By Maya Cheung / Aug. 16, 2021, 2:02 p.m.

The Single Biggest Mistake Social Media Influencers Make

As a social media influencer, your social accounts are your everything. From cooking videos, to fashion photos, and everything in between there are endless industries with people like you who share their life online to build clout and make income. As an influencer, you are trusted by your followers. You have a platform of people who listen to what you say and consume your content, therefore building your credibility as an influencer.

As a result, brands and companies seek you out to promote their products, and you may even have your own businesses that you promote. All of which happens online, on the many social networks available today—Instagram. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and more.

Therefore, when the whole business model as an influencer is dependent on your social media accounts, the single biggest mistake you can make is not protecting your social media accounts from cyber-attacks with cyber security measures. All it can take is one hacker to ruin your influencer career, or even your life, given the amount of information social media influencers have available online.

The biggest reason why you need to protect all your social media accounts is that these accounts have some of your personal information, even though you do not share that with your followers. When you sign up for a specific social media platform, you usually have to give your email address and name. You may also need to give your phone number, physical address, or birth date. The information can vary between platforms, but some of it can be very private and personal.

If someone gets a hold of your account, they will have access to everything you have given to that social media channel. Even a short security breach can leave your information open to hackers which could lead to identity theft and fake accounts created under your name. You or an influencer you know has probably already experienced scammers who make social media accounts that look like you and use them to manipulate or send inappropriate direct messages to your followers. Many followers are tricked because they don’t look close enough or think twice about seeing something from an influencer who they already regularly interact with, but this could danger these followers and negatively affect your reputation and credibility.

Aside from your own personal information, you most likely have confidential information about your followers, such as names, email addresses, and other data to inform your followers when your latest content comes out or to stay connected with them for business reasons. Therefore, hackers know that by hacking you—a social media influencer—they are not only getting access to you, but also your whole network and following.

It is credibility and trust that you have gained which gives you one of the main factors of leverage that hackers are after: access. People who trust you and follow you are typically more vulnerable as they will do whatever it is that you recommend or post about. Should a hacker get access to your account and use it to execute fraud such as a phishing scam targeting all your followers, they will endanger your followers and taint your reputation and credibility online.

Furthermore, protecting social accounts is vital so that you can continue to build relationships with audiences and brands that you aspire to work with. If you already work with many brands, you will have information or at least the contacts of these brands, and while these companies are certainly more protected than the average individual follower, the truth is that nothing is 100 percent foolproof. Should the cyber-attack allow the attackers to target your business partners as well, that will surely cost you relationships, businesses agreements, and income.

Lastly, the limit does not exist for what hackers can do once they get access to your social media account. Your account can lead them to an abundance of sensitive information and network of access that they can do damage with. To make matters even more serious, these cyber criminals continue to innovate and use technically sophisticated methods with the most harmful intentions.

Ultimately, the biggest mistake you can make as a social media influencer is not taking cyber security measures to protect your social media accounts from cyber-attacks. To take it a step further, investing in the right cyber security services is critical as well. Software, tools, and resources are important to have in place as countermeasures however no company can guarantee that you will never be hacked. What they can guarantee is that they will be with you through every step of the process.

From helping you prevent attacks, to dealing with attacks as they happen, but then also be there for when you need to clean up the mess—protect yourself, alert your followers, get your hacked account back, and more. As a social media influencer, your time is booked with creating content, negotiating brand deals, and building your network. It is not your job to know the ins and outs of cyber security or how to deal with these attacks down to the last risk, so it is important to have professionals backing you who have this knowledge. For instance, Achillion is a cyber security service that approaches security as a process and ensures you will never face cyber security risks alone again.

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