More often we hear stories about local businesses becoming the victims of hackers, losing access to their business’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media accounts. Stolen accounts can severely damage any business’s reputation and effectively limit its ability to communicate with customers. The worst part is that if your account is hacked, customer support can do little to help, and it normally takes months to get access restored, if you can get it back at all.
Being proactive in defending your social media accounts is essential in the current digital environment, and there are several steps all businesses should take to secure their social media accounts.
- Enable 2-Factor Authentication Immediately – Go into your account (Facebook for example) and open your settings. Under Security or Login Information, you can set up 2-factor authentication. This feature will send you a text message with a code whenever you log into your account or if anyone else tries to log in, blocking the login until the correct code is entered. Sick and tired of text messages (which can be cumbersome)? Try an authenticator app, like Google Authenticator. This app will display the same type of code and can be used for multiple platforms, so when you log in, open the app and enter the code.
- See Who Has Access To Your Pages & Accounts – In your account settings, admins can add or remove people as needed. If you see someone you don’t know, remove them. Remember that your agency, social media manager, and others need access to run campaigns or post updates on your behalf.
- Update Your Passwords To Ensure They Are Secure – Use strong passwords and make sure they’re different between platforms. Normally you should include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and even symbols to make passwords harder to guess. [something about password generators?]
- Make Sure Your Personal Information Is Up To Date – Your email, phone number, and other personal information should always be current. If something goes wrong this information will help regain access to your account.
- Be Cautious with Emails From Social Platforms – One of the most common ways social media accounts are hacked is through phishing emails. These may come to your inbox and claim your account violates the rules, a payment method is having an issue or any number of false issues asking you to log in and fix. In most cases, these links are there to steal your password. Any time you get an email about a social media platform, see who sent it. For example, Facebook will only email you from a facebook.com or fb.co email handle. Anything else should be marked as spam and reported. Also, if you are curious about that issue, log into your account in another browser, and if it’s legit, you’ll find a notification or message there.
- Report Suspicious Activity – This goes without saying. Anytime you think you have a phishing attempt, report it. Almost all social media platforms have an email address where you can send this information
While these actions can’t guarantee your accounts won’t be stolen, it does make a hack more difficult and, thus, far less likely. Vigilance in the current social media environment is essential to keeping your brand secure.