at work on their devices. The major key to any small business is making sure that both business and customer information is protected.

 

About the Author:

Holly Zink is a Digital Marketing Project Manager for Digital Addicts and Blog Administrator for multiple technology-related sites. She often writes about the latest technology updates and news, plus provides marketing tips for businesses. Visit her blog at www.safeguarde.com for more tips on helping your small business thrive.

 

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