Are You Protecting Your Social Media Investments From Hackers?

 

Are You Protecting Your Social Media Investments from Hackers?

Late last week the Instagram account of Base Body Babes was hacked and 765 carefully captioned images disappeared before their very eyes. The new “owner” of the account changed their name, deleted their images and began posting their own images with a kidnapped audience of 559,000 followers. They are not the only victims of hijacked Instagram accounts.

Fitness expert, Chalene Johnson had her Instagram account with over 400.000 followers hacked, as well. They were also in control of her Twitter account and literally began taunting her on it and telling her that they were now in contol. (There is much more to her story but the FBI is currently involved so much of it is not being shared yet.)

This is not just happening to those with large follower and fan bases. It is happening to small business owners, as well. These so-called “social engineers” are hacking accounts and extorting fees from the owners of accounts in exchange for transfer of ownership back to the original owner. They feel that small businesses will pay the fees and won’t go to the police. They also feel that small business owners don’t know enough about technology to be able to fix the problem themselves.  All these social engineers need is just ONE password to get into your e-mail account in order to be able to attack ALL your social media accounts.  You may feel confident about being secure because you think that you have a pretty safe and not likely-to-be-guessed password but that’s where you’re wrong. They’re not guessing passwords; they’re guessing answers to your security questions. They are able to guess these answers by watching your social media sites!

This is a crime that has reached epidemic proportions. Facebook reports that over 600,000 accounts are compromised EVERY day.  47% of Americans have had their personal information compromised.

Protecting your personal information is incredibly important but in this article, I’m only referring to your social media investments. How long and how much work has it taken you to grow your accounts? How much content do you have stored on your accounts (think about all those images on Instagram and/or Pinterest)? How many connections are made available to you by having these accounts and what would you do if they suddenly disappeared (This is one reason why having an e-mail list is so important)?

No one can be completely safe but there are things you can do to protect your investment. These items will take you some time to set up but they are worth the effort and time expenditure and may help to prevent the loss of years of work.

1. Update your software on ALL devices: your PC, your blog plug-ins, your tablet, your laptops, your Kindle or similar devices, your smart phones, etc.  Don’t forget to update the outdated devices that you have lying around to use as spares.

Adobe Flash is a very important one to consider. But do NOT update when the pop-up appears – it may be a scam and that may be exactly how you become vulnerable.  Go to their website to update and set up auto-updates.

“Update all of your apps! While some updates are improvements, most of the updates are security patches. Be sure to update as soon as available.

2. Get a password manager and install it on all devices.

A password manager is like an online wallet for your valuable information. Create a strong initial password for this one and you must remember your password to this application because it is not stored.

According to Wikipedia “Password managers usually store passwords encrypted, requiring the user to create a master password; a single, ideally very strong password which grants the user access to their entire password database. Some password managers store passwords on the user’s computer, whereas others store data in the cloud. While the core functionality of a password manager is to securely store large collections of passwords, many provide additional features such as form filling and password generation.

Password managers also have browser extensions for FireFox, Chrome and Safari.

DISABLE the auto-fill for passwords. Use your password manager’s browser extension instead.

Some to consider are LastPass, 1Password, KeepPass, and Roboform

*After you install your password manager, update all your passwords with unique passwords generated by your app.  Also, update your security questions with more unique passwords generated by your app because real answers to security questions increase your chances of being hacked!

3. If you have an iPhone 6 or above, set up the Apple fingerprint!  (Android will be adding this feature soon.)

4. Do not choose the “log in with your Facebook account” or “log in as Twitter” options. Be sure to log in using your password manager.

5. Take a look at your e-mail service. Is it as safe as it could be?  Perhaps Hotmail (is that even around anymore) or Yahoo are not the safest options. Gmail has 2 factor authentication so it is more reliable.

6. Check your cloud storage (iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, etc.)  Cloud storage sites have an increasing number of hacks.

Enable 2-step authentication for these – require a code in addition to your password.

7. Phone – Turn off the apps you don’t need.

Apps are great but they are security risks. Delete the ones that you don’t need. (I am SO guilty of keeping too many apps on my phone. Deleting the unused ones has become a priority.)

8. Facebook and Twitter – sign up for 2-factor authentification.  (The one drawback for this is that if you ever change your phone number, it’s a hassle to have it changed, but probably less of a hassle than the things that would have to be done after a cyber hack.)

Instagram is very susceptible to being hacked so be sure to use your password manager when signing in.

9. Set up an IFTTT recipe to have your Instagram images automatically sent and saved in your Dropbox. You can find that here  You could also use Instaport to save all your Instagram images to your hard drive.

10. Check your Facebook privacy settings and determine what is the most amount of privacy you could opt for without damaging your social engagement and reach.

11. Consider using SocialSafe to back up your social media date. At $27.99 per year for 20 accounts, it’s extremely inexpensive and easy to manage.

12.  Messaging – Use a messaging service that supports encryption such as iMessage for Apple or What’s App for iOs, Android, Blackberry and Windows phone.

*Did you know?

On Apple: blue bubbles = iMessage which is encrypted and secure

                   green bubbles = SMS text which is not secure

I hope that you’ll take this threat to your social media investment seriously and begin to put some, if not all, of these precautions in place.  And if you have any other suggestions as to ways that we can all protect our online selves better, I’d love to hear.

*For further information, check out Chalene Johnson’s podcast series on how she was hacked and what she has learned.  iTunes: Chalene Johnson: Build Your Tribe – episodes from June 9, 12, 15, 17 and 19 of 2015.

 

 

The Do Apps: Recipes To Save Time and Increase Productivity on Social Media

Colored pencil drawing of the words simplify your day 

I love IFTTT (If This, Then That) and use its recipes frequently as a way to fit some short-cuts into my social media tasks.  Because I recently changed my Instagram password, I found the need to visit the site and reconnect Instagram to one of my recipes.  When I arrived on the site, I noticed the 3 new Do buttons.  I had heard of them before, but I didn’t know they were affiliated with IFTTT,

IFTTT is a service that specializes in creating innovative solutions that it calls Recipes. These are apps that allow people to simplify many everyday tasks. IFTTT has recently introduced three new, related apps, called the Dos. These apps provide users with many potential uses or recipes that can make life easier, especially for social media related tasks. The following is a summary of how these apps work and what kind of Recipes you can create to become more productive and efficient.

Do Button

As the name suggests, the Do Button works as a button you can use in many different ways. While people are accustomed to using lots of button to operate devices and get things done, having a button on your phone or other device can make things much simpler. The Do Button allows you to create up to three recipes at a time but you can make changes to your Recipes whenever you want. The following are some possible recipes that can be created with Do Button.

  • Track your time and location on Google Drive spreadsheets – this one is my favorite because I work with several different clients during the course of a day and I need to keep track of where my hours and minutes are spent.
  • Set your thermostat in your home or office to the ideal temperature – no need to leave the home office in order to reset the thermostat, just hit the Do Button.
  • Send a quick message to someone to set or cancel an appointment.
  • Share your location or status with someone via Twitter.
  • Manage any internet-connected device in your home or office.
  • Turn lights on or off  – this requires special hardware, a Philips “HUE” light bulb, but would be great for turning the porch lights on when you arrive home in the dark if the switch is on the inside of the house.

Do Camera

Do Camera is an app that makes it possible to customize your camera and integrate it with many popular platforms and services. If you like to share your photos on many platforms at once, this app will make it faster. You can use Do Camera for fun or to make it easier to conduct business related to image sharing. Since social media today revolves a great deal around images, Do Camera can be a very useful app to make photo sharing easier. The following are just a few of the possible Recipes that can be created using Do Note.

  • Share documents or receipts on Evernote.
  • Send photos to friends, co-workers or team members via Gmail.
  • Post photos to the specific Facebook album of your choice.
  • Share images on WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter and more.
  • Post notes to Slack.
  • Email yourself a photo – super great when using an app to create a graphic for social media when you’d like it off your phone or tablet.

Do Note

Do Note is a notepad app that lets you create a customized notepad that can be integrated with a large number of widely used channels. This is another app that makes communicated via social media very efficient. Do Note is an app that lets you get more out of any notes that you jot down, letting you share them widely with just a click. The following are some possible Recipes that you can create with Do Note.

  • Post messages quickly to Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, Todoist and many others places.
  • Create a list of prospects or leads for your business.
  • Post to a chat room.
  • Share tasks with team members.
  • Quickly create events in Google calendar – simply write (or speak into the microphone) something like “lunch with Susie on Friday at 2 pm” and it will automatically be added to your calendar.

The three Dos are simple yet powerful apps that have a wide variety of uses. They can be particularly useful for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs who need to communicate over a wide variety of channels and platforms. With Do Button, Do Camera and Do Note, you can make sharing information on social media faster and simpler, which enhances your productivity.

Let me know if you try any of the Do Button recipes or if you discover some great ones that I missed.

Image credit: DepositPhotos.com/karelnoppe

4 Great Reasons To Try Rignite Now

Vector abstract background; clip-artAs a social media strategist and community manager, I am always looking for ways to save time on social media while still being effective. I also need access to reliable analytics. As such, I’ve tried various scheduling and analytic software products such as Hootsuite, Market Me Suite, Sprout Social and others.

Recently, I had the opportunity to retry Rignite and because it has changed so much since my last trial, I thought I would give it a shot.  I’ve only been using it a month now, but here are some of the features that have impressed me so far.

1. Campaigns

Rignite has different types of campaigns that can be set up. You can easily run contests (they even help choose a winner), promote an event, blog or content; boost engagement or grow your fans and followers. There are suggestions and easy to follow directions to help set up a campaign. The drag and drop calendar is especially easy to use and enables you to see which days are lacking in scheduled content.

example of rignite calendar sheduling tool

One of the features that I especially like is the ability to schedule a blog post to be tweeted out on a regular basis for up to 6 months. I have been using the plug-in “Tweet Old Posts” (now called Revive Old Posts) to randomly tweet my previously published posts on a regular basis but in the world of social media, things change so quickly. Blog posts such as “Facebook Changes Its Algorithm… Again” become outdated in weeks, sometimes days. With this feature, I can easily cancel the scheduling of the post when it is no longer relevant.

2. Photo Gallery

I love this feature! Rignite has an area called “Gallery” which can contain albums of photos. This is a great place to store all those quote images so that they can easily be scheduled out to post on social media platforms.

nature

3. Easily monitor competitors, influencers and VIPs without following them.

Sometimes there are folks that you’d like to keep an eye on but don’t necessarily want to follow (perhaps because you’ve reached your follow limit) OR whose posts you want to be sure not to miss. rignite makes it easy to do both by using their “Account Search feature. This same feature allows you to build relationships with your VIPS by being able to respond to them quickly and in a timely manner.

4. Unlimited Social Accounts and Low Pricing

The free version of HootSuite allows up to three social media accounts and no team members while its next level up at $9.99 per month has 50 profiles included and allows up to 100.

MarketMe Suite’s basic level at $20.00 per month includes  5 social profiles (and only 20 scheduled messages) while its next level at $45.00 per month includes unlimited social profiles and scheduled messages.

Sprout Social’s first level plan (called Deluxe) at $59.00 per user per month allows up-to 10 profiles   and its next level up (at $99.00 oer month) allows up to 20.

Rignite allows unlimited social profiles in all of its levels!  Their basic level is $19.00 per month but does not include campaigns. Their next level up (which does include campaigns) is just $39.00 per month. If you pay the annual price, there is a 10 per cent discount. These prices are great for the small to medium-sized business owner.

None of the social media scheduling and analytical software solutions are exactly the same. Take advantage of free trials to find out which solution is best for your own needs.

Image credit: Deposit Photos and Rignite

* I did not receive monetary compensation for this article but I was invited to receive an extended trial of Rignite upon completion of this article. I’ll let you know of my findings after the completion of my trial.

 

You Can’t Be Seen as an Expert Just By Posting Cat Memes – (or Why You Need To Write a Book)

BooksIf you’re like most people, you’ve thought about writing a book. But also just like most people, you haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Let’s be honest, writing a book is hard work.  Whether you’re writing a fiction work or non-fiction work, it requires brainstorming, note writing, fact gathering, word researching, writing, editing, rewriting and more editing.  So then why should you write a book?  What does being a published author of a print book bring that having a blog can’t do?  Well, lots of things.

Seth Godin says that “a book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel”.

A book helps define your reputation.  It allows you to be seen as an expert in your chosen topic.  While many bloggers can rise to the title of expert, people tend to grant more authority to those who have written a book on a particular subject. 

A book also serves as a business card – one that will probably not be thrown away and may even be shared with additional people. 

A book is a great conversation starter.  Who wouldn’t be interested in hearing more about your book, its subject matter and why it was written?

A book is evidence of hard work.  As I mentioned above, it is hard work.  It takes discipline, persistence, determination and a leap of faith to complete. Potential clients will know this too and will admire you for it.

And finally, having a written book will help you to accomplish a dream which of course, is an awesome thing to do. 

If this sounds like something you’re ready to do, I invite you to join me and more than 70 others who have already signed up, in Kristen Eckstein’s Print in 30 Bootcamp Challenge.  Kristen is a super-great instructor.  I just completed her Kindle in 30 Challenge and was amazed at the amount and quality of material that she provided.  Several of the authors in that group (including me) become Amazon Best Selling authors!

Kristen’s course begins April 3rd so you have a month to get your materials organized so that you’ll be ready to go when the course begins!  If you sign up right now, you can get a huge discount ($200.00 off) by using coupon code: print200 making the whole course just $97.00.  You know that’s an incredible value!  If you have any interest at all, I urge you to check out the program.  Here’s the link: Print in 30 Challenge   Join the challenge to get your showcase print book completed in just 30 days! I’ll see you there!

You’re most welcome to use this article on your website, blog or in your e-zine if you include this entire blurb, without modification: If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, you’ll want to hop on over to www.OnTheWebbSocialMedia.com where you can find more articles, resources and social media strategies.  Shelley teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to bring their business into the on-line conversation.