Social media is a great place to show off achievements, interests, and earn money from brand partnerships. But it’s also vulnerable to cyberattacks, and you may feel out of control on different social media platforms. However, you can, and should, educate yourself and take the proper steps to protect your social media accounts regardless of the amount of followers you have.
Keep Private Information Private
The biggest reason why you need to protect all of your social media accounts is that they likely have some of your personal information, even though you don’t share that with your followers. When you signed up for a specific social media platform, you usually have to give your email address and name. You may also need to give your phone number, physical address or birth date. The information can vary between platforms, but some of it can be very private.
If someone gets a hold of your account, they’ll have access to everything you have given to that social media channel. Even a short security breach can leave your information open to hackers which could lead to identity theft and fake accounts created under your name. People who make social media accounts that look like you can manipulate or send inappropriate direct messages to your followers which could negatively affect your reputation and credibility.
Maintain Control of Your Brand on Social Media
Protecting your social media accounts is also important because it means you stay in control of those accounts and your personal brand. Many brands will search for you online, so you want to offer a good impression. If someone hacks into your account and posts something profane, that could cost you a brand deal and future deals too.
Your social media accounts are your digital home, so you need to protect them as much as you would your physical home. If you lose control for even a short time, it can be hard to get that control back without deleting everything and starting from scratch. But even still, that break in control could cost you down the line.
Avoid Being Locked Out
If someone hacks into any of your social media accounts, they could change the password and lock you out. The hacker could then start posing as you, and you won’t be able to get into your own account. Once you resolve it, you may have some restrictions, which will protect you. But you don’t want to give anyone else, even a good friend, the chance to lock you out of your social media accounts.
Even if you only use social media for fun, you need to have access to your profile. While no one wants to get hacked, you need to do what you can to protect your profile. One thing you can do today is set up multi-factor authentication. That requires you to provide more evidence to prove you’re the rightful account owner, and it can prevent hackers from getting into your social media accounts.
Protect Your Friends from Fraud
Believe it or not, security issues on your profile could affect that of your friends and followers too. If someone gets into your profile, they could message your friends and pretend to be you. They could ask for personal information that you may or may not know. But then, the hacker could use that information to log into your friend’s profile next.
Then, you’ll both be victims of a cyberattack, and you’ll have to work to get your social media accounts back. While everyone should be wary of weird messages online, some hackers can make their messages look genuine. Make sure you and your friends don’t fall for those scams.
While you do have control over much your own social media, it’s up to the social media networks to secure their respective platforms. If Facebook experiences a data breach, that could affect any Facebook user. It’s not your fault, but you could have something go wrong.
In case of something like that, make sure you only share what’s absolutely necessary. Don’t post anything more than that and don’t give hackers a reason to attack you.
How to Protect Your Social Media Accounts
Here are a few things you can do to protect your social media accounts.
- Always use a strong password for any online account. Try to use a unique password, and make it something that people can’t guess easily. Include a special character and a number, even if the social media network doesn’t require them. If the platform ever has a security issue, change your password to be safe. That way, a hacker who got your last password, won’t be able to access your information. You can also change your password every few months to be extra careful.
- Before you post something online, ask yourself if you’d be okay with the whole world seeing that post. Whatever it is, don’t post it if you aren’t comfortable showing it to businesses or even family members. You should always be putting your best foot forward as an influencer.
If someone hacks your account, they can share that information all over the internet. So even people who aren’t friends or followers of your account could see it.
Social media is an amazing tool to connect with people from all over the world. You can meet new friends, reconnect with old ones, and even earn a substantial income as an influencer. However, you have to protect yourself and others from cyberattacks. Keep these things in mind to stay safe when using social media.
Freelance contribution especially written for Find Your Influence by Lindsey Patterson.