An Australian cosmetics company is warning fellow small businesses to be careful after its Facebook page was hacked.
Cherry Blooms, which announced a deal with US retail giant Nordstrom last month, had its Facebook account hacked four days ago.
While the Gold Coast cosmetics company has since regained access to its page, it has been locked out of its business manager account, which allows it to nominate Facebook administrators and manage advertising campaigns.
Cherry Blooms has taken to Instagram to warn other small businesses about how easy it is to fall victim to similar issues.
“Scarily, this could happen to any business large or small,” the company told its followers.
“Don’t think you are not at risk. We depend on our online community for support and have invested hundreds of hours in time to build our beautiful community. Every follower is hard earned. It’s like investing in real estate only to find you no longer own it.”
Cherry Blooms is on track to turnover $10 million by the end of the current financial year and, like many fast-growing businesses, relies heavily on social media in order to engage with customers and drive sales.
The cosmetics company has more than 54,000 Facebook likes and regularly posts giveaways, news and funny memes.
Founder Jellaine Dee told SmartCompany this morningwhat happened to her business can happen to anyone.
Businesses need to act quickly as soon as they find out their account has been hacked, according to Dee.
“We immediately notified our customers via Facebook as well as our newsletter list,” she says.
“We had already planned that if anything happened to Facebook we would have other ways to contact our customers because we saw other businesses go through it – but never thought it would happen to us.
“So we’ve been able to let our customers know, but it’s been really difficult to get a hold of someone at Facebook about getting our [Facebook] business manager page back.”
Dee says she is now in contact with someone from Facebook, however, the process has been “not as easy as we thought it would be”.
“Have a back-up plan should it happen to you,” she says.
“Have as many resources at hand as possible; don’t try to handle it yourself. Let your community know – it happens to anyone, big companies and small companies. It’s just a matter of when, not if.”
Researched published last month revealed how only about 2% of small businesses are adequately protecting their online information.
“There’s more hackers now and they’re getting smarter, so businesses need to be prepared,” Dee says.