Today, social media platforms are flooded with influencers giving out opinions, tips, and advice on all types of subject matters, from fashion and makeup to fitness and tech. Their followers love them, and so do brands. These influencers command an impressive influencing power over a massive audience, using credible and established expertise.
But being an influencer also means you’re in the cyber spotlight 24/7. This can expose you to various online privacy risks. In fact, social media fame could attract a significant amount of privacy issues that may even put your life at risk. But understanding the importance of online privacy and adopting essential social media safety tips could help you build protective barriers and safeguard yourself as an influencer.
Why protect your online privacy?
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Compromising online privacy could open the door to countless threats. All the effort, time, and money you have put in to build your personal brand could get wiped off with a single privacy breach. Reputational damage is one of the most dreaded risks that could affect your ability to monetize your fame and influencing power.
But it gets worse. A security breach could leave you exposed to online and real-world stalkers who could threaten your safety. Then, a criminal may target your follower database, which could consist of hundreds of thousands or even millions of online users. And a hacker could damage the reputation of brands that influencers represent, leading to dire consequences.
Being in the public eye, influencers also attract haters, attention seekers, and those looking to cause deliberate harm. An influencer with millions of followers could give these individuals instant access to fame and bragging rights. Sometimes, these bad actors are driven by jealousy or the twisted pleasure gained by humiliating someone famous. Swatting is a good example of this. Popular live streamers on Twitch frequently encounter these incidents, which could even end up with physical harm and death.
Now, let’s take a look at essential safety tips every social media influencer should know.
1. Protect your accounts
A breached account could lead to devastating consequences. For example, a hacker could post damaging content or even conduct fraudulent activities under your name. And if there’s a hostile account takeover, you’ll be blocked off from reaching your following. Without access to your account or fan base, years of work could go down the drain. Remember, once hacked, the possibilities are endless.
So, how can you protect your accounts? Strong passwords are your starting point. Use a combination of characters and make them as cryptic as possible. And the lengthier, the better. If you’re using several social media platforms to reach your audience, use a different password for each account. Two-factor authentication will add an extra layer of protection. Keep all passwords secure and avoid writing them down.
Sometimes you may have a team to help create content and engage with your audience. If so, minimize the number of people given access to your account credentials. Set up security protocols to keep your passwords safe and ensure your team follows through.
2. Use a VPN
Your IP address could lead a criminal to personal information that’s best left private. This makes it important to shield it. A virtual private network, better known as a VPN, is the easiest tool to help you achieve this. It can mask your online activities by setting up a secure connection, making it difficult for others to track you online.
There are reputed VPNs for free and at a fee. Paid services typically offer better security and additional features such as access to more servers.
As a social media influencer who’s always in the public eye, it could be hard to maintain complete anonymity online. Your popularity and influencing power could depend on how much you engage with your audience. But this doesn’t mean you need to make your entire personal life public.
Sharing certain information could bring more safety threats than fame. These can include your address, contact number, family details, social security number, license plates, and financial details. Influencers may expose these deliberately or even accidentally. So, it’s important to review all content before sharing, whether it’s a photo, video, or a simple comment. If you’re a YouTuber, check what’s in the background and remove any objects that could compromise your privacy.
Another thing to note about cautious data sharing is respect and courtesy. Avoid offending others and discussing sensitive topics such as religion and politics. Apart from running the risk of being disrespectful, these could also attract more threats to your safety.
4. Keep your personal and public lives separate
If you’re a full-time influencer, setting boundaries to separate your personal and professional lives is essential. Avoid bringing your family, especially kids, into the public eye. This could severely compromise their safety with consequences you’ll later regret.
Set up a separate space as an office and keep any identifiable details or objects out of it. This is particularly essential for influencers who use regular video content. Carefully curate all your content in advance and avoid spur-of-the-moment engagement with followers as much as possible. Build a trusted and experienced team as you go along to help you with this.
5. Stay informed
Keeping yourself updated on the latest online threats will help you adopt a proactive approach to personal safety. New trends in privacy and security risks emerge every few months. Regularly spending time to understand these is essential to prevent a nasty incident from catching you off guard. It will also help anticipate potential threats so you can ramp up security measures and seek necessary support in advance.
The rewards of social media stardom come with a few obvious drawbacks. Threats to your online privacy are one of them. But with these essential tips, you can continue to enjoy online fame and build your personal brand, while making safety a priority.