Marketing campaigns are often fed by data culled from social media. Crucial information, such as who links to a product page or brand website and how often can be helpful, as can details about how followers share brand information and engage with marketing content. A strong social media presence can give a business an air of authority and increase its popularity in the marketplace.
With social media being so valuable, marketers can’t afford to have a social media account hacked and under the control of someone who can destroy audience relationships and undermine the company’s reputation. A person who gains unauthorized access to a social account could steal company data – or worse, destroy it.
Fortunately, many social media sites have embraced two-factor authentication, to give marketers and other users a second level of security. Two-factor authentication requires another form of validation before access can be authorized. Are you using two-factor, or are you among the legions of marketers who foolishly opt out or dismiss prompts to set up a secure phone number, alternate email or security questions?
Marketers who use Facebook for interacting with customers and posting promotions have several different security features to choose from. Almost from inception, Facebook offered login notifications and temporary passcodes. In May 2011, they instituted a form of two-factor authentication called “login approval,” which relies on wireless phones for access approval. This is not automatic; the feature must be turned on by marketers via their security settings page. If activated, Facebook will send a string of numbers called an approval code to the wireless number and require the code to be entered in order to access the account whenever a login is attempted from a machine that is unrecognized.
Offering perhaps the most serious and detailed professional history of users, Linked-in gathers details on job history, educational backgrounds, social circles, phone numbers, address, and private messages to former and current colleagues. If hacked, a marketer’s entire identity could be stolen. Last May, Linked-In finally decided to protect this sensitive information better by enabling two-factor security. The website will now send a special code through a text message or automated phone call to approve logins. Marketers should activate this security feature on the account page under the security management section.
In spring 2013, Twitter also instituted two-factor authentication, enabling marketers to verify login credentials by requiring that a code be texted to an authorized smartphone whenever an unrecognized device tries to login in. Additionally, marketers can choose a feature that will mandate a code be used every single time they log in.
Google uses two-factor authentication and a one-login-fits all approach for all its properties. So, marketers posting videos on YouTube, using Gmail, blogging on Blogger, or socializing on Google+ won’t have to worry. Their one universal login can be fortified with a phone number plus an additional email address so that Google can send security approval requests and time-sensitive passcodes if a login looks suspicious.
Those with Android phones can install an app known as Google Authenticator to make verification easier. To safeguard your account during times when your phone may be unavailable, simply have Google generate non-expiring password codes that you can write down and safety store in on your computer or in a purse for emergency access.
Social Media Apps
Marketers should not just worry about social media accounts, but also apps and software that they use to conveniently login in to several social accounts, such as Buffer. Buffer will share information on Twitter, Facebook and Linked-In for marketers based on a pre-arranged schedule. In the past, Buffer has not been that secure, however, and was a target for hackers just a month ago. Now, it is rolling out a two-factor authentication feature that marketers can set up in their “access and password” section. It not only offers user the option of using a personal phone for verification, but it will also let users rely on the aforementioned Google Authenticator app.
Many social platforms, such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram remain without two-factor authentication so marketers should be extra cautious when using those sites. Even though two-factor authentication can provide peace of mind and an extra obstacle for hackers, don’t get too comforted. Some security experts believe it’s only a matter of time before multiple authentications become breached regularly.
Some hackers have retrieved phone numbers and have successfully convinced phone companies to redirect wireless phone service to another number by claiming some temporary or emergency need. So, marketers should also make sure their wireless phone company requires a spoken password to discuss the account if they intend to regularly use their phone number for social media verification. In the future, more evolved security programs may employ behavioral profiles to determine if access is legitimate or not.