Social media and all its apps and features have more than just made an impact in our lives. Social media has revolutionized the way we use the internet and browse through the web. It has integrated itself in the very fiber of all our online activities—from staying informed to staying connected, from browsing to performing our tasks, the effect of Social media in this generation is undeniable. In a study made regarding teenagers, 95% of US teenagers (ages 13 to 17) claim that they have access to a mobile device and that 45% of them claim to be online on a daily basis. It seems that age plays a big part in what type of platform or application to choose for your social media needs. Teenagers in the US mostly prefer using Instagram and Snapchat, while adults still prefer Facebook. But there is one glaring similarity regardless of age. All generation seems to enjoy YouTube the most, with 85% of US teenagers and 73% of US adults using it constantly.
The reasons why we use social media may be varied, but how we understand it plays a big part in how we use it. Some people use social media because they see it as a way to reach a broad audience. While some see it as a way to connect with people, especially with their loved ones. Others see it as a way to directly reach their audience. The term audience may refer to your beloved fans and followers that anticipate your next post or may apply to your clients and customers that are waiting for an update regarding your company’s products or services.
Some perceive social media as a means to make fresh content that may have the possibility of becoming viral. While some see social media as a way to build their personal or corporate brand, which can lead to paid advertising services as the brand gets more influential, gaining greater domain authority. And then, for some, their social media presence has been integrated into the workplace. These are just some ways in which social media presence impacts daily life.
Our social media presence represents us, our brand, and our identity, which is why we need to guard it. Should it be compromised by a malicious attack or threat, then this endangers you as an individual or your company as an organizational entity. Here are some recommendations on how you can protect your social media presence.
Limit access to social media accounts
Most security breaches in companies were not made by hackers but by an erroneous entry by a co-worker or employee on their social media site. Limiting access to an account that can affect your brand or identity is a security protocol that needs attention.
Train on social media best practices
Training is needed for us to understand the best practices in social media etiquette and apply it in all our postings, even whenever we comment or connect with our audience.
Establish a good foundational policy for social media
Whether you are part of a small team of friends maintaining an account or you belong to a big company, establishing a good foundation of rules to follow should be laid down and discussed before launching your social media accounts. The policy may include the following:
- List of persons authorized to do specific tasks in maintaining the account.
- List of persons that should handle problems.
- Set of rules for proper branding representation that is more than just the company logo or color theme, but what the company stands for and how your brand will be represented through posts.
- How often to keep and change passwords.
- Guidelines needed for confidentiality and copyright.
Set up a two-step login verification and authentication as an added layer of security
Having an excellent and complicated password is not enough for today’s age. We need an added layer of protection for our accounts. The first step of the login is the verification using the password you have set. You will then be asked to provide an authentication code that will be sent to your phone number or to an email address you have set. The system sent will be specific for a device with a particular phone number. The code also expires after a few minutes when not used, which will hinder malicious intent as the time is lessened to access either the phone or code.
Disable metadata on your photos
Another layer of protection may come from the details hidden in your photos. Geo-tagging is a process of adding geographical location to the metadata present in your photos. Disable this feature when posting your pictures on your social media accounts to hinder malicious intent in gathering your precise location or other information.
Change your settings for photo tagging
Being able to tag photos that you are a part of is a great feature. But what if people tagged your name or your company’s name in pictures that you do not approve of or against the type of identity or brand that you represent. Do not rely on the application to verify if it’s you in the picture. To safeguard against this, change the setting for photo tagging to include only your approval in making tags.
Avoid public wifi and never tag “remember me” or “keep me connected” on public wifi
Public WIFI is an unsecured connection. Since it does not need authentication for anyone, those who may have malicious intent can access any person’s data while they are connected to the unsecured network.
It is worsened when you click “Remember Me” and “Keep Me Connected” within that network, which makes it easier to access your social media accounts as attackers can continue your internet session. Even if you are a frequent patron or customer of a business establishment, actively protect yourself and your identity by clearing your login information and browsing history.
Avoid posting personal identifiable information
Ever got excited over getting your first driver’s license, passport, or boarding pass? In your excitement, you may have taken a picture of it and posted it online. Like a moth to a flame, this invites identity thieves to access your account and exploit your data. Any identifiable personal information can be gathered and used for any transaction by an attacker with enough know-how and use it for other means, most common of which is credit card fraud or identity theft. The information you post may be used against you, so attackers can steal your data to answer security questions, access your financial records, and the like.
Do a regular routine of reviewing your account
Your social media account is an expression of who you are, a representation of your brand and identity. There are several cyberattacks on social media accounts wherein hackers inject malicious posts to damage your account and your brand. A regular review of your site is an excellent protocol to make sure that no intrusion has occurred. It’s a good security check of the integrity of your account.
Engage in social media listening
Regularly reviewing your account is a good practice, but go further by being competent in social media listening. Be on the lookout for dummy accounts that have the same name as your account or your company’s account. You may even have accounts on different social media applications and not all are being used and updated regularly. Check the accounts you don’t use often, and inspect if all content is official. These accounts, whether you update them often or not, still represents you and your brand or company. Make sure they align to your brand’s identity and check for any unofficial and malicious intrusion.
These are just some of the precautions and recommendations to help in protecting your social media presence. The dynamics for your site and how to maintain changes as your followers and subscribers grow. You will also have to adjust to the growth of your website. Regularly update your content and keep both your social media app and website fresh. Don’t shy away from adding more people to handle your social media accounts—like social media managers, SEO managers, graphic artists, writers, and the like—if you see the need to expand your social media and website reach and output. Keeping your social media presence should remain a priority. Be active in safeguarding your identity and the brand that you and your company have labored to establish.
John is an Opera Singer by profession, and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the CEO of MegaMedia Internet Advertising Inc., and the Managing Director of Tech-Hacker. John is also the current SEO Manager of Softivire New Zealand and Softvire Australia – the leading software ecommerce company in Australia.