Social Media Security: How to protect your reputation online.

  • Burger King social media disaster.

Burger King social media disaster.
Burger King’s Twitter profile was taken over in a security breach. In the attack, BK’s Twitter avatar was changed to the McDonalds logo. Oops.

Yesterday Burger King experienced the latest in an online security breach. At 12:01 am, hackers took over the official Burger King twitter account, and posted a series of embarrassing messages. By the time the messages were discovered by a frantic marketing department, the damage was done. The messages had been read by countless followers, and Burger King had a social media disaster on it’s hands. It’s cases like these that remind us the importance of social media security. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your social media profiles are protected.

1. Control the damage. Once a security breach in your social media accounts has been discovered, deleting the offending messages is only half the battle. For anyone who’s ever witnessed a PR disaster over twitter, you will know that once a rogue message has been posted, it can spread like wildfire on the internet, often catching media attention along the way.

The best way to control your PR worst nightmare? Acknowledge the mistake and address the issue quickly. When the American Red Cross sent an embarrassing tweet last year, their PR team quickly shifted into gear, and contacted media outlets in advance. By going on the record and contacting media directly via their reclaimed social channels, brands can potentially avoid a PR disaster, and even turn it into a positive situation.

2. Avoid a disaster. While your brand may not be targeted for a malicious attack, it is possible for a mis-fired tweet or an ill-considered joke to be sent to your official Twitter handle. To avoid such a situation, companies need to put security measures in place to control off-brand messaging or tweets meant for personal accounts.

Training your employees on Twitter is an effective way to control rogue tweets. Make sure you have a social media strategy in place, and have clearly defined your company’s voice on Twitter. By having a defined social media strategy with set goals, your employees will know how to avoid a bad situation on social media.

3. Use a social media management system. Using a social media management system such as HootSuite is a great way to ensure your social profiles are secure. You can share access to your social networks with team members without sharing passwords, and you can also set certain profiles as “secure”, allowing managers to approve any messages before they are sent out.

These tools will also prompt users with a special window that make sure they are sending messages to the intended account. It’s often the case that this second look that will stop a rogue message from being sent to a high-profile account.

4. Hang in there. While an online attack can seriously affect your brand’s reputation, handling such situations with tact and finesse can quickly turn the negative situation into a positive one. By making sure you have a solid social media strategy, along with educated employees, rest assure that your social media profiles will remain safe and secure.