Today, February 7th 2012, marks Safer Internet Day 2012 around the world. It’s a day to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology, media and mobile phones, especially for the younger generations. Although Safer Internet Day is primarily aimed at offering advice and guidance to parents and the younger generations to ensure they stay safe online, it also offers valuable messages for businesses undertaking social media marketing.

Whilst the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has voiced his support to Safer Internet Day, pointing out that making sure parents are empowered enough to ensure their children’s safety online is a “personal priority” of his; here at JE Consulting, we believe that the main messages of Safer Internet Day should be taken into consideration by businesses when carrying out their social media marketing campaign.

Before we look at how businesses can learn from Safer Internet Day, which this year has the banner “Discovering the Digital World Together, Safely” we first need to look at what the campaign aims to achieve.

The main principal of Safer Internet Day is to teach children how to stay safe online, especially when using social networking, and how to teach parents to ensure their children are safe online.

This is an important issue for two reasons: 1) social networks are becoming increasingly popular for all ages 2) it was recently revealed that only 40% of young people are aware that personal information shared online will stay there forever.

So How Does This Influence Social Media Marketing?

Whilst on the face of it, the Safer Internet Day may not seem to influence businesses or social media marketing, when you consider the main tips of the campaign, there is no doubt that businesses shouldn’t take something out of it too; after all the internet offers multiple risks for all who use it.

To help your business stay secure, whilst still taking advantage of social media marketing, at JE Consulting, we believe the following tips taken from Safer Internet Day should be applied to have business using the internet.

1) Install Online Security Software & Keep It Updated:

As already mentioned, the internet offers a multitude of risks for everyone that uses it, and one of the main risks are viruses and malware; with criminals coming up with new ways to try and get around existing security software.

Whether you’re using the internet for emails, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn alone; or for extensive research and other elements of your business, it’s important to make sure you have security software in place and that it is updated every few months as this will help protect your computer from becoming a victim of hackers, viruses and malware.

2) Use Strong Online Passwords

Nearly every element of social media marketing requires a password, which each platform asking for something different, from “x” amount of characters, to letters and numbers being used.

As tempting as it can be to use something which is easy for you to remember, it’s likely that it’ll also be easy for someone to guess if they want to. For this reason, for all the online platforms you use, you should use a different password and not link it to something which is easy to guess.

You should also make sure that you’re passwords are regularly changed to limit the risk of the accounts being hacked.

3) Don’t Share Personal Information

As tempting as it may be to put your mobile number or personal email address in the information “required” on your social networking platforms, don’t! If you do need to put a telephone number or email address, make sure it is connected to your work.

Along with making sure you don’t put personal contact details within your social networking profile, you should also be conscious about what information you share online.

This doesn’t mean don’t have an online personality for your social media marketing campaign, as this defeats the object of the campaign. Instead, consider everything that you share and think about how it’ll appear to your followers, clients, potential clients and businesses. If in doubt, make sure that all information you share is professional.

4) Be Aware of Pop-Ups and “Suspicious” Links

“Spam” and Junk Mail isn’t limited to coming through your letter box. Unfortunately, whilst undertaking a social media marketing campaign, there is a good chance that you’ll come across it both via social networks and within emails; but don’t let this put you off continuing with your online marketing.

Thankfully, many of the social networks offer a “report and block” option, meaning any unsolicited tweets and comments can be removed from your profile and the sender blocked, as well as reported. All email accounts offer a similar procedure, allowing you to place mail from unknown accounts into a “junk” folder.

If you do receive a link or email from someone you don’t know and you’re not sure about it, don’t take the risk – delete it.

So whilst you may think that Safer Internet Day only applies to children and parents; the messages it shares should also be taken into consideration when running a social media marketing campaign, to ensure that you and your business’ online profile stays safe.

Categories: Blog