Business social media

What’s one of the most prevailing methods to promote a company these days? Business social media platforms, of course!

Whether or not you’re on board the business social media train, you cannot deny its extensive, and sometimes overpowering, presence. Since nearly 90 percent of U.S. businesses and 65 percent of U.S. adults use social media, there is a good chance that you have interacted with it at least once on some level.

Social media exists for the purposes of sharing news, thoughts, photos and other content. There is no question that the business social media environment offers notable marketing benefits to promote your company to customers and partners. But, it can also lead to the oversharing of information — even if the social communications are motivated by the best of intentions.

“Social media has greatly improved my ability to communicate with my members. I can’t image not using it to interact with them. But I never use my business social media accounts as a personal forum.”

– local insurance agent and branch owner

Here are five important tips to to help you avoid information overexposure or compromise when utilizing your business’ social media pages.

  1. Whatever you post can live forever
    If you’ve been using social media, you are already familiar with the fact that nothing is truly deleted online. However, social media newcomers may not initially consider this when using these pages for your business. Thanks to screen shots and notifications that immediately alert followers of new posts, deleting something on your end may prove to be futile. Never post anything to your business social media pages in haste and, if possible, always have someone else review content before posting it.
  2. Phishing isn’t isolated to email
    Hackers, pretending to be legitimate individuals or entities, may interact with your business’ social media sites in an attempt to infect your business’ network with malware. If you or one of your employees opens a phishing message or clicks on a malicious link, malware can enable hackers access to any sensitive information you store.
  3. You may not realize what you’re sharing
    Your location
    Other than your business’ physical address, does the public really need to be aware of your location as you travel from place to place? This could increase your or your business’ risk of burglary or unnecessary tracking. Don’t allow your devices to share your location.

    Your photos
    This is particularly applicable to your personal photos that could potentially compromise your children, other family members or friends. It also includes customer or partner photos and anyone who hasn’t given their consent to be featured publicly. Be sure to obtain permission from anyone in your photos, and disable your devices from uploading photos as you take them.

    Your proprietary information
    Confidential business details could be revealed in photos, posts, comments or even private messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger. Imagine if business plans, blueprints, financial/account information or personal conversations were exposed as a result of a data breach or other means of compromise. Only share this information in person behind closed doors or in an encrypted environment.

    Prior to posting, consider whether what you plan to post could invite harm to your business. Additionally, make sure you adjust the privacy settings on each of your business’ social media platforms—and update them regularly. Depending on the platform, this could also enable you to have better control of comments and potentially malicious links left on your sites.

  1. Blurring the lines between personal and business social media accounts can be risky
    Many agree that mixing business with pleasure is not often the best idea. Linking your personal and business social media accounts could encourage visitors of your business sites to investigate your personal sites — discovering more personal information about you than you’re comfortable sharing. If you wish to keep your private life private, be sure to check your privacy settings and set up your business social media accounts separate from your personal ones.
  2. Empowering employees to follow online security practices can save your business
    You know that protecting your company in every way possible is very important. This includes ensuring that all employees who have access to your business social media content take their role seriously. Implementing the proper security practices to protect your sensitive business data doesn’t mean there is no room for fun. It just means emphasizing the importance of planning and forethought when it comes to your business’ online security.