From Andie Walsh trying desperately to keep Blake from finding out where she lived and socio-economic status in “Pretty In Pink” to Cady trying to keep up with “the plastics” in “Mean Girls”, maintaining a reputation is nothing new in modern America. It just requires a little more work thanks to social media.
In the Digital Age, many of us are now maintaining personal and professional brands every day. For some of us, these brands are our way of making a living. Whether it’s being a public figure on Instagram or maintaining a company YouTube page, many social media power users understand the dangers of getting hacked or having one bad review. In order to fight against hackers and trolls, it’s important to embrace a proactive approach.
- Social Media Guidelines & Policies: If you haven’t already, create guidelines and policies for your company. These are very helpful when keeping everyone on the same page. Write out your company culture and mission, those with roles and responsibilities regarding company social media, processes and security protocols, relevant industry regulations and copyright laws, and overall best practices. This will help settle any general questions or confusion employees might have.
- Social Media Security Checklist: It’s important to conduct a security audit at least once a quarter. This includes obtaining all “verified” accounts on platforms your band is on, enable two-factor authentication, monitoring all accounts for spam and trolls, and writing instructions to train employees on how to identify threats while on social media.
- Threats to Look For: Some threats are more obvious than others but the key is to catch them before they catch you. (1) Unforeseen events can still be fixed if prepared properly. We can’t prevent natural disasters or accidents, but we can ease the harm. If you have a prepared speech for your brand spokesperson, use the same or similar verbiage for your social media announcement or response. This will help keep your messaging consistent. (2) Ongoing brand threats like supply, environment, product flow, and customer service are something to keep an eye on. These could all lead to poor reviews. It helps when a brand is transparent and honest with its audiences when it comes to changes. (3) Risky influencers. We love working with influencers, but they’re also human. Do all your homework to see if an influencer is the right fit for your brand. (4) Angry customers. We know a bad review gone viral can be detrimental to a brand. Address the issue immediately and try to get the conversation to move offline. If needed, release a statement to the rest of your audience.
- Tell Your Story, Not Them: Just because you can’t remember the last time your company updated its Facebook status, doesn’t mean your story isn’t being told. Many times audiences will check-in or write a review for you and this could paint many misconceptions about your company. This also leaves room for negative reviews or comments, even hacking if passwords haven’t been updated in over a year.
- Reporting & Taking Down Fraudulent Accounts: Always stay ahead of the curve. Be proactive and diligent about searching for fake accounts and odd messages being sent or posted. The longer it takes for you to detect and report copycat accounts or hacks, the longer your brand is vulnerable. Always report copycat accounts immediately, and ask your employees to do the same. Typically accounts that violate platform policies are taken down within 24-48 hours.
- Use Your Tools: The beauty of social media being used in business is that we now have a variety of tools to help us. Be sure to have your notifications on, utilize Google Alerts for mentions of your brand, and search your brand frequently. Using these tools regularly can help prevent attacks on your accounts.