Over the past few years, social media has rapidly become one of the primary ways businesses market themselves to customers. As the majority of consumers are social media users today, this makes sense. However, for all the many benefits that come from social media marketing, it doesn’t come without its risks.
Every year, social media cybercrimes account for $3.25 billion in global annual revenue with nearly 30 corporate takeover attempts per organization per year, which rounds out to about 3 hacking attempts per month.
This is not to scare your business off from using social media, as the benefits typically do outweigh the risks. However, it does point to an obvious need for better risk management when it comes to social media usage to enhance the security of your business.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Despite the risks, there is no denying the necessity of social media marketing in today’s digital landscape of tech-savvy customers. If you want to reach consumers, you simply must have a social media presence to attract and engage them.
Aside from reaching your target audience, there are a wealth of benefits that come from utilizing social media as a business:
- Social media platforms offer real-time updates to help companies stay on top of the latest trends.
- Analyzing social media activity can provide businesses with a more comprehensive understanding of what their competitors or doing and what consumers are buying into.
- Engaging with users on social media enables brands to provide more efficient and satisfactory customer service experiences.
- Through social media, brands can leverage referral and word-of-mouth traffic through influencer marketing.
- Curating relevant content on social media helps companies appeal to wider audiences and become more relatable.
- There are numerous networking and partnership opportunities that can come out of social media marketing.
- Social media marketing is less expensive when compared to more conventional marketing and advertising options.
- Social media is one of the best ways for companies to highlight their brand and create brand awareness.
While it can take time for companies to start seeing some of these benefits, it is well worth it to stick with them. Social media usage is only likely to increase as we move forward, so brands must start learning how to navigate social media marketing now if they haven’t already.
That said, the security aspect of social media should be prioritized just as much as the marketing side. If you jdon’t implement any sort of social media risk management program, you could run into some serious cybersecurity issues that could set you back.
Social Media Security Risks
One of the biggest social media mistakes you can make today as a business is not having a social media cybersecurity plan in place. Social media cyber attacks are on the rise and they will likely get worse as cybercriminals get smarter and more clever with their attacks.
Facebook, for example, which is now called Meta, is considered a gold mine for criminals looking to enact phishing scams on small businesses. These cybercriminals will essentially lock business owners out of their accounts and hold them for ransom, demanding thousands of dollars in payment before releasing access back to the owners.
This is not to say that utilizing Facebook is out of the question. Quite the opposite, as Facebook marketing is still incredibly lucrative and beneficial for brands. However, it does mean that when you are setting up your Facebook business page or any other social media accounts, bolstering your accounts with security measures should take top priority.
When creating your social media accounts or when going back into your accounts to finally address security issues, these are the most common social media security threats to keep in mind:
- Phishing attacks;
- Ransomware attacks;
- Brand impersonation;
- Malware attacks;
- Password theft;
- Vulnerable third-party applications;
- Data hacks;
- Mobile device attacks.
As a business, the first step toward protecting yourself and your customers is knowing what threats or risks you face. Once you understand all the ways that you are vulnerable, then you can start implementing a plan to mitigate those risks and minimize the impact if a hacker does get through.
How to Mitigate Cybersecurity Threats and Protect Your Business
Below are some best practices when establishing a social media risk management program:
- Create a social media policy with clear rules and guidelines for all employees to follow.
- Enable multi-factor authentication and do not reuse passwords.
- Hold regular meetings or training sessions to educate your staff on social media security awareness.
- Limit who has access to accounts and posting to prevent data breaches.
- Regularly check and update security settings across all platforms.
- Utilize monitoring software to keep an eye on threats and receive alerts.
- Keep an eye out for accounts that are impersonating your brand.
- Put someone (or more than one someone) in charge of social media security.
While it might seem like a lot of work at first, having a thorough social media security plan in place can save you so much time and money down the road. Social media cyberattacks can result in thousands of dollars lost and hours lost while you attempt to recover your accounts or data that was stolen. So do your business and your customers a favor, and make social media security a top priority — you’ll thank yourself for it later.