Online security is a huge topic right now. Credit card numbers getting stolen. Private email accounts being hacked into. Then you have the security concerns with social media networks, like Snapchat, who recently had a breach of security and 4.5 million photos (you know, those photos they insist disappear) leaked onto a website. These are all big concerns, and there are all sorts of blogs out there with tips to secure your social media networks, but what people don’t talk enough about is how to protect the value of your brand.

Building a brand takes time. Unfortunately, if you don’t protect your brand, the integrity of your brand is at risk. A breach in the integrity of your brand can cause significantly more harm to your company than most any security breach. The social network in which you can build a brand the quickest, but also harm it the quickest, is Twitter. However, if you follow these four guidelines, you’ll minimize risk and allow for your brand to be as protected as it can be.

How to Protect your Brand on Twitter:
Step 1: The Basics – Twitter Account Security:
You can’t protect your brand if you don’t protect the access to your Twitter account. All social networks are vulnerable, and Twitter is no exception. These three tips can help you secure your account.

Change your password every 30 days
Limit who has access to the Twitter account. I suggest limiting access to 2-4 people.
Limit and be cautious with the third-party apps you allow to have access to your account. Many Twitter account security breaches come through third-party apps that users unknowingly granted access to.
Step 2: Integrity – One Strategy, One Voice:
Have a thorough Twitter strategy and a well defined brand voice. Everything you do on Twitter should fit within the strategy and comprised of the brand voice. This creates consistency. Moreover, it leads to brand integrity. If you only share content and interact within the boundaries of your strategy, you’ll always uphold your company values. Here are three tips to ensuring brand integrity:

Create a thorough Twitter strategy and stick to it.
Develop a company voice and don’t deviate from it.
Delete any content (Block/Unfollow people if needed) that does not fall within tips 1 or 2.
Step 3: Monitor -Who is Talking about you & What are they Saying:
You need to monitor the Twitter chat about your brand. This goes further than simply reading what people tweet at you or send via direct message. You need to search for mentions of your brand. Often, people will talk about your brand but not tweet it at you. You may find some things you don’t like. You might find some things you need to address. You can’t protect your brands value if you don’t know what people are saying. You may also uncover customer service issues that you did not know existed. Here are three tips to help protect your brand through monitoring:

Designate one employee that monitoring is part of their daily responsibility.
Setup a process to handle customer service issues. Once you start monitoring what people are saying about your brand, you will find customer service issues and you will need a system to handle them.
Use a tool or software, if needed, to monitor your brand on Twitter. There are several that do a great job. If you need a suggestion, contact myself or ARCH.
Step 4: Employees – Have a Twitter Policy and Educate your Employees:
Employees can be your biggest advocate on Twitter. If they are engaged, they can help give a big boost to your brand. However, employees are often your biggest liability. If they list you as their employer, they represent your brand, no matter what disclaimers you or they put out there. You don’t want to be a company with strict social media policies; nobody will want to work for you. However, you need some basic policies in place. Here are three tips to help educate your employees so that you can protect your brand from them and ensure they are advocates not liabilities:

Have a social media policy. Make sure all employees fully understand and agree to that policy. (I suggest working with your HR Department and legal counsel on creating the policy. Don’t just “wing it.)
Take immediate action when the policy is broken. Involve your HR and/or legal team if needed. The value of your brand is important. You need to protect it. When employees violate the Twitter usage policy and when they damage your brand, take action.
Encourage employees to get involved with growing the brand via Twitter. When you involve the employee with building the brand, regardless of their job title, they are more likely to always keep the integrity of your brand in the forefront of all they do on Twitter.
Do you notice the common theme with each of these four steps to protecting the value of your brand on Twitter? The common theme is that you are in control. It is difficult for anyone else to harm your brand when you take the steps to proactively protect your brand. The biggest threat to your brand on Twitter is yourself. Take the steps needed to ensure the security of the value of your brand.

I can confidently say that I speak for everyone at ARCH when I say that each specialist takes the value of our own personal brand, the value of the ARCH brand, and the value of all of our clients brands very serious. We take respecting the value of your brand equally as serious and any question you may have regarding how to protect your brand on Twitter is welcomed. Whether we ever work together or not, if you have a question about protecting the value of your brand, don’t let it sit and wait, please ask.