How to Protect Your Brand from Rogue Social Media Accounts

By Janet Church

ziodanilo / Pixabay

The issue of rogue social media accounts has been in the mainstream news lately, with revelations about false Twitter accounts for various government agencies such as the EPA, NPS and NASA.

However, businesses that consider themselves safely outside of the rogue social media fray because they haven’t yet been targeted – or they feel that they’re too small to capture the attention of adversaries — need to think again. Social media is quickly becoming one of the largest corporate risk sources for fines, lawsuits and lasting reputation damage.

Below, we highlight the most common – and indeed, costliest – ways that more businesses each year discover the unpleasant truth about rogue social media accounts:

  • Counterfeit Accounts

Counterfeit accounts are surprisingly widespread, literally take minutes to set-up, and often look virtually identical to corporate pages (complete with logos, corporate colors, etc.). The purpose is to divert traffic and sell counterfeit goods, or profit in some other way from the illegal appropriation of intellectual property (e.g. falsely endorsing a business so that it can generate leads and sales, etc.)

  • Phishing Accounts

Phishing accounts are even more worrisome. Like counterfeit accounts, they look identical to corporate pages. The intent is to get customers, suppliers and even employees to enter information or click links that lead to hacked devices and breached networks. Often, these cyber criminal campaigns can last for years without being detected.

  • Customer Community Accounts

Far less nefarious – but nevertheless, still a risk – are customer community accounts, which are often created by brand ambassadors or enthusiasts who admire a company. While the intention here is noble, the expression can be problematic because customers aren’t obliged to comply with brand, messaging and style guidelines. As such, they can (and often do) unintentionally spread misinformation. Sometimes, they even get into “flame wars” that can significantly damage a brand.

  • Employee-Created Unauthorized Accounts

Though these accounts are often set up without malintent, employee-created unauthorized accounts can also pose a huge risk to your brand. In this situation, employees start social media accounts without being authorized by the company. Then these accounts are left unattended when an employee leaves or unmonitored because the company doesn’t know they exist. Then when these accounts are discovered later during an audit, there is no knowledge of who created them or where the credentials are. Therefore, getting control of the accounts or removing them can pose a problem.

Further, when consumers stumble upon these employee-created unauthorized accounts, they may think they are legitimate brand accounts which can cause brand damage and confusion.

Solving the Problem of Rogue Social Media Accounts

Before tackling the problem of rogue social media accounts, businesses need to conduct a comprehensive and complete discovery to identify what and where unauthorized accounts exist. It’s vital for businesses to keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if their specific social media footprint begins and ends with Facebook and Twitter. The social media landscape is vast, and there are hundreds of platforms out there – and more are being added all the time. The discovery process Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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