By Belinda Sieben

Brands spend a lot of time, effort and money building a strong social presence and positive online image. However, if something goes wrong on social media or it isn’t managed correctly then all this work can be undone in a flash.

The social media world faces many security challenges including account sprawling (hackers copy you’re account), governance (not knowing who has what access to your accounts) and malicious attacks.

If this happens, it can impact customer perception, change trust, drain resources, impact market share, increase costs and cause revenue loss. Not what you want!

Here are some handy hints to help secure your social media accounts and keep your brand safe.

Centralise social channels and accounts

  • Take inventory of official and unofficial profiles representing your brand
  • Check that anything that represents your brand is within your brand guidelines
  • Delete any unnecessary accounts and remove permissions to them
  • Consolidate all your accounts onto a social media management platform i.e. Hootsuite, Buffer

Protect passwords

  • Ensure your accounts have strong, complex passwords to reduce the chance of unauthorised users gaining access
  • Regularly change and update passwords to boost security
  • Use multiple levels of authorisation for logging into your accounts
  • Use a password management tool for password generation and sharing
  • Limit access to only a few employees to give you greater control over the safety of your account

Message approval workflows and permissions

  • Set permission levels to match organisation hierarchy
  • Establish message approval workflow which allows people to submit, review and approve or reject messages
  • Always have two-step approvals to minimise employee error
  • Ensure final message publishing lives with your trusted account holder

Situational simulation

  • Develop a crisis plan that outlines how to react quickly and effectively in a crisis i.e. everything documented in a central place
  • Do a practice run of a crisis plan so you’re prepared as you never know when a problem might arise
  • Simulations allow you to teach staff how to respond appropriately and effectively in a controlled environment

Educate and train employees

  • Educate all employees on social media best practises and the potential dangers of misusing various social channels
  • Keep an eye on how employees are using social channels to minimise the chance of any negative effects they could have on the brand
  • Have employees undertake training programs such as social product training, security policy training or clicking with caution
  • Remember it is not just one person’s job or a departments job to manage social, it’s a team effort