Protecting Your Social Media Identity

Social media is an importance part of any business strategy, as social media forms the part of your company that issues news out into the world wide web, interacts with your customers, and runs like a miniature news department all in the name of your company and brand. Should someone take over that identity, that online voice can do a great deal of damage to how you are perceived by the outside world, and should it be noticeable enough: can even make it to offline media, such as news, print, and lead to other forehead smacking level disasters. Once taken, the recovery of your identity and the subsequent rectifying of damage can cost a great deal, and so instead of having a blaze attitude and assuming it won’t happen to you: follow these guidelines instead!

1.)  Get your social media names and accounts
Sounds simple, but many people who are not currently using social media, will not have bothered to open up a facebook, twitter, and linked in accounts (along with all the other social medias that are available) because “they don’t use them”. If you have not claimed your name, then someone else can, and before you know it: they are out there publishing information in your name, and there is very little you can do to stop it! Even if you are not using social media, and have no plans to: treat social media accounts with the same respect as you do your brand name and domain name and claim it for your own use so that others are prevented from doing so.

2.)  Use complex passwords
In the good old days, hackers would have to sit down and guess what your password was in a lengthy and time-consuming process. These days, computer programs that can speedily input combinations are used, making hacking a very simple process if you have chosen a low grade security password, like “cheese” or “holiday”. Rather than fall into these security potholes, better to use a password that is difficult for an automatic guessing program to guess: such as using capital and small letters, numbers and symbols as past of your password like this: “Ch33se*” – it doesn’t have to be difficult to remember, just well chosen.

3.)  Log out
If you are accessing social media via computers that someone else is likely to use, such a work computers (naughty!), or public computers, or your phone: then make sure you log out and clear the history, cache and download information each time you are leaving the computer to make sure that the next person has no access to your social media. Even if the next person to use the computer is not a social media hacker who wants to destroy your online identity, all is takes is a spilled cup of coffee for your social media to broadcast: “hshdgahs883737!” to your hard earned, captured audience. Not a good look.

4.)  Be bothered!
When you open a social media account, you are normally asked to provide answers to your security questions, such as your first school or your mothers maiden name, and also to provide alternate email addresses or mobile numbers to recover lost or stolen passwords. Its tempting at this stage to write whatever comes into your head, or skip the process entirely by pressing the very easy “later” option, but be bothered! In the event that your account does get hacked, you will be able to prove yourself as the owner of the account: rather than having to go through the complex process it will be if you do not supply this information.

Ben writes about protecting your identity for Guernsey image rights specilists Collas Crill IP.