Social Media Security: Best Practices for Businesses

In 2020, U.S. adults spent 15% more time consuming digital media than in 2019. Accordingly, millions of businesses have joined social media to better connect with their clients.

Though using social media for business communications increases brand engagement and sales, it also increases security risks. In the past 12 months, 59% of organizations had a “material or significant incident.” Thus, social media security is more important than ever. 

Here are 5 practices that will help keep your business’s social media accounts secure:

1 – Train Staff to Follow a Customized Social Media Security Policy

To avoid security threats, negative PR, and litigation, businesses on –or planning to joinsocial media should implement guidelines for how employees post content and respond to security concerns. 

Your social media policy should include:

  1. Which team members are responsible for each social media account
  2. Brand guidelines for how to talk about your company on social media
  3. Rules related to confidentiality and personal social media use
  4. A list of social media activities to avoid
  5. Confidentiality and copyright guidelines
  6. How to create an effective password and how often to change passwords
  7. Expectations for keeping software and devices updated
  8. How to identify and avoid security threats
  9. Who to notify and how to respond if a social media security concern arises

Your policies should be easy to comprehend; however, employees should be trained on how to follow the written guidelines. Training sessions will provide an opportunity to review the latest social media threats, and discuss potential policy updates. They will also enable employees to engage with and inquire about the policies, and understand their relevance to business security. Helping employees understand best practices will equip your team to confidently and effectively use social media.

2 – Choose a Social Media Team Leader

An efficient way to mitigate security risks is by assigning a senior leader on your team’s social media marketing team, to carefully monitor your social media presence. If any mistakes are made on social media, this person will help initiate the appropriate response to prevent the company from experiencing security, PR, or litigation risks. 

The Social Media Team Leader should own your social media policy, determine who has access to your social accounts, monitor your brand’s social presence, and determine who has publishing access. They should perform research and work with IT professionals to protect against potential security breaches. 

3 – Limit Access & Posting Rights

Not everyone working on social media messaging, post creation, or customer service needs to know the password to your social accounts or have the ability to post on them. And, social media planning software enables employees and contractors to draft messages and posts, which can be approved by the Social Media Team Leader. Thus, limiting access and posting rights to a few key managers is one of the most straightforward ways to reduce the potential for human error, and mitigate security risks. 

4 – Carefully Monitor Social Media Activity

All social media channels, regardless of whether or not they are active, should be regularly monitored. 

You can ensure that all posts on your accounts are legitimate by cross-referencing them against your content calendar. Posts that deviate from your content calendar may be the result of human error, or a sign that someone has gained access to one of your accounts, and may post malicious content. 

You should also monitor for imposter accounts, inappropriate mentions of your brand by employees, clients, or partners, and negative conversations about your business. 

5 – Stay Up-to-Date on New Social Media Security Issues

Hackers are constantly developing scams and viruses that compromise social media security. To prevent your business from falling victim to these threats, you should regularly audit your social media security measures.

For example, your business should routinely check who has access to your social media management platform and social accounts. It is important that all former employees have had their access revoked, and access levels reflect your employees’ current positions within the company. Additionally, social media companies routinely update their privacy settings. Your business should perform quarterly reviews of its social network privacy settings to ensure they align with your current needs. 

As new social media networks gain popularity, security best practices change and new threats emerge. Your social media policy should evolve to reflect these changes. Quarterly reviews will ensure your document remains useful, and preserve the safety of your social accounts. 

It’s also important to monitor current social media security threats. While mainstream news outlets will report major cyberattacks, the most valuable way to stay up-to-date on current threats is by developing an ongoing relationship with IT professionals, who can help you identify which threats are most pertinent to your business. Contact ASG for more information on how to establish a social media security policy, and protect your business’s social media accounts.