Building social media security awareness at work may not be as exciting as, say, developing TikTok engagement strategies. But it’s still a critical function for social teams at organizations of all sizes.
That’s because social media threats don’t just impact your brand’s social accounts. If they aren’t handled, security risks can infiltrate an entire organization. They can even threaten the safety of your company and customers.
To protect your brand while maintaining your audience’s trust, you need to raise social media security awareness.
In this article, we’ll review some common security risks on social media. We also discuss best practices and ways to promote workplace social media security awareness.
Bonus: Get a free, customizable social media policy template to quickly and easily create guidelines for your company and employees.
What are common security risks on social media?
When you’re active online, you expose yourself to a range of security risks — from phishing attacks to stolen passwords. Having active social media accounts poses similar risks.
These security risks become amplified when you’re responsible for managing multiple accounts, training employees, and maintaining your brand’s online reputation.
Here are some common cyber security risks on social media:
Malware is a type of malicious software. It infiltrates a server, network, or computer and is intended to cause harm. If your brand’s social accounts get infiltrated by malware, you risk exposing the entire organization to the virus.
When a hacker poses as a reputable business or source in order to solicit data, information, or money, it’s called “phishing.” Phishing attacks often promise a reward in exchange for personal information or purchase.
From catfishing to fake profiles, identity theft is another common risk for businesses on social media. Creating a fake profile using your brand name or likeness harms your reputation. It can also put your followers at risk. For example, the fake account could run a giveaway to collect followers’ information.
A data breach is when sensitive data about your company, employees, or customers is compromised by an unauthorized source.
Similar to identity theft, there are also scam ads on social media. In these scams, accounts make fake claims to trick customers into giving them money or information. The TV show ‘Shark Tank’ recently shared a PSA warning its viewers about social media ads from businesses making false claims:
If any of the above risks occur at your company, it could greatly damage the brand’s reputation. Especially if customer data or confidential information is exposed. Your customers’ trust in your brand would diminish. Regaining that trust would take a lot of effort and time.
While these risks sound daunting, don’t let them scare your company from being active on social media. You can prevent and mitigate these risks. You just need the right protocols, policies, and training.
How to improve social media security awareness for your organization
The role of social media security doesn’t fall solely on the social team. Every member of the organization plays a role in protecting company, employee, and customer information.
It’s your responsibility to ensure everyone in your organization is aware of the risks associated with social media. They should also be aware of the protocols to keep the company and sensitive data safe.
Here are a few ways for your social team to improve social media security awareness at work.
1. Create a social media policy
Companies and social teams should encourage their employees to discuss the company on social media. After all, employee advocacy is a great way to extend your reach on social. But you need a good social media policy to ensure everyone stays safe online.
That’s why creating a social media policy is the first step towards improving social media security awareness. This policy should include guidelines and protocols for employees when using social media.
A social media policy is designed to protect the business and its employees by ensuring everyone is compliant. Outline what employees can and cannot share on social media. Provide guidelines for people working with the company’s social accounts.
Collaborate with your legal, PR, and IT teams to create a comprehensive social media policy. It should cover all aspects of security, including compliance, cyber threats, and confidentiality.
When multiple departments are involved in creating your policy, you can be sure that you’re accounting for every potential risk.
2. Educate your employees
The ultimate responsibility for social media security often falls on the social team. But other employees also play a major role too. To some extent, we’re all responsible for making sure the company is protected.
Social media security awareness begins when new employees onboard at the company. Make sure they’re aware of the social media policy and that it’s clear to follow.
But the awareness shouldn’t end there — after all, social media security training is an ongoing effort.
The social team can host regular training sessions to ensure employees stay current. These sessions should cover the company’s social media guidelines and the latest risks of social media.
Share important platform updates, new or developing risks, and reminders about your social media policy. During your training session, open the line of communication. Make sure people feel comfortable asking questions about social media security risks.
3. Enable two-factor authentication
Using two-factor authentication to log into online accounts is commonplace at this point. You use two-factor authentication for both personal and professional accounts. This method provides an extra layer of security, so using it for your business’s social media accounts makes sense.
Two-factor authentication isn’t just for your company’s social accounts. You can also enable it for any external tools that are connected to your social accounts.
Encourage employees to use two-factor authentication for their personal accounts. This is especially important if they plan to share anything related to the company.
4. Use a tool to control access to your accounts
It doesn’t matter how big or small your team is. You still need to be careful about who has access to your company’s social media accounts.
For example, let’s say you give someone full admin access to your company’s Facebook Page. The admin role can control who else has access and can even remove people from accessing the page.
If the person with full admin access leaves the organization, it can quickly become a security issue. Your team may even be locked out of the account. If you want to regain access, you’ll have to work with the platform to sort things out.
You can avoid security and access issues by using a social media management tool (like Hootsuite). This prevents people from having direct access to your social media accounts. A tool can create an additional protective layer between your business and those helping to run the accounts.
5. Monitor your social accounts
Social listening is a critical practice that applies to many functions of the social team, including security. When it comes to security, use social listening to monitor for suspicious activity. If you want a quick tutorial on social listening, follow the steps in the video below:
Look out for unusual log-in attempts, suspicious links in your inbox, or fake accounts. If anything seems out of place or fishy, flag it and alert the rest of your team. Even if it ends up being a false alarm, it’s better to be safe than risk compromising your data or brand reputation.
For creators, Meta is taking additional action to help protect your identity through Meta Verified. The subscription includes a verified badge that authenticates your account. Verified also includes additional account monitoring and protection.
Social media security awareness FAQs
What are security issues in social media?
Security issues on social media are similar to cybersecurity threats. They include data breaches, malware or phishing, fake accounts, and scam ads.
Why is security important in social media?
Social media security helps protect your business, employees, and customers from cyber threats. It’s also important to prevent risks that can harm your brand’s reputation.
How do you ensure security in social media?
There are a few best practices to help ensure security on social media for your business. Start with a clear social media policy, two-factor authentication, ongoing employee training, and continuous monitoring.
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