Online safety is an issue for everyone. Sometimes, very sadly, it makes the headlines, with vulnerable teenagers unable to escape social media’s darker side, or celebrities falling prey to trolls or cancel culture.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably not a vulnerable teenager or a celebrity. But social media safety is important for business owners too. In addition to protecting your identity and mental health, business owners are in a strong position to set a good example with relevant content, moderate views and helpful advice.
Let’s take a closer look at online safety for business owners.
Why is social media potentially dangerous?
We live in a world where it’s completely normal to share our lives and work with strangers via social media. In addition to the obvious dangers, like letting burglars know you’re on holiday, there are more subtle threats too. These include having your personal details gathered by bots, or giving out enough information for someone to steal your identity.
Armed with personal information gleaned from social media accounts, it’s possible for unscrupulous strangers to pretend to be you. They’re perfectly placed to close your bank account or commit other acts of fraud. Depending on the size of your business and your role in it, it could be very damaging for your business too.
So, social media has the potential to be dangerous. Fortunately, when we’re wise to this threat, we can protect ourselves against it and keep our personal information and businesses safe.
How can we protect ourselves on social media?
Don’t overshare. Good friends and close family should already have your home address and birthday – you don’t need to put them up on your social media profiles too. Sharing sensitive information like this makes it easier for identify fraudsters to pretend to be you.
Check your privacy settings. Discourage strangers from looking at your personal accounts by using strong privacy settings. On the other hand, remember to keep your business pages public so that new leads can still access the information.
Don’t mix up your accounts! If you have both personal and business social media accounts, be careful about which one you’re posting too. Your business account needs to be public but your personal life shouldn’t be. We find that keeping our personal accounts on our phones and scheduling posts for our business accounts helps us stay in control.
Check your photos, especially your old ones. It’s surprisingly easy to photograph sensitive information, and we may well have done it in the early days of social media before we were wise to the pitfalls. If you’ve ever posted an excited picture of your holiday tickets, or you’ve made a complaint and shared a copy of a letter, you might have inadvertently shared sensitive information. Have a thorough check and take down anything that shouldn’t be there.
Look after your mental health. We may not identify as vulnerable teenagers, but social media has a surprising power to hit us where it hurts. If your relationship with social media is anything but positive, take time out. Try writing your innermost thoughts in a journal instead of online, or meet up with a good friend and have a face-to-face conversation instead.
Outsource your business social media
A great way to keep business social media business-like is to outsource it. Why not contact Get Ahead so one of our social media experts can manage your online presence? When you outsource your social media strategy, content and interactions, you can rest assured that your accounts will stay up-to-date, even if you’re having a busy week. Outsourcing social media means that someone else can think of what to post and make sure it’s relevant, minimising the chance of making a mistake or oversharing.
At Get Ahead, we love social media, but we are fully aware of the pitfalls too. To keep social media working for you, we’ve condensed this blog into an infographic. Feel free to share it – if you find it useful, someone else might too!