Social media has become an integral part of not only our personal day-to-day activities, but also business strategies all over the world. Social media has changed the way that businesses, both large and small, connect with their customers.

Social media can be an incredibly useful tool for any business. It can help with recruiting staff, dealing with customer support concerns, attracting customers, building brand loyalty, performing market research, marketing your own product or service, and directing traffic to your company’s website. While social media presents an array of opportunities for companies to connect with their customers, it can also pose several threats.  

One of the biggest threats that social media poses to businesses is the threat of a phishing attack. Although they are usually carried out through email, instant messaging through social media can be the perfect place for a phishing attack to take place. Information that is already available online could help the hacker in personalising the attack, for instance, the hacker may spoof an employee’s personal social media account to send a phishing message to another colleague. Links sent in phishing messages often contain malware, which can allow the hacker access to a lot of your company’s sensitive data. An example of a phishing message coming from an unknown sender could be a message supposedly coming from a concerned customer stating that someone is pretending to be your company online accompanied by a link that supposedly leads to the impostor’s social media page.

This leads us to another one of the biggest threats companies face on social media, which is brand impersonation. This mainly affects larger businesses or corporations, but any business can be a victim of impersonation. This happens when hackers set up lookalike accounts on social media and post on them, pretending to be your company. They could interact with customers negatively or run fake giveaways and scams, ultimately tarnishing your brand’s reputation.  

Cybercriminals could be anywhere, however, your own employees could pose a risk to your business and its sensitive data when they’re uneducated on proper cyber security practices.

Employees with poor cyber hygiene can end up initiating a data breach simply by having a weak password. Additionally, the more people that have access to a social media account, the higher the risk level is, as there are more people who can potentially expose confidential business information. Poor cyber hygiene can also be the reason that employees interact with phishing messages or emails, so you should ensure that everyone associated with your company is aware of the risks and is well educated on cyber security. It is important for everyone involved with your business to know that what they share on their personal social media accounts can also reflect on the company. Weighing in on current events in a way that is offensive or inflammatory could result in a loss of followers or sales, and a tarnished company reputation.

Social media can be unbelievably beneficial to your company if you know how to use it correctly, just keep in mind the possible risks and avoid becoming a victim by ensuring that your company’s social media accounts and everyone connected to them are well protected and cyber-savvy.