Social media is extremely popular today for personal use, but it is also a valuable business tool, as well. By principle, a company is made up of every employee that works together to form a chain, and any weakness in that chain of employees might be exploited against the company. Social media usage by employees under their personal accounts or the business’ accounts can be weaknesses. Promoting the safe and effective use of social media through these security tips is the right way to strengthen those potential weaknesses.
Secure Your LinkedIn Account
One of the first tips is to make sure that all of your employees have secured their LinkedIn accounts. This is accomplished by having them create secure passwords, and update them every few months to new secure passwords. Be sure to have them sign out when they are using their accounts on shared computers. Utilizing two-step verification for signing into the account can also help to secure it. Also, not sharing personal information in the summary of their profiles is a good step. Finally, they should connect only to people that they already know or those that have connections with people that they trust.
Appropriate (or Not) to Share Online
There are some things that are just not meant to be shared online, personally or professionally. Employees need to understand that anything they post online, whether under the business’ name or in their personal accounts, can impact the way that the company is viewed. A well-known taco fast food chain was well aware of how its employees using social media to do reprehensible things in the workplace could damage the brand, and had to take measures to show the public that it could still be trusted to deliver a safe product.
This might not have been prevented with a written policy on what is appropriate to share and what is not, but it was beneficial to have one in place. Some employees might think twice about posting something that could hurt the company if they realize the harm it could do to their careers. In the example of the taco franchise, the employees that were involved said that the taco shells pictured were used for training and were to be thrown out anyway, but they still ended up losing their jobs over it because it was so damaging to the company. Things that are not appropriate for employees to share should be specified, and can include personal customer information, confidential company information, gross or rude behaviors, and making any statements that could be construed as harassing, unkind, damaging or embarrassing.
The Good, Bad and Ugly of LinkedIn Uses
LinkedIn has a lot of great professional uses, but there are some negative ways to use it as well. LinkedIn should be a place where professionals in your company can strut their stuff to show off what they know and what they do for the company. It can help them to network with other colleagues for working on projects, and gather insight from other professionals. It also can have an ugly side where employees use it to impact the company they work for negatively by venting confidential information or other personal information that was not meant for public consumption.
LinkedIn Phishing Scams
Phishing scams can be a real problem, and there are plenty of scammers that like to use recognizable companies such as LinkedIn for their phishing attempts. A phishing scam is when the scammer will create an email that looks pretty close to an official email from LinkedIn or other reputable company and sends it out to individuals that he or she thinks might be a member of the organization. This email often contains a link to another website that is meant to mimic the legitimate one in an effort to get personal information from the victim. It can be used to gain access to accounts or to even to have that information sold to another criminal, opening the victim up to identify theft. This can lead to trouble with the business for which the person works if the employee has sensitive information not secured on his or her computer, such as company logins.
Some signs that an email is not genuine include: the email address it was sent from; the body of the email containing errors in spelling or grammar; a sense of urgency to click a link, or having an attachment for you to open rather than a link. Reporting phishing attempts to the legitimate company can have positive results in that it helps the company to spot the scammers and improve the way that it protects its users.
Eschewing social media altogether is not a sound policy for any business. It is a vital marketing and public relations tool when used correctly. The responsible use of social media is the best course of action for any business to take, and to accomplish this course of action, it is necessary to get every employee on the same page as to what the proper usage of social media should be while he or she is employed by your company.