Your social media profiles are constantly at risk of being compromised. Hackers are always looking for vulnerable accounts to steal in order to have direct access to your followers, where they can then attempt to phish for personal information.
Being hacked on social media can be a complete nightmare. It's such a major part of business, whether it's accounts that represent your business or profiles you use for personal branding. Limit your risk by following these five simple tips.
Test your password strength.
Nobody likes hard-to-remember passwords -- not even Mark Zuckerberg. His Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter accounts were hacked and the password he used was released -- 'Dadada.'
Having your social media accounts hacked can happen to anyone, even the founder of the largest social network in the world. Make sure you select a difficult-to-guess password by using a tool like How Secure Is My Password. It helps to determine its strength. For example, it says it would take a computer 34 thousand years to crack the password "Password1x8!"
Use two-factor authentication.
It works by requiring a combination of two different methods of verification, typically the account password and a confirmation code, sent to via email or text. It only takes a few seconds to set it up, and can really help to keep your accounts safe.
Use a password manager.
I've had a Facebook page hacked before -- one with more than 220,000 followers. I eventually regained control of the account, but the process took longer than four months of constant back-and-forth with our Facebook rep.
Consider using a password manager, such as LastPass to remembers all of your passwords. You only have to remember one master password, which will stop you from having to reset your passwords when you can't remember them. You can also use it across all of your browsers and devices, using its sync feature.
Limit 3rd party application use.
Using 3rd party applications, such as Hootsuite, a social media management program, will require access to your accounts. Only authorize legitimate applications, and be sure to read the details of what you are authorizing the particular app to have access to.
Some will need minimum permissions, such as the ability to post content, so always read the details prior to giving access. Take a few minutes to sign in to all of your social media accounts and see what apps you are allowing to access your profiles. You can use this list of links to help you determine what you are authorizing and revoke access to those apps you don't trust or currently use.
Take advantage of free antivirus software.
The majority of internet service providers (ISPs) include some security protection -- you can search for local ISPs to see if there are better options available in your local area, or you can use an antivirus program, like AVG. While the pro version might not fit within everyone's budget, they do offer a free version that is much better than not having any antivirus protection installed.
To be even more cautious, social media tools like Vibbi will download and backup all of your images and videos on Instagram, making sure that you don't lose the content you pent time creating in the even that you are hacked.
Jonathan Long is the Founder of Market Domination Media®, an online marketing consulting agency. Jonathan also created EBOC.co (Entrepreneurs & Business Owners Community), a private business forum and founded consumer products Sexy Smile Kit and Sexy Slim Tea.