Every person and their business is on social media these days, and so they should be! Social media is a powerful business tool with endless benefits. But, the internet being what it is, social media safety threats are rife in our digital age. Make sure your brand has an airtight plan for how your organization and employees use social media. This constantly-evolving document will help to mitigate any safety and security risks that your brand may face. Here are our top 6 social media safety tips for business.
1. Create a policy specifically for social media
Just like you may have policy and process documents for everything from maternity leave to managing conflict, your social media needs one too. This will ensure that everyone working on your accounts are doing so responsibly and with your brand identity, values and ethics front of mind. This will extend to how your employees post about the business both professionally and in a personal capacity. With a policy in place, your business will be safe from social media security threats as well as any bad PR or legal issues that may surface.
Make sure your social media policy includes:
- Guidelines on how to speak as, and about, your company online.
- Which departments and individual employees have login access to your social media accounts.
- What the passwords are and how often they must be changed (we recommend four times a year or when an individual who has access leaves your company).
- How often devices, apps and security settings must be reviewed or updated.
- Any information relating to confidentiality. For example, employees should avoid taking selfies with their computer screens or paperwork visible in the background.
- Information relating to copyright. This could include, for example, how images are credited or music used in videos.
- Who is the first point of call should a social media safety or security risk be detected?
- An actionable step-by-step plan for a security or PR crisis.
- Updated information on data protection policy documents.
It will be worth your while hiring a professional to help you get your social platforms safely set up, as well as advising on what to include in your policy document, depending on your individual needs.
2. Train all your staff
Now that you have your policy in hand, it will be worth your while to run all your employees through it. This will give them the chance to ask questions, make sure they understand what is expected of them and maybe even add little bits and pieces you may not have thought of. A lot of people love their jobs and want to share online. Once they’re familiar with best and safe practices, knowing the risks, they can move forward confidently, posting about their work day on their personal accounts without you having to worry about anything slipping through the cracks. In fact, if done safely, this kind of engagement from your employees can be really good for your company’s reputation.
3. Limit access to accounts and social media data
According to EY’s recent Global Information Survey, a significant number of social media security breaches are internal. While most of this can probably be attributed to human error, you can never be too cautious. Limiting access to all your social media accounts is one of the best ways to keep them nice and secure. If you’re a big business that has a large team working on social media, it doesn’t mean everyone needs to know passwords or have access. Some social media platforms such as Facebook, allow users to create specific roles for different users, with varying degrees of permission. Alternatively, a third party scheduling app can also be used to create a single login point for multiple users. This allows for a safer collaboration and account management.
4. Make sure everything that goes out runs through an approval system
Assign someone who is a trustworthy senior key player at your company to approve anything and everything that goes out on your social media. They will be responsible for ensuring that all of your content is above board, avoiding PR risks.
From there, the person who is posting your content should be your final point of call. In compliance with point 3, while you can have a whole team creating content, you should try to only have one team member posting it. They should be able to spot any typos, errors or lapses in judgement that may have been missed so far. Since only one person will be responsible for making content live, you will know exactly who to go to if anything unapproved gets posted or if you need a post taken down as soon as possible for any reason.
5. Have early warning systems in place
You will also benefit by assigning someone to keep a close and careful watch on all your social media accounts. Unattended accounts are ripe for the picking when it comes to hacking and phishing, so even if you don’t post very often or have created an Instagram account that you haven’t started to manage yet, someone needs to check up on them all every day. From there, they need to cross-reference all live posts with your social media calendar, to ensure that it all lines up. When it comes to a PR crisis or security breach, it is important to react swiftly, as things can spread fast or escalate if left unattended and unaddressed. Empowering your team with procedures and processes means they will be able to react quickly, confidently and be able to resolve any issue in the best way possible.
6. Keep up to date
The online world is changing all the time, and you need to keep up with all the latest platform updates, as well as new and improving security threats. Every quarter, head into the settings and preferences of all your social media platforms (even the inactive ones), making sure that everything is still in place, and adding your preferences to any new settings. You can ask your legal and IT teams for help here.
Next, ensure that whenever there is a personnel change to anything related to social media, you update your policy and list of persons responsible so that you know exactly where to turn should you need anything urgent. And when people leave, always ensure their access is revoked and your passwords are changed.
Lastly, keep an eye on reliable tech news sources. They will keep you up to date on how viruses, hackers and scammers are evolving and what you can do to combat them.
We know that social media is supposed to be fun, entertaining, creative and spontaneous, and a massive policy document with loads of rules might seem counter-productive. In the case of social media, rules are actually freeing, giving your team the space to flex safely with crossing any dangerous lines. Contact us today if you need advice setting up or managing your social media accounts.We’ve got you covered! And if you don’t even know where to start, check out our Social Media Tips for Small Businesses for some inspiration to make moves into the social space.
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