Maintaining an up-to-date and engaging Twitter account for your small business can reap a bevy of benefits for your brand. From increasing your number of virtual followers to partaking in a more meaningful dialogue with your online audience, your brand's Twitter wields a great deal of power.
But what happens when your Twitter gets hacked? Whether a third party has started posting inappropriate content on your business' site or a virus has begun sending spam to your followers, a hack is something that small business owners should take very seriously. If you fear your Twitter account has been compromised, follow these steps to handle the situation like a pro.
Manage the damageFirst, you'll need to assess exactly what damage your hacker has done. Have there been suspicious direct messages sent from your account, or has the individual been tweeting publicly? Your brand should check its sent messages, activity shared between social networks and public profile to see how extensive the hack was. Delete any tweets that were not written by your brand, as well as any message threads sent from your account. Do not click on any links in tweets or messages, as these may be laced with viruses.
Issue an apologyAfter cleaning up your Twitter account, craft an apology to your followers. Send messages to any individuals who were directly affected by the hack, reassuring them that any communication from your account did not come from your company. This step is especially important for companies that have tweeted particularly out-of-character statements.
Change your passwordEven if you've properly cleaned up the digital mess left by a hacker, you'll need to safeguard your account from any future attacks. Twitter recommends immediately changing your password, opting for a less-conventional one with numbers, capital letters and punctuation. If the hacker has changed your password and prevented you from accessing the account, follow these steps as outlined by the site. As an added security measure, the site encourages you to manually unlink your Twitter from other sites, like Facebook, Instagram or Gmail.
Protect your other networksTo further protect your brand from getting hacked again, search for tactics that will keep your virtual accounts safeguarded for the time being. Change your passwords for all social networks and emails - if your Twitter was infected, there's no way to ensure your other accounts are safe unless those passwords are changed as well.