Social Media Risks and How to Overcome them in 2023
March 9, 2023
As the use of social media has grown over the years, so too have the risks associated with it. From cyberbullying to privacy breaches, the potential harms of social media are real and far-reaching.
If a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre is anything to go by, 41% of American adults have experienced some form of harassment or abuse online. Another near-recent Pew Research Centre survey also found that 11% of adults have had their personal information stolen due to their online activity.
With these risks in mind, it is more important than ever to be aware of the potential dangers of social media and take steps to protect ourselves, businesses, and their client bases from harm. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most common social media risks for business and explore practical strategies for overcoming them in 2023.
Social media is important for businesses because it allows them to reach a large audience cost-effectively. By creating a presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you can easily connect with customers, promote your products or services, and, even better, gather valuable insights about your target market.
One of the biggest advantages of social media for businesses, though, is the ability to connect with customers on a personal level. If you can regularly post updates, engage with followers, and respond to comments and messages, you can build trust and loyalty with your audience.
In fact, according to a survey by Sprout Social, 90% of consumers say that they are more likely to purchase a brand they follow on social media. One more advantage of social media for businesses is that platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer various advertising options, including sponsored posts, influencer marketing, and video ads.
These can be highly effective in reaching specific audiences. What's more, businesses can use social media analytics to track the performance of their campaigns and adjust their strategies accordingly.
What Are The Risks Of Social Media Use For Your Business?
If you have ever thought about using social media for your business, it is essential that you fully understand the risks of social media for business. You can only take the ideal steps to protect yourself and your business if you are aware of these potential dangers. Below are the risks to be considered for social media:
Loss of intellectual property and sensitive data
Social media platforms can be great for sharing information. However, they also make it easy for others to steal your ideas or sensitive information.
For example, anyone with access can view the document if you share confidential information on a public social media platform. In addition, if your employees are sharing sensitive information on their social media accounts, it could put your company at risk.
Loss of reputation
Social media also relates with a reputation management and acts as double edge sword. On the one hand, it can be a great way to build and maintain a positive reputation.
On the other hand, it can be a breeding ground for negative reviews and complaints. A bad review or negative comment can spread quickly and damage your reputation, especially if it is not addressed promptly.
A data breach or data leak
Social media platforms are known for their security vulnerabilities. In addition, the worst part is that hackers are always looking for new ways to steal personal information.
If your company uses social media to store sensitive information, you may be at risk of a data breach or data leak. This can lead to a loss of trust from customers and even legal repercussions.
Many businesses are subject to strict data privacy laws. Common examples include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
You may be subject to hefty fines if your company does not comply with these laws. Social media use can increase the risk of compliance violations, especially if you need to be aware of the data you're collecting and its use.
Best Practices to Overcome Social Media Risks
With over 4 billion active users on social media globally, the risk of cyber-attacks on these platforms has never been higher. These attacks can range from identity theft to phishing swindles to the spread of malware.
To stay on the safe side, it is crucial that businesses and individuals alike take steps to protect themselves from these risks. Here are our top tips for social media best practices for businesses to overcome social media risks:
Enable Two-factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security designed to 'force' users to provide two forms of identification before accessing their accounts. If enabled, it may require you to provide a password and a second verification form, like a code, sent to your phone or a fingerprint scan.
This way, even if someone manages to get hold of your password, they still need the second verification form to access your account. However, that is not all! Another way you can protect your online presence is by adding an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that encrypts sensitive information like credit card numbers and personal information. This helps to keep that information safe from hackers and other bad actors.
The best way to protect your site with an SSL cert is Extended Validation which is also called as EV SSL certificate. Such type of SSL certificate ensures the highest authentication and strong encryption.
It requires businesses to undergo a rigorous vetting process, proving their identity and legitimacy before issuing the certificate. This way, customers can trust that they are dealing with a legitimate business, not a phishing site.
Implement a Strict Password Policy
A strict password policy is a set of guidelines dictating how passwords must be created, stored, and changed. This typically includes requirements for password length, complexity, and expiration.
For example, your policy may insist that passwords be 12 characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. The policy may also state that passwords must not contain personal information, such as a user's name or birthdate, and must be changed every 90 days.
Curate Your Social Media Connections
It does help to be precise about the people you connect with on social media platforms. You should connect with persons on social media to whom you trust and know very well. Be especially wary of connecting with people you do not know. They may be impersonating someone else or attempting to defraud you.
Monitor the Use of Your Brand Name and Logo
Keep an eye out for unauthorized use of your brand name and logo on social media. This can include everything from fake accounts pretending to be your business to users posting fake reviews. If you encounter any unauthorized use, report it to the social media platform and take any necessary legal action.
Implement a Social Media Usage Policy
You may also want to develop a social media usage policy that specifies guidelines for employees on how they should interact with social media while representing your company. This should include guidelines on what employees can and cannot post and what types of interactions are and are not allowed.
Train Employees on Social Media Phishing
Educate employees on the dangers of social media phishing. In Phishing, scammers use fake social media accounts or messages to trick users into giving away personal information or money.
Train employees on how to recognize and avoid phishing attempts. Also, train them on what to do if they suspect they have received a phishing message.
Experts estimate that 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of a cyber-attack. Therefore, cybersecurity is crucial to protect your business and its reputation. In addition, implementing these best practices can help you to reduce the risk of falling victim to a social media attack.
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