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How Social Media Can Harm Businesses

June 21 2020 - When thinking about safety on social media, the majority of people only consider the threats that can affect individuals personally. Most are aware of trolls, fake accounts, and scams, but not a lot of people are aware of the risks that social media can bring to a business.

In fact, there is actually a multitude of different ways companies can be targeted and negatively affected by people on social media. From imitation to phishing scams, here are some of the techniques that can really do your business some harm.

To protect yourself and the organization you work for, it's important to learn the social network security best practices to ensure maximum security when utilizing these platforms.

Brand Impersonation

Having individuals impersonate your business or brand can have huge negative effects on your company. This can alter the way potential customers and current clientele think about you and your service, as your name may have been tarnished by these mimicking individuals.

Each impersonator has their own reasons for doing so, but the main reason is to run scams to gain users' personal details. They usually do this by running false competitions or giveaways, using your image and brand to gain trust from potential victims, and getting them to sign up by handing over their data.

To help businesses maintain a good public image, it's important for them to shut down and report any impersonation accounts. They're easy to spot if you're looking for them, as accounts will usually only have one post, a couple of images, and won't have existed for very long. Once you've found one, report it to the social media platform to remove them. It's also worth getting verified on these platforms so that potential customers know they're dealing with the real company. Twitter utilizes blue ticks for verified accounts and Facebook uses badges.

Fake News

With the unchecked freedom to spread false information on social media, some malicious accounts and groups use this to their advantage and attempt to circulate stories that can be damaging for a company.

There's always the potential for false stories like this to gain traction, and when they do, they can have serious repercussions. Sometimes the communication of false information can be used to manipulate the stock price of a company, especially if that company is publicly traded, and if it happens to your business, this can cost an obscene amount of money.

Stolen Identity

Sometimes, criminals won't impersonate an entire organization and instead choose to mimic an important individual inside that business, such as the CEO. The reason for doing this is that these people can then masquerade as the real person on platforms such as LinkedIn, communicating with potential future employees or business partners.

This can be a huge problem, as not only can these accounts smear this individual's name by being inappropriate, but criminals can also use this disguise to gain personal information from people who believe they're talking to an executive.

A potential option to minimize this risk is to choose not to display employee information on the company website, giving scammers fewer avenues to build a fake account. This can, however, make your company less accessible to those with good intentions.

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