As a social media influencer, you share a lot of information about yourself online. Whether you’re an influencer in the fashion sphere, food sphere, or fitness sphere, you work hard to cultivate a healthy relationship with your followers. While sharing information about yourself helps you authentically connect with your audience, it can open you up to dangerous situations on and offline.
Knowing how to protect yourself online can help prevent your personal information from being stolen and protect you from other malicious intent.
Here are some of our top tips to protect yourself against cyber-stalkers while maintaining and cultivating your online audience.
We’ve heard this consistently as we’ve grown up: think twice before you say anything. This is especially true for the internet where everything you say or post is out there forever. Before posting, consider if it’s something you’d regret having mentioned in a few year’s time. Also, acknowledge what future employers might think if you plan on changing jobs or getting back into the workforce at some point. Nearly 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates, so you want to ensure they won’t find anything to blacklist you.
Understand Privacy Policies
Understanding the privacy policies of each social media platform you’re using can not only help you stay safe but also determine when it’s ok to remove or block specific comments or users. On most social media platforms, you can adjust your settings so only particular people can see your profile or comment on your photos. While these practices might not be conducive to creating an open community, it can help protect you against stalkers and online trolls. You can review different privacy policies here:
Keep Your Personal Info Personal
Really, keep your personal information to yourself. There are many dangers of sharing personal information online. The more information you put out there, the easier it will be for hackers to steal your information and use it to their advantage. This means not sharing information about which bank you use (let alone your account information), where you live, phone numbers, social security number (duh), where you work, etc. Hackers and cyber-stalkers can piece this information together to come with a relatively holistic idea of who you are.
Don’t Post in Real Time
Along the same lines as not posting personal information online, also don’t publish where you are in real time, either. Perhaps you remember in 2016 when Kim Kardashian was robbed in her Paris hotel. The robbers had tracked her through her location postings on social media and were able to determine exactly where she was staying. Posting in real time can help a cyber-stalker figure out your routine and where you are at any given moment. In addition to not posting in real time, you also should never post about upcoming trips. If cyber-stalkers have figured out where you live and have, for example, seen how many nice things you have through your YouTube channel, it opens your home up to break-in and theft while you’re away.
Separate Your Personal Profile from Your Influencer Profile
Separating your personal Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account from your influencer persona can add an additional layer of security to your online life. For example, when you post a new blog post or video, add the post to your fan page rather than your personal Facebook profile. There’s also an added benefit of doing this which is you can reach a wider audience with a fan page than only posting to your personal Facebook account and just reaching your friends.
Know When to Report
When preventative safety measures fail, you have to know when to take action and report inappropriate behavior. If someone continuously harasses you or threatens you online, you are within your right to block him/her from your follower’s list and report that person to the site administrator. If you suspect further inappropriate behavior like stalking outside of the online sphere, you might need to get the police involved to learn about your options.
Having an online community you can share common interests with is a fantastic experience. You can make it even better by using these tips to help keep you safe in the long run. You and your community will thank you for it.