November 24, 2019

How To Use Risk Management in Social Media Strategy

You probably heard about the Facebook security flaw that let a hacker access login information for 50 million accounts. While successful breaches of such magnitude are not a daily occurrence, cybercrime is a reality that should be giving you sleepless nights as far as your company’s data security is concerned. That is unless you have a solid IT security risk management process that extends to your social media accounts. Here’s what you need to know about social media risk management.

What Are The Risks Associated With Social Media?

Social media is essential for businesses that want to reach a wide audience. This is why you are out there working to create a strong brand image. However, hackers are working just as hard as you are – to steal your information. The risks lie in:

  • Phishing – hackers will send out messages similar to yours in an attempt to lure your customers.
  • User authentication – whenever you are signing up on a new application, you often get options to sign up with Facebook. Using any social media account as your single sign-in option exposes your data to cybercriminals.
  • Brand identity theft – malicious users can create a profile that is similar to yours, and end up redirecting customers to their page.
  • Use of weak passwords – any corporate social media account with weak passwords is easy prey for hackers. Any private customer information in your social media accounts is at risk if a hacker can quickly figure out the password.

It is easy to assume that the information in your corporate social media account is not as important as that in your organizational database. However, customer contacts and other private information, as well as potential leads you have been tracking based on social media analytics, are sensitive and should not end up in the hands of cybercriminals.

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Steps To Take When Creating A Social Media Plan To Reduce Risks

Having proven the value of social media risk management, you need a solid plan. The plan should have these six steps:

Have a policy that involves the right stakeholders in your organization

Have you assessed which risks are specific to your corporate social media accounts? Once you identify your weaknesses, create a plan that addresses each weakness. Include the right people to investigate and come up with relevant solutions for the weaknesses.

Departments such as IT, marketing, and public relations must be well represented in this discussion. It is also important to have a senior executive who will drive decision making.

Define the policy objective and communicate it to the entire organization

Your whole organization should understand the essence of your social media risk management policy. When people understand what you intend to achieve, they are more likely to implement and play their role in risk management.

You should clearly outline the methods your organization intends to use to deal with risk and what everyone’s role is in supporting the policy.

Perform an internal audit of social media account usage

You need to asses the social media accounts to identify past and present users and determine who has the login credentials. This is essential for determining which measures you should take to protect login information

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Make provisions for periodical audits of the company’s social media accounts

It is best to review whether your security measures are working consistently. This is also an opportunity to identify potential breaches and mitigate them. With considerations for internal processes and other audits that need to be done, you should set and communicate when audits will be done.

Limit access to social media accounts

You should identify who needs access to your corporate accounts. Define the timelines for access and set procedures to be taken when log in information needs to be handed over to new employees.

Educate users on the policy and its implementation

Once you develop the security policy, ensure it is distributed to key players who will ensure its implementation. Furthermore, there should be an organization-wide understanding of the who’s, what’s, when’s and why’s of the changes you have made.

Make sure to educate your staff on the policy and help them see the big picture. Understanding how the policy is relevant to them will enable each staff member to play their designated role. It is more likely that they will spread the word when they understand why managing risk is so important.


Software is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to organizational data security. However, that’s not all there is. Social media security demands a coordinated organizational effort to identify and address security concerns.

Everyone in the organization plays an important role in mitigating social media risk. Therefore, implementing a comprehensive plan that is clear to all members is one of the best ways to manage risk on social media.


About the author 

Imran Uddin

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