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Why it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your social media accounts

Marketing + Media relations + Social media and digital marketing + Social media management + Content marketing

Earlier this month, the Stornoway Gazette found itself at the centre of an embarrassing social media storm.

The official Twitter and Facebook accounts posted a barrage of insults aimed at both itself and the editor, accusing the publication of ‘once being a proud broadsheet’ but now being ‘a pretty dire newspaper all round’.

By the time bosses finally regained control of the hijacked accounts and deleted the offending messages, the damage had been done and the posts had gone viral, being shared thousands of times in a matter of minutes.

Attacks like the one the Stornoway Gazette suffered, not to mention HMV’s infamous employee takeover two years ago, can destroy a company’s credibility and online reputation.

While in these instances it was people from within the companies who were culpable, in the last year alone we have seen large media organisations including The Guardian, Reuters, The Associated Press and even the White House being hacked.

However, the worst part of it all is that none of it had to happen. By learning from the mistakes in these examples, we can find ways to hack-proof our social media accounts to keep them safe and protect your brand.

So what are they?

Social media policy

Corporate protocol simply hasn’t kept pace with the speed and immediacy of social media. Social media has gone from a strictly social platform to now being discussed in the boardrooms at the world’s largest companies. Therefore, having a social media policy in place sets out in writing what is regarded as acceptable behaviour and what is or isn’t acceptable to say.

Account management

By centralising social media channels on a platform such as Hootsuite, it’s far easier to consolidate accounts in to a single social media management system. This makes monitoring and account management far more secure and if the Stornoway Gazette had employed a community management approach, the offending tweets may never have seen the light of day.

Follow privacy guidance

Technology is only as useful as the people using it, so employees need to be aware of the latest developments on social media platforms concerning privacy and security. Platforms are constantly coming up with new ways to safeguard accounts and if you’re responsible for your company’s social media, you’ll need to be aware of policy changes that make hacking virtually impossible.

Ensure your passwords are bulletproof

The only thing standing between your company’s social media accounts and potential hackers are passwords. Situations such as the ones illustrated above highlight the dangers of using weak passwords in corporate environments. Ways to ensure your passwords are watertight include replacing letters with symbols, avoiding using personal information and never using the same password for multiple accounts.

Do you need help ensuring your social media accounts are safe?

What the Stornoway Gazette incident has taught us is that as social media continues to play an increasingly important role in a brand’s public perception, safeguarding accounts is of paramount importance.

Talk to us today to find out how we can help you with a social media audit.

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