“Social” Security for Small Businesses

Social media marketing is the new normal for small and large businesses alike, and these accounts have become prime targets for hackers. Once they’ve gained access to your account, hackers might post something objectionable and damage your reputation, or access financial information stored in your account profile. So it’s vital to keep these accounts secure.

Here are several ways you can help safeguard your social media account – and most of them don’t cost a thing.

1. Choose a secure password

According to Small Business Trends, a password is harder for hacking systems to figure out when it involves a complete phrase or a variety of numbers, symbols and letters in both upper and lower case.

Several online tools are available to help gauge a password’s security. For example, the website “How Secure Is My Password?” tells you how long it would take for a hacker to figure out a password you type into the site. A one-word password like "cookies!" would only take 33 minutes to figure out, whereas the phrase "Ilovesmallbusiness" would take 233 million years. Try to find a password that would take a long time to hack, but make sure you change it every few months. You’ll also need a different password for every account you manage. Test your password’s strength here at How Secure Is My Password?

2. Set up privacy settings

According to Staples' guide to small business social media security, your social media platform's default privacy setting should provide ample protection. But make sure you visit the settings page on each of your accounts and choose the highest possible privacy settings.

3. Be careful what you click on

Boom Social, a social media marketing firm, explains that hackers can use links to gain access to your social media accounts. If a link seems at all suspicious – maybe it’s not in the typical writing voice of the friend who posted it, or maybe the URL is shorter than normal – don't click on it. It’s not worth the risk.

4. Be mindful when in public

Chances are your social media accounts are always open on your laptop and cell phone. So have you thought about what happens if your device gets stolen? According to Boom Social, this is why keeping your devices password protected is absolutely necessary. Thieves can't do much with a stolen device if they can't get past the login screen. You should also be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi, as it is possible to hack into your device this way. Free browser extensions are available to help make sure your public Wi-Fi connection is secure.

5. Invest in protection

Entrepreneur recommends purchasing antivirus protection and hiring a consultant to make sure you are doing everything right. In addition, be sure to immediately install updates to your computer’s operating system whenever they become available.

The hacking of your social media account could lead to financial loss and/or a damaged reputation. It’s vital you do everything in your power to stop hackers from getting their hands on your company’s private information.