Twitter is being hailed as one of the best marketing opportunities to to arise over the last five years. As a marketing tool for small businesses it can really level the playing field. Unfortunately, like everything else on the internet, Twitter has become the victim of hacker attacks and the implications for reputation management are huge.
If Barak Obama and Britney Spears can have their accounts hacked and Tweets sent out in their names, everyone’s accounts are vulnerable. At present it is only the big name tweeters that are being hacked, however hacking seems to have its own community and it wont be long before there are hundreds of hackers attacking the site.
What can the hackers do to your business? A lot. Simply spreading false information is bad enough. Imagine having hundreds of customers turning up at your front door because someone has ‘twittered’ a $1 everything must go sale! Or ‘tweeting’ that one of your products has a major flaw and is being recalled. The problem will be exacerbated because you won’t be able to access your Twitter account to send out the correct information.
What can you do to protect yourself? Generally speaking, Twitter is a great tool for marketing. If you are reasonably careful and don’t reveal any of your account details, particularly to suspect requests for those details supposedly from Twitter (phishing emails), you should be okay. There are however other ways you can protect yourself, particularly if you a regionally based.
One aspect of Twitter that appears a little crazy is the hunt for followers. If you have been caught up in the flurry of following as many people as possible in the hope they will follow you – stop, and at least think about it for a moment.
If you are regionally based, the only followers of importance are those from your region.Â Having followers from across the planet will do little for your business. If you are going to seek out followers, only seek out those that will gain from your marketing strategies. Your marketing strategy will fail miserably if you have a thousand followers, but only a handful of potential customers or clients.
Twitter can be a great marketing tool. It can also be a great reputation management tool. Used unwisely and it could potentially be a great reputation management killer as well. One final tip – subscribe to your own tweets either through a dummy account or through a personal account. You will at least know immediately if there has been an unauthorised use of your account.