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Hacked: How You Should Respond to a Hijack of Your Company’s Twitter Account

By Ted Levin | Small Business

In just the last week, massive companies like Jeep and Burger King have had their Twitter accounts hijacked by a foul mouthed hooligan. While the result of these hackings might be hilarious to the combined 219,200 people that follow these accounts, you can bet that the marketing directors of both of these companies were damn near close to having a heart attack.

If you run social media for your business, hacking is something that you need to be constantly aware of. While being hacked isn’t a be all end all scenario, it can be a PR nightmare if it isn’t properly dealt with. Read on to learn how to deal with a social media hack.

Remain Calm

When you discover that your social media account has been hacked, remain calm. It can be hard not to panic, but in most cases it’s not as big of a deal as you may initially think.

Remember how you were taught to stop, drop, and roll if you ever caught on fire? Think of a social media hack like a fire. If you don’t address it quickly and calmly, it will add fuel to the fire and only become worse.

Address the Issue

After determining that your account has been hacked, immediately change the password. That should be the very first thing you do. Simply changing the password might be enough to stop the hack.

The sooner you’re able to address the hack, the better. In Burger King’s case last week, it took the company nearly an hour before the account was suspended. For a company that size, it should only take a few minutes.

Don’t Overreact

Hacking happens. Even if you take the most secure precautions, your account is susceptible to a hacking. As long as the hackers don’t steal any personal or financial information, the hacking isn’t a huge deal.

Both Burger King and Jeep are great examples of how to respond to a social media hack.  Burger King made light of the situation, by tweeting:

“Interesting day here at BURGER KING, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!”

When Jeep was hacked the next day, Burger King offered its condolences, saying it was glad that everything was back to normal. Jeep responded to that message, with a great line of its own:

“Thanks BK. Let us know if you want to grab a burger and swap stories-we’ll drive.”

At the end of the day, the hacking doesn’t do much damage. In fact, it resulted in thousands of new followers for both brands. Both brands realized this, and responded in a lighthearted manner. Even MTV and BET staged their own “hackings” for publicity, although all it seemed to be was obnoxious.

If your company ever experiences a hack of this nature, it’s best to react in the same way that these prolific brands did. No one was hurt, no information was compromised, and everybody had some laughs. There is no need to make a bigger deal of it than it is.

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