In a digital age where everything from top-secret information to sultry nudes can be found with just an Internet connection, it’s no wonder that we hear of someone or something being hacked every day. For this reason, it’s super important to be vigilant when it comes to protecting your social media accounts.

Social media platforms are aware of these security issues and are doing their best to protect you. When they require an upper case letter, symbol, number, and lock of hair from your first ex, it’s because they know that without it, your accounts are vulnerable.

With social media being such a vital vein in the business of both brands and influencers, allowing someone else to gain access to your accounts can be devastating. Hackers have different motives. Some do it to change your handle and commandeer your hard-earned followers while other do it to send out virus-laden links to them. In more serious cases, hackers aim to get their hands on sensitive information about your followers’ personal details that can really, really screw with your follower’s loyalty.

Unless you’re a digital Robin Hood (ie Anonymous) trying to expose the earthly devils of the world, hacking sucks. Here are 4 ways influencers and brands can stay safe on social media.

  1. Use strong passwords

Okay. We know. This one seems stupid obvious. But even as I type this, I have to admit with shame that several of my passwords contain my birth year or name. Even worse, most of my passwords are the exact same. If someone cracks one, they’ve got my whole life at their fingertips. Excuse my while I go change all my passwords now that I’ve shared that with the entire Internet.

Since it’s pretty annoying to create a complicated password, a lot of people just don’t. Most people don’t think it’ll happen to them. This includes Mark Zuckerberg. His Pinterest and Twitter were breached in 2016 after the LinkedIn hack. His password? “Dadada”. Yes, friends. The social media giant’s password for both accounts was a string of two repeated letters often used by babies to call their daddy. Is it so ridiculous it’s genius? Don’t think so.

  1. Utilize two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication uses a combination of two different components to confirm a user’s identity. Typically, this involves entering both a password and a confirmation code sent to your phone number or email address.

What this means is that even if someone cracked your password, they would need to have access to your email or phone to complete the login process. For anyone using social media as a big part of their business, not taking advantage of this feature is foolish. It’s an extra step when logging in, but it’s well, well worth it. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer this.

  1. Vary your passwords between platforms

Once you’ve chosen your password, don’t use it for everything. It’s bad enough if a hacker busts into one of your social media accounts, it’s a million times worse if they get into everything. And trust me, they’ll try.

If you don’t have the brain space to have a different password for every account, try to just change one character within the common password. For example, if you choose “Password” (please don’t though), attach an “F” for Facebook or “I” for Instagram to the end of it. This way, all you have to remember is common password and use different suffixes to differentiate them.

  1. Be careful with third-party apps

If you’re using third-party apps like a post scheduler or a repost app, they most often require access to your accounts. Before granting them access, make sure they’re legitimate applications and look into exactly what you’re agreeing to.

While some apps only need minimum permissions (like being able to post content for you), others need a lot more which puts your account at risk if they’re not trustworthy. Keep in mind that they too can get hacked and thus opens your information up to the hackers as well.

 

While Internet safety is a pretty dull topic, the bottom line is that our social media accounts are often huge parts of our businesses as brands and influencers. Sure. It’s a nuisance. But just like wearing a helmet while biking, it may not be cool but neither is your head exploding across the pavement (it’s a gross example but desperate times calls for desperate measures). Protect your accounts, y’all.