Billions of people access social media every day. It’s a powerful tool that brands and organisations use to engage with their audience and increase their revenue. All types of businesses, big and small, use social media to their advantage.
Unfortunately, these benefits come with downsides and threats. In the current digital age, it has never been easier for malicious third parties to damage an organisation’s online presence. The ubiquity of social media comes at a cost: brand abuse.
Social Media Brand Abuse
A business’s social media profile is meant to attract and engage with customers. It’s a place to post content, communicate directly with your audience, and build trust. Sadly, social media is also a place where cyber-attacks and scams have become very common.
Criminals and imposters use social media profiles to lure in an audience, build trust, and pivot to their malicious purposes. Thousands of fake social media brand accounts are created every day, copy the graphics and text from the actual brand, post content, and use slogans associated with the brand. This is all so they can do the following:
Contact customers and direct them to a phishing site to access their information
Link customers to a malware site that will infect their computer
Farm customer contact information to sell to a competitor
Share false information to generate a negative news cycle
Sell the profile to the legitimate owner
It is relatively easy to impersonate brands on social media because many people don’t pay close enough attention to an account’s legitimacy. Brand impersonations cost companies millions of dollars each year and have the potential to damage a company’s reputation irrevocably. If your customers lose trust in your brand, it can be very difficult to gain it back.
Protect Your Brand
Brand impersonation and abuse on social media are incredibly common, and unfortunately, it is not going anywhere. Most social media platforms offer channels to report fake accounts, but very little action is taken beyond that. Businesses are left to fend for themselves and stem the flow of fake accounts created in their image.
Here are some things that can help you protect your brand:
- Daily tracking and monitoring – You should monitor social media sites for impersonation and counterfeits, and take swift action to report them. Speed is the key—you should report these accounts before they can build a follower base and cause damage to your customers.
- Broad keyword searches – When monitoring social media and the broader internet, perform searches with every variation on your brand name. Misspellings, different capitalisations, and number combinations can be used to impersonate your brand. Monitor variations on your hashtags and keywords, as well.
- Logo recognition – You can use recognition models and tools to find your distinctive brand logo and designs in social media profile pictures. This can help you find fake accounts on just about any social media platform and nip their malicious activity in the bud.
Social media brand abuse is a growing problem that affects thousands of businesses and organisations on the most popular platforms worldwide. There is a great risk of lost trust and damage to your reputation if a malicious impersonator builds a big enough audience that they can target.
Protect your brand and your assets by having a protection system in place. Professional brand protection companies have the knowledge and technology to help keep you safe from brand abuse.
CelebProtect is a leader in the online brand protection industry. We are a privately owned internet security company that takes down thousands of phishing sites, fake social media profiles, fake domains, and fake mobile apps. Our social media threat monitoring and detection will alert you to impersonators and take them down after confirmation. Get in touch with us today!