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Four ways to stop your social media account from getting hacked

By Zane Schwarzlose*

password security
Social media accounts of famous companies are appealing targets for hackers that are out to have some fun or to damage reputations. Earlier this year Burger King and Jeep were victims of Twitter hacks. Such hacks can cause damage to your company's reputation. Not only because of harmful posts these hackers can send out on your social media channels, but also -especially if you're in the tech industry- because customers will lose trust in a company that can't even keep its own social media accounts safe.

While you can't make your social media accounts completely impenetrable, there are some measures that you can take that will greatly decrease your chances of getting hacked.


Complicate your passwords

Use complicated passwords for all your social media accounts, just as you should for any other passwords that you use in your organization. Don't just let the employees that are managing your social media accounts choose whichever password they can easily remember. Set strict guidelines about password length and the types of different characters a password should contain. Using a password manager software solution to generate, save and distribute passwords throughout the company can help you out with this.


Keep your passwords safe

Don't just give everyone in your organization access to your passwords. Employees that don't need to use your social media accounts, don't need to have access to the login information. If you do need to share the passwords with many people in your organization, you can use the functionality of a password manager to share login information without actually revealing the password (LastPass and KeePass for example offer this feature).


Change your passwords often

By often changing your passwords you will decrease the chances of getting hacked. Implement policies that specify how often passwords should be changed. Also make sure that passwords are changed when employees that have password information leave the company. This will prevent disgruntled employees from acting out their frustrations on your social media accounts.


Use a social media management tool

Social media management tools such as Hootsuite can help you keep your social media accounts secure. Such tools can act as a buffer when an employee clicks a malicious link in an email. Hootsuite for example will warn you when you click a link that it identifies as potentially malicious. Make sure that your employees can only access social media accounts through your social media management tool of preference.

Educating your employees on security to avoid having them click on these malicious links in the first place should be standard practice at any company as well.

While any company should be vigilant about security on the Internet, companies with a large online presence should be especially cautious with their social media accounts. Implementing a few simple security measures can help improve the security of your social media accounts tremendously.

In case you have been victim of a hack, get your social media account sorted out as soon as possible. Make sure you get control over your account back and start sending out apologies.

*Author Bio: Zane Schwarzlose is an SEO at Fahrenheit Marketing in Austin, USA, a web design company. Zane is happy he's never had to deal with a hacked social media account.

2 October 2013