Tips for protecting your small business social media profile


Small businesses all over the country are stepping up to the social media plate. And it's little wonder! With engaging posts and photos, and direct interaction with customers, your budding company can grow its profile and build a great reputation -  all without spending a fortune.

You've only got to look at the statistics to see that small enterprises are increasingly embracing social media. According to the Sensis Social Media Report 2015, 30 per cent of small businesses in Australia have a social media presence.1

Running campaigns, responding to complaints, offering promotions - sure, the opportunities are there, but social media can also be a minefield of danger. All your hard work can come crashing down if cyber thieves and troublemakers get the upper hand. All it takes is an over share here, or a weak password there, and information can be compromised. 

So how can you keep your company's profile out of harms way? Here are some helpful guidelines.

Should I have a disclosure policy?

Having a set of rules outlining how you or your employees use social media can help stop scammers in their tracks. Cyber criminals can use details gleaned from employees' social media profiles to target your company with malicious emails, misrepresent you on the internet or commit fraud - and this can be disastrous for your reputation. 

If your employees have a personal profile, you can advise them to keep their employment details hidden or change their privacy settings to private. This doesn't mean you need to take a hard line. Banning social media entirely won't necessarily make things better. After all, the same Sensis Social Media Report 20151 revealed that 49 per cent of people use social media every day - and keeping a lid on how your staff use it could actually backfire.

Instead, show them how information shared on social media could hurt the company. Social media is a gold mine for cyber criminals looking to gain information on your organisation and just one slip up could cost you dearly. Once your team understands the risks involved, even on their personal accounts, they might be less likely to post things that could be used against your company. 

How often should I monitor the profile?

As a business owner, you're probably the one on the social media frontline, responding to questions and posting updates. You might also share the responsibilities with your team, which can be a fun way for everyone to contribute. But while you're doing this, it's also a good idea to scroll through and check for suspicious interactions to make sure your staff aren't putting the company at risk.

Are there users posting harmful links or spam on your page? If any staff member were to click through on these pages, or give away too much information to the scammer in a message, it could compromise your security. 

Social media can be a fantastic pillar of support for your small business, but it needs to be used wisely. If you've got any concerns, Identity Watch can help.

By providing Identity Watch to your employees for both their personal and business information, such as email address and credit cards, you can help protect your business. Identity Watch monitors details you want protected and if they are found in the dark corners of the internet, such as forums where information is illegally traded, we will alert you.

Sensis Social Media Report May 2015: How Australian people and businesses are using social media. Sensis. May 2015.