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Burger King Gets Hacked: 4 Rules for Surviving a Social Account Hack

Twitter logo outlineI mentioned the big mistake in social marketing yesterday, but failed to note one of the big social media marketing stories of the day. The story? Burger King’s Twitter account got hacked.

Getting hacked is no fun at all. I’ve lived through it several times (once here, once on Twitter, once on Facebook, and once on a corporate site). The Facebook one was my fault (I’d used a public computer to check my private messages and forgot to log out), but the others caused just as many headaches.

I’ve covered how to ensure your website stays alive in the past, but I’ve never shared my experience with social sites before. Mnay of the same tips apply, but here are a few worth noting:

  1. Have a plan. Knowing what you’ll do in advance can help you recover quickly. Expect that you will be hacked and plan ahead for what you’ll communicate with fans, friends, and followers.
  2. Be upfront about what’s happening. While it’s unfortunate and, frankly, embarrassing, your followers usually will be understanding. Just keep them in the loop.
  3. Use alternate channels to continue communicating. One of the best reasons for having a presence in multiple social channels is that you can continue to communicate with your fans and followers via the accounts that weren’t compromised.
  4. Remember, it can happen to anyone. Sad, but true. Most social accounts fall into one of two categories: Have been hacked and will be hacked. If you’ve got any kind of follower count, you can bet the bad guys are looking for an opportunity to scam you. Make sure you’ve got a plan for how to handle any attack. Take note of Twitter’s steps to correct a compromised account and Facebook’s “Hacked Accounts” page. (For Google+, you need to reset your password first and Pinterest doesn’t seem to have an account recovery option that I can find).

Getting one of your social accounts hacked is no fun. It’s a pain in the rear and, unfortunately, can cost both time and money to correct. But with some proper planning and a robust web presence, you can usually recover relatively quickly. And, with any luck, you’ll never have to use your plan.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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