The social media accounts of well-known national organizations and companies hacked far too often. While it’s easy to assume that small businesses or personal brands are not a target, it’s something you can’t be sure of. Because of this, it’s a smart idea to take a few extra steps and spend a few extra minutes to guard your brand online. Here are a few security tips you can follow to protect your reputation online.
- Only log in on a private, trusted computer Do not log in to your social media accounts on a public computer [this means the county library or the Apple Store. Leaving control of such a large element of your online brand to the kindness of a stranger is not smart. You never know what kind of tweets or other updates the person who finds your account may leave.
- Use a strong password When you set up your accounts, use a strong password. You don’t want to use something a hacker or stranger could easily guess. A strong password is best described as one with at least 10 characters that includes upper- and lower-case letters and symbols. There are many online password generators that you can use to create your strong password; Password Generator is a popular example.
- Run alerts on your business’ or brand name and URL Running alerts on these terms associated with your brand will let you know when someone is misusing them. Though the future of Google Alerts is unclear, you can still set up alerts and have them delivered via email to your Gmail account. You can set up or manage your Google alerts here. In addition to Google Alerts, another option for monitoring your brand online is Mention.net, which delivers alerts via email, RSS feed and apps. It is a paid service (with a generous free trial offer), but the prices are reasonable.
- Use two-step authentication With the exception of Pinterest and Foursquare, all of the most popular social networks now offer account access using two-step authentication (or two-factor authentication/verification). This means, as the term suggests, that you’ll have to confirm your identify in two ways when logging in to your account. You’ll have to enter the password you’ve chosen, and then you’ll receive a text message with a code that you’ll also have to enter. You can use two-step authentication with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Implement smart security measures on your blog If you’re a (self-hosted) WordPress user, you’re familiar with the global security breach that happened last Spring. When you install WordPress on a new site, it’s a good idea to, at a minimum, (1) install WordPress in a sub-directory, (2) delete the “admin” user (3) install both the Wordfence and Better WP Security plugins, and (4) update your plugin and theme as soon as developers make those updates available. There are other things that can be done, but if you take those four steps, you’ll be doing a world of good toward protecting your WordPress site, home of your personal brand online.
Guarding your personal brand online doesn’t take much time as many of these tips are things you only have to do once or tasks you can automate. It’s worth the time if you can protect your website / blog and social media accounts from activities that threaten your personal brand online.