How Social Media can Make or Break your Business.

social mediaSocial Media has become a driving force in today’s Internet culture and many businesses are jumping on the wagon. In fact, if you own a business, you could be left in the dust if you don’t consider social media an important part of your business plan.

There are many different reasons to have a presence on social media sites. It makes your business personable. It also plays a major hand in marketing and you can respond quickly to unsatisfied customers or problems that may arise.

But it’s not enough just to have a facebook page or twitter account. You need to constantly monitor your account. An unsatisfied customer could complain on twitter or facebook and if you are not aware or do not respond, your competition could come in and snatch them away.

social mediaAnother reason to monitor your social media accounts surfaced just a few weeks ago. In April, Wall Street went crazy after someone hacked into AP’s twitter account which has over 1.9 million followers. The hacked tweet stated that there were two explosions at the Whitehouse and that President Obama was injured. In response, Wall Street went ballistic, causing the Dow to drop over 100 points. The chaos lasted about five minutes.

Because AP regularly monitors their twitter account, they quickly discovered the hack and set things right. Wall Street settled down and regained most of its losses.  AP stated that the hack happened about an hour after someone tried to obtain passwords through a very convincing phishing email scam. Ten minutes after the false tweet, The Syrian Electronic Army, which has been known for previous hacking attacks on news broadcasting companies, claimed responsibility.

This experience shows us several lessons. The biggest one is to constantly monitor your twitter and facebook accounts. Because AP monitored their account, they were able to quickly rectify the situation. Another lesson is to check your facts before reacting to a single tweet. News spreads like wild fire across social media sites and it’s not always correct. This experience shows the instability that is often felt between Wall Street and breaking news and the security vulnerabilities in social media sites.

Twitter stated that they are implementing a “two-factor authentication” that will prevent attacks, even if the hacker has your password. It has not yet been released.

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