Like any other entity, non-profits need to maintain active social media accounts to accomplish their goals. Social accounts provide non-profits the opportunity to reach out to and connect with the community, spread their message, and hire new employees or volunteers necessary to run operations.
A non-profit’s presence on social media sites does come with dangers, though. First, social sites may contain sensitive information about the organization along with information about employees, customers, and business contacts.
For many reasons, a non-profit’s social sites are hot targets for hackers. And the chances of an organization’s social accounts being compromised by hackers only increases the more they are used. However real these dangers are, though, non-profits can keep their social profiles secure by following a few simple strategies for keeping accounts protected.
Hire a Good Social Media Manager
There isn’t always enough money for a non-profit to hire everyone they need. However, a trained social media manager—or at least an experienced employee willing to help—is a necessity. Because an active, engaged social media presence is necessary for a non-profit’s success, a manager is needed to safely and effectively run social media sites for their team.
In addition to running those sites effectively, though, the social media manager needs to do so securely. First, the sites need to be managed through a private network, accessed through secure computers, and closed when not being used to prevent access from potentially dangerous users. Social media managers should be especially careful about accessing their sites on unsecured Wi-Fi networks or public computers where hackers might gain access to them.
Finally, only people who absolutely need to access an organization’s social media accounts should be able to do so—the fewer people who have access to log-on information, the better.
Create Strong Passwords
Social media mangers should create strong passwords to protect non-profit organizations social accounts. Popular passwords such as “1234,” the word “password,” and similar options are too easily known and can be problematic. Likewise, passwords containing available information about the non-profit are poor choices. While simple passwords are easy to remember, they are unsafe. Instead, passwords at least 10-12 characters long that contain a mix of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters—if possible—are best.
The best passwords are collections of random letters, words, numbers, and symbols without any known connection to the individual or organization maintaining the accounts. Additionally, to prevent more than one of the non-profit’s sites being hacked if one password is discovered, each of their social media sites should have a unique password. Finally, non-profit organizations should update passwords often—around every 2-3 months—for a final layer of added security.
Should any password become compromised, efforts should be taken to update other social media passwords immediately; preventing further exposure to risk.
Monitor Incoming and Outgoing Content
A final way to keep a non-profit’s social sites secure is to avoid clicking unknown, unrecognized, or “strange” links in messages or posts. These offending links often appear in fabricated ads, sexually explicit content, false news stories, or other spam.
Social media managers should confer with the person who shared the link before opening anything that seems suspicious. Chances are, if it looks suspicious, it probably is. Dangerous links often contain viruses and other malware that can not only jeopardize an organization’s social media sites, but also its computers and other assets.
There is an added danger for non-profits: dangerous content being shared with an organization’s contacts. Often times, hackers and hacking programs will send attacking messages, tweets, and other posts to a non-profit’s contacts as “them” in order to attack other social media users. This can have a serious negative impact on an organization’s reputation and trust among clients. Ultimately, a trained social media manger should be able to catch any offending content quickly and prevent any issues.
Non-profits working on tight budgets can’t afford any setbacks to their online accounts, assets, or reputation. Non-profits should actively seek to secure their social media accounts to prevent that from happening. Helpful approaches to social media security include trained social media mangers, complex passwords, and avoiding messages, posts, or tweets that seem dangerous.