Social Surveillance: How to Stay Safe Online

When a business wants to break into online marketing, how can you reassure someone that their best interests are at heart?

As social media continues to dominate the marketing space, some companies may struggle to see the benefits and only see privacy issues. In the example email below, I outline ways to reassure business owners that social media will only help their companies grow if used properly.

Hi Allison,

First off, I would like to thank you for hiring me to assist with your marketing efforts.  As an online marketer, social media and email are two very important channels to focus on.  I do know you have concerns over privacy on social media, as your company features your name, but I am here to assure you that we will take the proper steps to market your business.

 It may seem a bit daunting to publish information about your company on social media.  With social media being such a public platform, information could be spread easily.  However, social media is one of the greatest ways to reach your audiences.  One way to do this is through hashtags.  When posting for your brand, we can use specific hashtags that will populate your posts in different threads.  Anyone who views those hashtags could see your business and feel inclined to research it further.  Social media also opens you up to new audiences.  By creating fun and well-branded content, we can work together to reach people in demographics you have been hoping to connect with.  Pictures and videos can also be easily monitored.  We can make sure not to tag any locations unless absolutely necessary, and if you would like, we can simply include a link in your bio for people to use, not all of your location and contact information.  I cannot stress the importance of these visuals enough.  Videos will give people the chance to see your work in action and let them put a face to the brand.  Pictures can also showcase some of your work, as well as appearances you have made and awards/accolades you may receive.  These simple steps are the building blocks to overall social media safety.  If you are still concerned, here are some best practices we can use in order to properly run your social media:

To start, we should only focus on social media platforms that you absolutely need.  My personal recommendation would be Instagram and Twitter, as these platforms tend to have a wide range of users that you can connect with.  Excluding unnecessary platforms will help keep your information concentrated in a few select places.  We can also work together to protect your computer.  We can install antivirus software to make sure you eliminate hacking threats, and we can develop strong passwords for each of your accounts.  Remember – NEVER share your passwords, as this increases your chance for account hacking and information spread.  Whenever you need to step away from your computer, make sure to lock the screen, as someone could easily walk by and look at documents that are confidential.  Additionally, never mix your personal and professional accounts together.  If someone comments on your business post, make sure you are logged into your professional account before responding.  That way, no one has access to information they do not need. 

Speaking of interactions with followers, make sure your professional account only follows important users.  This helps keep your feed clean and also keeps your information within a professional network.  Constant social media monitoring will allow us to detect issues before they get out of hand.  Look at your upcoming activity and metrics on websites such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social – does something seem out of place? Is there recent activity coming from suspicious accounts? See below for examples on how to use keyword searches and a marketing calendar to analyze your company’s social presence. As always, we can easily check acceptable use policies and set proper boundaries to prevent anything from falling through the cracks. 

With your name attached to the brand, reputation loss is something we need to take seriously.  We do not want anything to transpire online that can lead to defamation or horrible publicity for you and your brand.  If any issues arise, we must make sure to handle them professionally and quickly, as neglecting to address problems can put us in a hole we will struggle to climb out of.  For example, if someone happens to have a bad experience and decides to rant online, we should work to connect with them offline, resolve the issue, and get the commentary taken down.  We can work together to protect you from these problems and give you a seamless online experience. 

Outside of your safety, we can also collaborate and protect your followers’ information.  I’m sure you remember GDPR from your time in Europe.  The GDPR law states that we need to disclose exactly what information we take from people and how it is used.  Additionally, GDPR allows people to select what information they want us to see, and gives them the chance to amend that information when necessary.  To learn more about how a company can use GDPR, feel free to consult Klarna’s GDPR article. If we follow regulations like this, we can make sure that the bonds you are creating online are safe and necessary for your success. 

While social media can seem overwhelming, it is the best way to make new connections and generate brand awareness.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to me at any time.  As soon as you are ready, we can begin work on our overall content and safety plan, making sure we take all of the above measures into consideration.  Thank you again for your time, and I look forward to working with you!

All the best,

Annika

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