What the Heck Is Privacy? How to Keep Strangers Out of Your Social Media Business

As we connect through social media more each year, it becomes increasingly important to maintain privacy online. Without careful management of personal information, it’s all too easy to let strangers into our lives. By following these simple tips, you can keep your information private on any of the major social media platforms.

Screen Friend Requests


Image via Flickr by Kai

It’s tempting to grow your friends list by accepting every request that comes through, but not everybody who tries to connect with you has good intentions. It’s easy to spot an unwanted presence on your friends list by looking for these common red flags:

  • Reject social media requests from people you don’t know. If someone’s a total stranger and doesn’t have connections to anyone else you know, they’re probably more interested in your private info than socializing.
  • Spam or scam profiles tend to be sparse or obviously don’t belong to a real person. If someone tries to connect with you online but their social media profile seems incomplete or doesn’t have much real-person activity, reject their request.
  • Sometimes a real friend’s account can get hacked. Don’t automatically click links or accept requests from friends. It’s okay to be suspicious if something comes from a friend’s profile but it seems fishy somehow.

Don’t Provide Your Primary Email Address

Whenever you sign up for a new social media account, newsletter, or other online service, don’t offer your real email address first. Use a free webmail program to create a separate email account, or “dummy,” you can use to make sure you won’t receive any spam or lose any personal information to any new service. Once you confirm that the new service is safe and above-board, feel free to use your primary email address to set up an account. And remember: don’t use your real name or any other true, personal information in your dummy account.

Common Webmail Services

  • Gmail
  • Yahoo Mail
  • GMX

Secure Your Wireless Connection

If you’re using a Wi-Fi connection service, such as Clear Wireless, make sure you keep your connection password-protected and encrypted. All modern wireless routers have security settings you can activate and a strong password will make sure that hackers have a hard time hopping on your connection. For both your Wi-Fi connection and your social media accounts, create passwords that are long and use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Protect Your Browser

When you’re online, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes in your web browser. It may store personal information, passwords, and preferences without notifying you. It may also have unwanted “cookies,” which are small programs that can do a variety of things with your online data.

All browsers have cookies that are essential for smooth surfing, but it’s easy for an unfamiliar link on a social media page to lead to a site that secretly installs other cookies on your system that look for personal information. Get to know how your browser works, including how to set your preferences and keep malicious cookies out of your browser.

Good social media security is all about being careful. Pay close attention to what you share, how you share it, and who you share it with to stay safe online.

Five Ways of Promoting Your Business With the Help of Instagram


After being purchased in April 2012, for 1 billion dollars by Facebook, Instagram has become one of the rising stars of social media. This great platform, which is basically a photo sharing application for mobile users, has seen an incredible growth in the last two years. This is awesome news for users and for companies alike, because it means new opportunities for branding strategies. You probably already know that social media is one of the best tools for promoting online businesses, big or small.

Facebook and Twitter have approximately 1 billion users put together, and this means 1 billion reasons why you should join in on the social media revolution. Now more than ever, that technology has enabled users to navigate the internet whenever and wherever they want, should you integrate a mobile sharing app in your business plans. Anyone who is someone in the internet world will tell you that Instagram is an up-and-coming photo-focus network which should be taken into consideration. But how exactly can you use Instagram in order to brand your online business and increase your outreach? Here are five suggestions:

1. Showcase Your Products

It is no secret that more and more people have started purchasing online. Moreover, most purchases are being made from mobile devices, and this is great news for the smart-phone loving app. Some people scroll down their feed out of habit, so why wouldn’t you entice them with some eye-candy? Don’t just post pictures of your regular products. Zoom in on a product and let them guess what it is, or promote items that are on sale or limited edition. In addition, you can give them a sneak peak of your equipment. You don’t necessarily have to be selling something in order to engage with the audience. If you are a painter, for example, you can share your favorite brushes or color palettes, or ask for advice.

2. Show the Public How and Where you Work

People don’t want to connect with robots, they want to connect with normal human beings. If you want to brand your online business, you should try to put yourself in the place of the consumer. Wouldn’t it be great if you could see how people over at Microsoft are working? This is just an example, but it proves a point. Everybody knows that there are more emotional buyers than rational ones, so why not give them what they want? Sharing, what might seem like useless information to you, will make them warm-up to your brand.

3. Add the WOW factor to your Products

The best way of wooing your potential costumers is by showing him what your products can do. Sometimes, promoting an item isn’t enough to make people want to buy it. Most products, like make-up, computers, decorations, or hair products have different uses which you can explore, together with your loyal community. By showing them what your products can do, you might also encourage them to post their very own „visual reviews” of the product. This is the best way to create a meaningful, long-lasting relationship with the public.

4. Give Your Brand an Unique Personality

Instagram is all about building a distinct and unmistakable personality. Decide from the very beginning what kind of entity you want to be. You can either share funny quotes with your public, or try to engage them by asking questions. Either way, you should stick with one plan in order to create a special „aura” for your brand. Link your account to Facebook and Twitter, and let the sharing frenzy begin.

5. Encourage Customer Participation

Did you know that Instagram uses hash-tags exactly like Twitter? This is great news because you can hash-tag things in order to make them easier to find by users. Social media is social after all, so you should encourage your users to share visual content that is related to your brand. In the last year, many huge businesses have started using Instagram for the sole purpose of giving customers an insight on their company. Engage with the user by organizing contests, offering discounts and promoting events. You can even ask your followers what they would like to see or do, or reward them if they’ve proven to be loyal.

While there are no tangible financial profits to be had from using social media platforms, there is no denying their usefulness in building a community, and in the end marketing is all about the people. I can assure you that with the help of a coherent social media campaign, your profits will soar. 

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