Social media presence is essential for the success of any business these days, especially for online startup businesses if they wish to have any competitive advantage over well-established ones. That being said, using social media for your business does not come without valid concerns and apprehensions.
With news about hacking, security breaches, and credit card/identity theft, some people can’t help but feel anxious about the information they share to social media channels, or whether to use these channels at all for business.
Luckily, social media companies have been making additional efforts to assure privacy to their users. Additionally, there are a lot of ways that one can take action to protect their own privacy and use social media safely. A good way to explain these measures is to walk in a business owner’s shoes and address common concerns they may have. So for this week’s exercise, I have created a mock scenario where I am an online marketer and one of my clients is a new online business owner who is concerned about privacy issues regarding social media.
As an online marketer who primarily uses email marketing and social media, a new prospect named Susan Baker reaches out to hire me for her online consulting business. However, she writes an email to me expressing great concern about how her privacy may be compromised by using social media for her business. Currently, she uses her name (Susan Baker Consulting) for her branding, but is worried about whether it is too much for social media. She is also overwhelmed with the idea of using her own pictures or videos. I must write back to convince her that using social media as a marketing channel, especially if someone has an online business, is essential for her success while explaining and assuring the best practices for using social media safely.
Hello Susan Baker,
Thank you for reaching out to our services. I am excited to be working with you and to be helping you grow your new consulting business.
I completely understand your concerns regarding privacy and how sharing information on social media affects it. In this fast and growing digital landscape, we have gained access to tons of useful tools and information. But at the same time, we also become vulnerable to the bad things that can happen as a result of sharing too much information (reading the news certainly doesn’t help ease anything!). That being said, there are many measures you can take to ensure that you are using social media safely and that your private information is protected. I will lay them out here at your convenience.
First of all, I would suggest that you create a separate business email and phone number so that your business is removed from information tied to your personal life. Social media channels will require you to share these for authentication as well as contact, so using separate business profiles is a big layer of protection for you.
It’s true that whatever you post on social media is public information. Therefore, be sure not to disclose personal information on your posts or comments under any circumstances, such as your home address, billing information, or answers to security questions.
As of recently, many social media platforms have been implementing extra security measures such as Facebook’s two-factor authentication for login. You would also benefit in general from using a password that is stronger than the requirements given.
A lot of scammers will try to bait you into having your information breached by clicking on a link through an email or text. If an email or text message looks suspicious and/or is unexpected, then it’s most likely a scam and you should immediately mark it as spam and delete.
You expressed a valid concern of using your name for your branding. Your brand name is the first thing that your clients will see; it represents who you are, the work you do, and the product you produce. Keep in mind that many companies use the name(s) of the founder(s) for their branding because it appears professional and credible. Since you are running an online consulting firm, these traits are crucial for gaining trust among prospective clients. If you really don’t feel comfortable using your full name for branding, though, then using just your last name would work just fine (e.g. Baker Consulting instead of Susan Baker Consulting). Your full name should be used in email signatures, though.
Furthermore, I understand that the idea of sharing your own pictures and videos to these social media platforms may seem overwhelming. After all, your posts are indeed public, as noted earlier. But, sharing your own work (which includes your own media) is what makes your business stand out in credibility. First impression is everything, and people want to see the work that you produce, the faces that represent your business, and the services that you offer. Otherwise, if you are using just a bunch of stock media to tell your story, then your business appears less trustworthy, even if your services are good. So long as your pictures and videos do not contain personal information such as your location, it is safe—and much better marketing-wise—to use your own media.
As consumers across all age groups increasingly use social media to research and purchase products and services, it is crucial for businesses to be present on these channels. Reaching these audiences will translate to leads that would otherwise be unreachable. With our services, we will ensure that your business has digital visibility while your private information stays private. We will also share with you every analytics tool that we use to track important marketing data (such as engagements and impressions) so that you can see for yourself that your information is secure.
I hope this advice was valuable for you, and do not hesitate to reach out to me or one of our team members if you have more questions, concerns, or requests.