Wanneroo Business Association is seeing a substantial increase in local businesses losing access to their social media business accounts, specifically Facebook and Instagram. This includes situations where businesses have lost the accounts completely, leaving them to build accounts up from scratch.
If you were to lose access to your business Facebook page or Instagram account, and lose all your followers, where would it leave your business? Aside from the obvious added stress and the additional workload of attempting to restore the account, this also acts as a reminder that you need to consider a variety of communication platforms to promote your business, and highlights the risk of being reliant on one marketing channel.
Before we share some things you can do to minimise the risk to your business social media accounts, let’s look at the risks and how they can affect your business.
Human error – As much as we like to think we’re perfect, we’re not, it’s human nature to make mistakes. Social media is fast-paced and with the added stresses of life, it’s too easy to accidentally click on a wrong link, which has the potential to cause a great deal of damage.
Unattended social media accounts – Not reserving your preferred business handle across all social media platforms also puts you at higher risk. Not only does it make it more difficult for customers to find you, but it gives people the chance to make accounts on your behalf, or hijack your brand name.
Phishing attacks and scams – We all know scams are a threat online. The goal of the scammers is to try and get you to share your password, private information or bank details with them, often through fake forms or requests. Once they have this they can access your account, and may even hold it to ransome!
Imposter accounts – You can set up a social media account in seconds, meaning it’s relatively easy for anyone to create fake accounts pretending to be you or your business. Whilst Facebook and Instagram have ways to report accounts, this can take a long time and can be extremely frustrating.
Malware attacks and hacks – Similar to scams, hackers are up there with one of the most common and frustrating social media risks. If someone manages to gain access to your business profiles they can remove your access and take over your posts, damaging your business brand and reputation.
Privacy settings – Easy to find in account settings, some business owners are unaware what privacy settings they have for their business and personal social media accounts. If not checked regularly, social media accounts can be left vulnerable, especially as platforms often release additional security and privacy settings.
Okay, so now we have scared you, let’s look at some of the things you can check, or do, to improve the security of your business social media accounts.
1. Use two-factor authentication – Although still not 100% secure, two-factor authentication adds a second layer of security on top of your password, typically in the fashion of a code sent to a device you own, a mobile number or email address. You will find this in the security settings of your social media accounts, and it is easy to enable.
2. Check your account security settings – Social media companies are developing additional security and updating their settings regularly, and they often introduce new features to give you more control over your account security. Some updates may modify your previous privacy settings, so it’s good practice to review your social media account privacy and security settings regularly.
3. Use strong passwords and keep them secure – If you use the same password for eveything, or have a ‘weak’ password this can leave you vulnerable to hackers. If a hacker cracks your password, they can gain access to your social media accounts, bank accounts, emails and other sensitive accounts that hold your confidential, personal data. For more tips on setting a suitable password, click here to visit Facebook’s recommendations.
4. Social media management platforms – If you use a third party scheduling tool to manage your social media accounts, ensure that they are taking the security of your accounts seriously too. Read up on what they are doing to keep your accounts safe, and check out what tips they might have for additional security measures.
5. Delete old and unused accounts – If you stop using a social media account, app, platform or website, it’s a good idea to deactivate or delete them. Having too many digital accounts raises your risk of data being misused or stolen.
6. Set up a dedicated social media email address – Think about creating a custom email account for social media, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, especially if you have employees managing social media for you. If you lose access to the email account connected with your social media account, it’s likely you will end up locked out of everything.
7. Keep an eye on your alert notifications and email messages – It’s a good idea set up login alerts or emails so the social media platform will notify you when somebody tries to sign in to your account without authorisation. This is also another one to watch out for though, scammers can mimic such alerts to get you to click and share your details!
8. Add a back up Admin to your Facebook Page – Business Facebook pages are linked to personal Facebook accounts, so if your personal account is compromised, you will have no access to your Business page. It’s a good idea to have a back up Facebook account added to your Business page with full admin permissions. In the instance that your personal account is hacked, you will be able to log in through the other account to remove the hacked account and tighten security in the hope to secure your business page.
Social media security issues aren’t new. However, they have drastically increased over recent months, causing chaos for some local businesses. We have also found the following links through Facebook, which may offer more support if you need it.
How to protect your account on Facebook and Instagram – including what to do if you are hacked on Facebook or Instagram
How to spot and avoid scams on Facebook and Instagram
WBA is currently seeking energetic, community-minded and committed individuals to nominate for the Committee of Management ahead of our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Ju...