10 Privacy & Safety Tips for Influencers
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My wife and I made so many mistakes when we started creating content on social media over 10 years ago. When you're putting yourself out there, a lot of times, you're so focused on making great content that you don't consider how critical it is to keep yourself safe, especially if you have a family or young kids. Look, the internet is a great place to connect with people worldwide and make a career doing something you love, but it can also have its downsides. There are trolls, scammers, and just all-around dishonest people who will try to figure out ways to take advantage of you and even your loved ones. I'm not trying to be scary, trust me. I just want everyone out there to be safe.
So here are 10 must-do safety and privacy tips for influencers.
First up, be cognizant of your surroundings when you're filming, don't show the outside front of your home, especially your street number. And that includes not tagging locations too close to your home.
If you're filming in your car, follow a similar practice of not showing too much, especially if you might keep something in there expensive, like camera equipment. And keep street signs out of you. A good rule of thumb is just to shoot at a high angle pointing down.
When it comes to filming inside your house, be mindful of any packages or mail that show your address and try to avoid windows that reveal too much about your surrounding location as well.
The second tip I have for you is that don't take pictures or film at your kids' school if you have kids. This should be a hard rule, not only for the safety of your kids but also for the safety of other kids who attend that school. Be conscious of showing other children or their friends in any setting. The rule of thumb is to ask permission from their parents first. In fact, in general, just be respectful of your friends and your family and ask them if they want to be filmed or tagged on social media before you do it.
Tip number three, get a UPS Store Box, not a P.O. Box, for several reasons. Number one, you won't have to give out your personal address. Number two, some brands can't ship things to you in a P.O. Box like perishable items. And number three, if, and when you decide to formalize your creator business as an LLC or an S Corp, you can use your UPS Store address so that your home address doesn't show up on the Secretary of State's website where things like addresses are easy to access by the public.
Now we're going to get a little mission impossible here on this next one, but for good reasons.
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Number four is to get a security system. An alarm is great, but more importantly, is a camera system. You can purchase affordable and very effective door and security cameras that are easy to place around areas of your home. Some of these even allow you to monitor through your phone. So you could be out of Starbucks a few miles away and actually see if there's any sneaky activity going on around your home.
Of course, we can't talk about homes safety without talking about our little ones. So tip number five is to talk to your kids about strangers. Believe it or not, sometimes I think we just assume that our kids know better.
If approached by a stranger, you need to make it a habit to prepare your kids to know exactly what to do. For starters, communicate to them that if someone they've never met before ever approaches them, don't listen to anything they say unless you're there with them. Even if the stranger knows their name from you posting about it on social media. It's not okay to interact or go anywhere with this stranger without your permission.
And since we're on the topic of kids, tell your kids' school or daycare about what you do. I know some people are kind of embarrassed that they create content online, but what's worse? A little embarrassment or something happening to your kid. Maybe as informative as you can so that they can understand that it's important to never release any information to anyone without your direct approval.
And most importantly, never allow your child to leave with anyone. You specifically have the approval of first.
Tip number seven, add two-step authentication on all your social media. Yes, all your social media. I know, I know you have the best and most fantastic password ever. However, I highly recommend not using text message-based authentication instead of an authenticator app like Google authenticator. These apps make it much harder for people to hack into your social media. Remember, if you make a significant portion
of your livelihood from social media, you need to take how well you're securing access to those accounts really seriously. You never wanna get into a situation where you get hacked, and the entire career that you've spent years building is just gone like that.
Tip number eight is to also add verbal passwords on important accounts like your bank. This is going to be monumental in preventing identity theft. Many influencers have a lot of information about them floating around out there. Their name, where they live, names of all their family
members, their birthdays, where they were born, and so on. So you can start to see how easily it might be for someone with bad intentions
to piece together all this information and try to mess with your life. Having a verbal password could be the last line of defense to preventing your
identity from being stolen and almost impossible for thieves to get a hold of it. As long as you don't use something obvious as your verbal password. So we've been hammering home about safety and privacy in your home. But what about when you're not at home?
Let's talk about travel. So tip number nine, if possible, don't post on social media when you're traveling unless you have to for a sponsored opportunity. In fact, it's best to not post anything until you get home. This does two things. First, it prevents burglars from targeting your home
while you're gone. If you don't post anything until you get back, they basically missed any real opportunity to take advantage. Second, this is gonna make it hard for people to find you, particularly stalkers. Even if you don't have any stalkers per se, you still wanna be able to go out and enjoy your travels without followers tracking you down.
And tip number 10. If you do meet-ups where you meet your fans or your followers, consider not bringing your kids. If you do bring your kids, consider hiring security. The chances of something terrible happening are probably pretty low, but having a security presence, it's gonna reduce the risk and your stress by a considerable amount. So you might be thinking, "Okay, I get it. You need to be careful,
but this stuff doesn't really apply to me. I don't have that big of a following, so I don't have stalkers or people trying to find out a bunch of information about me." Okay, fine, but what about in three years when you blow up? Basically, no one deletes anything that they post on the internet. So you have to assume that anything you post between now and when you blow up will be there forever. So I always recommend to creators to just start being as careful as possible now, so that you're able to protect yourself and your family so that you never have to deal with any of this kind of stuff.
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