Protecting your brand when social media turns nasty

by Hardeep Johal

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 03 November 2020

We’ve all heard the stories - a business suddenly starts trending on Twitter because a disgruntled ex-employee has taken over the corporate channel and is laying sh*t bare. Or, an unapproved post goes out on Facebook containing offensive content and the brand bashing ensues. Every. Company’s. Worst. Nightmare. 😬 

The very public apology goes out. Managers are reprimanded. Debates around how to restore trust in the brand begin. The consequences of these social media security breaches are no joke - your brand reputation may never be the same again, you may have alienated a chunk of your target audience and some may even boycott your product or services altogether. 

So, how do you prevent these embarrassing cock-ups and proactively protect your brand on social media? Read on for our five top tips...

#1 - Take stock of your social media
Do you know how many social media accounts you have and who has access to them? Do you know the usernames and passwords for all of them? If you’ve answered no to either of these questions, you’ve bagged yourself your first to do! To prevent incidences on your social media, it’s critical to have this information and manage it securely. So while you’re reviewing your accounts, take time to consider whether all your social media accounts are essential to your social customer care and marketing goals. If not, trim the fat - reduce the number of accounts and in turn help reduce the risks. You could mitigate the risk further by using a digital conversation management platform (like Orlo) so you’ve got a high level view of all your social media accounts in one place!

#2 - Decide who has access to your social media
Who do you want running the show? Who do you want to be accountable for the security of your digital content? Once you’ve assembled your social-media-dream-team, lock down the data and the processes, so you always know what was posted when and by who. Using a tool that enables you to quickly and easily grant access to users (or remove it!) can be worth the investment too! It allows you to give individuals appropriate permissions based on their role or skillset, without ever having to share usernames or passwords with them, so you can rest assured that they’re publishing to the right accounts and responding to the right messages.

#3 - Dish out company devices

Should employees be using personal phones and laptops to manage corporate social media accounts? Hell no! Ensuring staff members are using company computers and mobiles to create and publish content is one way to maintain visibility and control of your digital activity. But with multiple apps and softwares to contend with, things can still feel a little messy - especially if your team works remotely and is spread far and wide. Stop working natively and start using a platform that empowers your team to collaborate - uploading, editing and publishing content to all your social channels from one place! Oh, and don’t forget to implement a policy around your devices - whether it’s signing laptops and phones in and out or clearly outlining the boundaries for usage, it’s important everyone’s on the same page.

#4 - Review your content approval process
Social media data? Check! ✅ Social media squad? Check! ✅ Documented content approval process…? If you haven’t got all three licked, it’s time to start mapping out your key processes. Documenting which individuals or teams are responsible for the content at which stage on its way to publication means it’s possible to determine where the process may not have been followed if something unexpected should happen. Some tools can help by managing this for you, with a full audit trail showing what is published by who, as well as offering handy features such as the ability to leave feedback on content within the platform and an approvals queue, so nothing can be published without final sign off. Keep processes simple and to the point so even newbies to the team can pick them up quickly.

#5 - And if the worst should happen….
Even if you’ve covered all of the above, you can’t plan for everything... right? Wrong! A crisis management plan is your new BFF. Start by identifying a potential crisis and work your way back to create a step-by-step plan for if you find yourself in a sticky situation on social. What steps can you take to lock down your social media channels? How will you handle the barrage of messages? How will you investigate the source of the breach? Don’t forget to assign crisis plan tasks to individuals and teams ahead of time, so it’s all hands on deck if your social media turns nasty.

Now we’re in the digital-first era, there’s never been a better time to get serious about your social media security. The National Cyber Security Centre is great for extra resources and if you would like to find out how Orlo can help your business increase the security around your digital conversations, such as social media, WhatsApp and SMS, book a demo here.

Hardeep Johal

Hardeep Johal is Orlo’s Product Manager and has 15 years experience in software development and product management, from creating and executing strategic product roadmaps and overseeing product integrations, to due diligence and product acquisitions.

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