Social media has transformed the way businesses communicate with the world. It’s fun to create posts, interact with followers, and track insights, but it can be stressful to develop a strategy to cultivate and protect your brand. At our recent AMA in the PM, James Foster, Founder & CEO of ZeroFOX, and Jeremy Wood, VP Product Marketing at Hootsuite, spoke to attendees on the importance of social media, challenges facing marketers, and ways to be proactive against cyberattacks on social media.
Here are three takeaways from the event:
- Employees are a top outlet to build trust and promote your brand…
In order for your social media strategy to be successful, it needs to be understood, used, and valued by everyone at the company. Wood says that we live in a world full of trust issues, and the remaining trustworthy accounts belong to peer-to-peer, academic, and technical professionals. Brands need to build authenticity and trust, and that is best deployed through employee advocacy. This behavior needs to come from the top down. CEOs and executives drive brand culture, and it is important that they are early adopters.
…but that comes with a risk.
Foster shared many examples of how accounts can be hacked, scammed, phished, and leaked. There are tools out there to clone social media accounts, fake customer service attempts and more, and that’s what can happen to a company page alone. Employees are exposed and are a potential liability to the brand. There are CEO accounts that get hacked to promote malicious intentions and personal login information is stolen from accounts that manage a company page. It is important to be proactive and have a plan in place to handle these situations if they were to arise. (Fingers crossed that they don’t, of course).
- If you aren’t actively listening on your social accounts, start immediately.
We’ve all seen the horror stories of brands that are oblivious to what their audience is actually saying. They don’t understand what their clients expect on social, and one tone deaf response can take months — if ever — to recover. Foster shared an old saying that “customer trust and engagement walk into the room, but sprint out.”
Monitoring and listening to customers through social can help develop new products/services, understand better ways to assist clients, and discover new ways to connect meaningfully online says Wood. According to Foster, it is also a top way to be proactive against attacks. He says that there are over 600,000 accounts compromised each day. Being an active listener online can help identify “impersonation attacks” and potentially stop a theft or hijack before it begins. If something does go wrong, you’ll be able to act fast and enable your social media protection plan because you were listening.
- Social isn’t going anywhere.
Social media is still an essential tool for doing business despite the rollback of net neutrality, the Facebook privacy breach, and more. It may be tempting to say your brand is going to opt out of social media completely, but it is an act that will be hard to turn into a reality. Instead of going dark on social, brands should stop to evaluate their needs. It isn’t about being everywhere — it is about being where you need to be.
“What does success look like to you?” asked Wood. “Identify your business goals, and bring social into the fold.” It is important to know your goals and educate your team about social media success. “Technology should enable you to achieve your goals,” says Foster. “Use your vendors to help get different perspectives and views.”
For as much fun as social media is personally, it can be intimidating to brands. Navigating algorithms, developing strategies, and creating content are hard enough without worrying about cyberattacks. Monitoring and planning are the first steps to protecting your brand on social media.
Thank you to James Foster of ZeroFOX and Jeremy Wood of Hootsuite for the insightful conversation on brand reputation. To learn more about upcoming AMA Baltimore programs, visit our events page.