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How Small-Business Owners Can Cast a Social Safety Net We look at six tools that can help protect your company's social-media contacts and content.

By Starr Hall

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Creating a safety net for your social-media activities has never been more important.

When Twitter went down last year for several hours, tweeters believed that it was a service attack with all their personal and business information hacked and lost. Although Twitter denied falling victim to an attack, new hackers and technologies surface daily -- making protecting your social content and contacts all the more vital.

Not only would trying to rebuild your business's social presence be extremely stressful, the loss of information could also ultimately affect your company's results. To avoid this end, here are six tools to help you cast a social safety net:

  1. Backupify.com. This cloud-based service in Cambridge, Mass., offers regular backup of your information that's housed on such sites as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. This site will preserve your online profiles, messages and photo albums in case the originals are corrupted, stolen or simply disappear. Owners can also back up their Google apps data, which could get corrupted by hackers or user error. Prices range from $4.99 to $19.99 a month, depending on how much data and the number of accounts you need to back up. A free version of the service allows users to secure three accounts and one gigabyte of data.
  2. SocialSafe.net. When backing up your data through SocialSafe, which is a social-media backup service from the UK based iBundle, you can create an online and offline, private and searchable digital journal of your entries and photos. You can even travel back in time to see how your social media profile has changed. The free version offers a limited Facebook backup with photos, friends and updates. With the standard upgrade for $3.49 a year, you can back up both your Facebook and Twitter profiles -- saving your direct Twitter messages and mentions along with Facebook photo comments, "likes" and tags. The pro upgrade for $6.99 a year gives you the capability to back up your content on added sites such as Google+ and Viadeo. And for $13.99 a year, you can back up all these sites, along with your business's Facebook Pages. Sorry, they don't offer to back up your LinkedIn contacts and messages at present, but they say they're working on it.
  3. ArchiveFacebook. This free tool from Firefox allows you to save actual web pages from Facebook to your computer. By downloading this Firefox add-on, you can save photos, messages, friend lists, notes, events, groups and other Facebook information directly to your hard drive.
  4. BlogBackupr. This free service from Triop in Sweden offers daily backup of your blog without installing any software. While the service offers to automatically restore blogs running on WordPress and Blogger.com, BlogBackupr also provides back-up support for blogs that run on other systems such as Tumblr. Though, with other systems, all the service can preserve is what you publish through your site's public Really Simple Syndication, or RSS feed.
  5. TweetBackup. Another free offering from Triop is TweetBackup, which provides an archive of up to 3,200 of your tweets and the people or brands you follow. The service is especially appealing because it doesn't require your Twitter password to do the daily backup. Hackers have preyed on Twitter users who've offered up passwords to some applications in the past.
  6. YouTube Downloader. This software allows you to download videos from YouTube, including HD and HQ videos, and convert them to other video formats like MOV or MP3 files. If you don't already have your videos saved on your computer, you can download them from YouTube and save them on your hard drive. This YouTube Downloader is a free program.

It's never too late to get in the habit of preserving your social media information by incorporating a daily backup into your marketing plan. Your social presence is valuable currency these days, so protect it down to the blog post, photo video and link that you shared through one of your social networks.

Related: How to Secure Your Company's Valuable Devices

Starr Hall is a social media strategist, international author and speaker and Associate Partner- Search & Media with Level, A Rosetta Company
www.StarrHall.com

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