Social Media Strategists are a strange lot. We preach the awesome power of the internet and it’s millions of potential prospects to our clients ad nauseum.

Occasionally however, it’s good for us to remind both our clients and ourselves that Social Media is something that needs to be monitored. Sending all of your information out into the world with little care to who sees it isn’t smart and we’re doing a great job at teaching our kids the risks. But what about the risks to us? To our businesses? To our computers.

In the interest of inserting this nugget of caution into the brains of my readers, I give you the “HOW TO PRACTICE SAFE SOCIAL (media)”.

There are few, straight-forward tips you should know. To many these will seem so simple and rudimentary that they’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t know them. However, some people simply do not think that they are at risk for identity theft. Either from their company or personally.

To that end, the most important thing you should do is to protect your password. I know, it sounds so simplistic but some people don’t even realize that they haven’t done so. Some people actually publish all the hints needed for a hacker to extract their password in their social media accounts! Crazy hey?

If you want to have an un-hackable (maybe no such thing to a truly gifted hacker) password it must be something that is un-tracebable from the information you’ve given out online.

You know how some password-protected sites will say “password hint” and ask you any number of questions, then you enter your answer??? Have you done any of those?

Well a hacker can pretty easily grab that information, use your email address and get sent a new password.

There are several ways around this but the first is to simply be on top of your accounts. If you’re checking them daily the chances of someone messing with them is minimized.

If you have a web presence of any kind you’ll be familiar with spam. You may not know that spam has many forms and delivery systems. Without going into a ton of detail here, be very careful about clicking links sent to you via Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or email. This is especially important if you use a PC. Macs seem to be less likely to contract a virus this way but be careful anyway.

(side note: I have owned an Apple since 1990. I have never had a virus. I did have a graphics card processor issue but not caused by anything I was sent or downloaded. I had a Dell for 2 years before it caught a devastating virus that has rendered it un-usable if connected to the Internet. I’m using the Dell as a door stop…no joke.)

Finally, when you’re using Social Media for business you need to remember that everything you put online is representative of your business (or of your employer) You can’t take anything back. I learned many years ago from a very smart woman that vetting your emails through a 3rd party is not only smart, it could save your career.

(case in point: while working as a Recruiter for a Korean online gaming company I accidentally sent an inappropriate email through our internal system. I thought it was only going to the women I had just lunched with who were on-board with the subject. Turns out the HR email went to our LA office as well. An office that was decidedly more conservative than ours. I jeopardized my job and embarrassed everyone involved by making that wrong decision. Read, re-read and vet your emails or Social Media comments carefully. It could save you…well, everything.)

It’s good to remember that Social Media has 2 diverse uses. 1 is personal the other professional. Just make sure you don’t forget which is which and keep your eye on what you hope to accomplish with each one.

Written by jax