You don’t exist in the modern world if you’re not on social media, hence you should always keep social media security in mind. Times have changed in the last decade. Now, all brands use social media as part of their marketing mix. Plus, social media created influencers, and they’re the bread and butter of many successful campaigns.
Since half of the world is on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube, marketers have to be too. Everyone spends at least two hours scrolling daily (it’s always more). Plus, nearly 90 percent of people only buy from brands they’ve seen on social media.
But that doesn’t mean that everything’s fine and dandy. Scammers, hackers, and cybercriminals lurk on these platforms to do harm. They’re smart. They’re like digital marketers turned evil, using the information they can get to steal money, install malware, or compromise data. That’s why social media security should always be a priority.
In this article, we’ll introduce some social media security concerns in digital marketing that you should be aware of. So let’s dive in.
In 2022, 47% of all internet traffic came from bots. That’s a crazy number. Bots are everywhere. They’re visiting your site. They’re visiting your social media profiles. They skew your numbers and analytics. When nearly half of all the traffic online isn’t human, it’s a major issue when it comes to social media security.
Digital marketers use bots for marketing optimization and to boost their marketing campaigns. This includes buying followers, likes, and interactions. There’ve been numerous cases where big corporations have paid their way to social media stardom, but that’s never a good option.
First of all, algorithms take notice and punish profiles with shadowbans or restrictions. Secondly, everyone can see right through it.
For new brands, some marketers believe they need to give a profile a slight boost, and they look for cheap services online. When buying followers, they specify the account and pay with a credit card. Hundreds of people have been scammed. If you don’t get scammed, that adds bad traffic and ruins the chances of becoming viral.
When somebody wants to block your profile on social media, they target you with bot accounts. Every new post gets hit with hundreds of negative comments or scam proposals. That’s terrible PR and influences how others see your brand.
During the crypto craze a few years ago, YouTube channels and Instagram profiles were bombarded with scam comments. Fake influencer bot accounts offered marketing services to brands with zero effects. Not only that, but they spammed the inbox of random people with malicious websites and malware.
Bots are the nightmare of every digital marketer. Google’s SEO crawlers are an exception as they are not a threat to social media security. But as far as social media goes, stay away from them. Don’t buy followers, and don’t mess with people who know how to use them against your brand.
User behavior is crucial for digital marketers. But it’s like a double-edged sword. You never know what’s going to happen. Digital marketers work on brand perception and engagement, which can go two ways. One is that the audience reacts positively, leaves positive reviews, and actively participates.
On the other hand, there’s trolling and boycotting that can harm a brand’s reputation. A recent example is the Bud Light controversy. Influencers actively create content that bashes the brand and goes viral.
Brand impersonation is a form of user behavior that causes security issues for marketers. These people want to capitalize on the success of your brand and will do everything in their power to gather sensitive information.
People create ‘official’ looking groups, accounts, emails, and websites and pretend to be a part of the customer support team to initiate scams and frauds. End users become duped and blame it on the original brand.
The way to solve this problem and ensure your social media security is through active monitoring, consumer education, and employee training. Check social media for lookalike impersonators a few times weekly to ensure no one’s tarnishing your brand name. Remind your audience that you’ll never ask for sensitive info. Finally, train your employees about best practices. This includes:
· Not signing in from public devices.
· Changing passwords.
· Contact IT if they have a compromised account.
Content Management Systems
CMS software is a blessing. You can track SEO, do A/B tests, and install many plugins to monitor every action website visitors do. But it comes at a cost. For every new add-on or plugin, you take on more risk. If one of them gets breached, cybercriminals could take control of your website and threaten your social media security. For that reason, IT teams are very careful when doing updates.
If they update a plugin immediately, there’s an underlying risk of a bug or a loophole with an exploit. If they wait too long, the plugin loses functionality. Marketing and IT must work together to monitor what’s happening in the CMS and how to approach it with the next steps.
When you stop using a plugin, delete it from the site. This reduces the attack surface. You’re limiting the attack points that hackers and cyber criminals use to strike. A CMS is prone to brute force attacks. This is a case when someone knows the username or email address and tries thousands of passwords to log in.
You must have a strong password for everything. Even the Wi-Fi printer. Don’t use the same password for everything because if it leaks one time, everything becomes compromised. A good rule to follow when creating a password is to use letters, numbers, and symbols. Use a phrase because longer passwords take a lot of time to crack.
Marketers are the ones who use content management systems the most. Creating a plan with IT is essential to know how to react if a cyberattack happens to ensure their social media security. Having a plan beforehand is much better than acting in a time of panic. Be prepared for a breach, a suspicious login, restricting admin access, or removing plugins swiftly.
Genuine influencers have been around for a long time. They started building an audience even before they could monetize it. They did it just for fun and evolved into some of the biggest internet names ever. Such people are PewDiePie, MrBeast, KSI, and the like. They’re the highest tier. After them, millions of others tried to replicate their success and turned into micro-influencers.
The road to stardom is long, and some of them are using black hat strategies to manipulate brands into working with them. These individuals are a huge threat to social media security.
Sudden spikes in followers, fake comments, big follower counts, and little engagement are some of the signs of a fake influencer. The same number of likes and comments on each post is another sign to look out for.
Fake influencers can be a concern when it comes to social media security because they will often message you from a different account than their main one. Or, they can send you a link or document to sign or download for working with them. PDF files can have malware inside them, which is a major problem if you open them on your device.
With the massive rise and use of social media, email lacks the exposure but makes up with effectiveness for cyberattacks. It’s the simplest way for phishing to work, and more than half of all cyberattacks happen through email.
In the last three years, remote work evolved. Everyone was at home, communicating through email. Security-wise, email platforms haven’t changed much from the seventies.
Anyone can create an account pretending to be someone else and send millions of messages, becoming a threat to social media security. Phishing attacks constantly land in your spam folder, but sometimes they end up in your inbox.
Marketers have fifty tabs open at all times. They have decision fatigue. They’re subscribed to twenty newsletters. They’re trying to figure out email conversion rates and promote the brand to their list. All it takes is one phishing mail to offer a great deal, or freebie, or pretend to be a team member, and the line of defense is broken.
The easiest way to combat phishing attacks is to ignore them. But they’re incredibly action-provoking. If you’re the only one logged on to the main company profile, getting an email that somebody else logged in is a crisis.
You click on the email to reset the password, and you’ve done the deed. When your head cools down, you see that the mail isn’t from ‘Twitter’ but from ‘Twitter.’ That’s when it becomes too late.
Ads are the lifeblood of digital marketing. You create outbound and inbound campaigns and try to get people in your funnel. Everyone’s using social media to buy something, and you’re constantly looking at growth and guerilla marketing strategies. Make the most revenue with a limited budget. That’s what marketing is all about.
But, ads are well known for misdirecting users, overpromising, spamming, and scamming. Loads of people have been burned by interacting, and they install ad blocks to protect themselves.
Every social media company has an extensive review process before a campaign goes live. However, an offer for something too good to be true occasionally passes.
Sometimes, individuals steal trademarks from legitimate brands and fool consumers they’re buying from the real deal. Malware is easy to plant, especially if it’s a game and it’s on the Play Store. Scammers are trying to steal money in every way they can. If an offer looks too good to be true, it definitely is.
Marketing companies generate loads of data every day. They’re tracking everything from user intent, click-through rates, time spent on site, heat maps, and demographics. Call centers sometimes keep transcripts or recordings—the amount of personal data snowballs.
Whenever you have loads of data at your disposal, somebody in the world wants it. And they’re going to use any means necessary to take it. The more important data you have, the more they want it. That’s why cybercriminals resort to hacking.
One of the best practices for marketing companies is to collect data at the moment they need it and delete it afterward. But that doesn’t happen. Because of that, companies must guard personal data and keep it safe.
All marketing efforts lead to the brand you’re promoting. It’s the most valuable asset you have. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. If you get breached and lose customer data, their fingers will be pointed at your brand. It can take months, even years, to build up the reputation you had before.
One of the biggest mistakes the marketing team can make is to be sloppy with the main social profiles. All it takes is one slip-up or somebody posting offensive content to create a scandal. Ensure all those who have access to the password use two-factor authentication, and change it regularly.
How to Stay Safe?
When your job is related to using social media and online tools all the time, it’s tough to stay safe and secure online. The most important thing is to monitor the latest scams and frauds happening and learn from them. You also need a combination of antivirus and VPN.
VPNs are becoming more popular by the day. They’re incredible because they mask your IP address and make you invisible to hackers. That’s the dream of every marketer. Not only that, but they encrypt your data, and you can browse the net freely while you’re getting a coffee from Starbucks.
Antivirus programs scan every file you download for malware. If there’s something suspicious, they delete it right away. Combining both is like a match made in heaven. The VPN keeps you safe online and makes browsing secure. The antivirus acts locally and protects your device from danger. Even if you slip and make a mistake, these two applications will have your back.
A Few Final Words
You need to be aware of cybersecurity threats before they happen. Bots, fake influencers, user behavior, malware, email threats, and many other dangers are lurking on social media. Make sure you stop every attempt for a data breach by implementing the correct solutions. Connect with the IT team, create a dedicated checklist for what to implement immediately, and forge a crisis plan in case the unthinkable happens. Your future self will thank you for it.