by Sandy Sidhu

Social media is hot. 140 characters is the way to communicate these days and it’s not unusual to hear someone say, “I have 3000 friends.”

We often hear about the success stories, but what about the unsuccessful ones?

Take Jonathan Emile, a Montreal-based hip-hop artist, who has made his living building a fan base online and uses Facebook to communicate with his 80,000 fans. Yeah, you read that right: 80,000.

You can imagine his frustration when last week he was unable to login to his account, leading him to believe his account had been hijacked, likely by a spammer, or a robot software program designed by a spammer. His suspicions were reinforced when he saw someone had used his name to post a link on his fan page site, that Emile said appeared to be malicious: either a virus or spam.

Despite contacting Facebook, he still has not been able to access his account.

So what can you learn from this ?

•Make sure you have other ways to contact and connect with your fans/customers/subscribers, and so on
•Use strong passwords and regularly change them
•Don’t rely on a third party platform to run the bulk of your business!
Facebook and other sites constantly change their Privacy Policies and access rules, not to mention the fact that they may not always be around (remember MySpace?).

Social networking is a great way to reach a new audience, but you have to make sure that you can still communicate with that audience through other means should anything go wrong. It is a good place to get people to interact with you/your company/brand, but you should also encourage your “fans” to either sign up for a newsletter, eBook, and so on, as a way to capture their information and ultimately drive them back to your site, which (hopefully) you own.

Risk management of Facebook – benefits, risks and possible countermeasures