We got hacked! Here’s what we learned from it…

It’s every entrepreneur’s nightmare.

Even just seeing others go through it sends feelings of pity, fear, and good ol’ anxiety running through you.

We don’t wish it on ANYONE.

If getting hacked  is a big fear of yours, you’re 1,000% not alone. After it happened to us, we got a FLOOD of emails, texts, calls, and DMS  of people wondering what happened and how they could avoid it. Now, after a couple of ice cream therapy sessions and a good cry sesh, we finally feel like we have come to terms with what happened and even (dare we say it) gathered a few lessons from our experience. 

First, some back story. We’re still unsure even to this day how we got hacked. It began with a message from Meta themselves. We saw it was verified and nothing looked sketchy.  It was Meta through and through. They reported to us (via DM) that our account was being accused of copyright infringement and if we want to fight it we should fill out a form. The form was again a Meta official form that requested our login information, details about the “case”, etc. We provided the necessary information and moved on with our day. It happened to be a weekend where everyone was having issues with Instagram and so it didn’t seem out of the ordinary until we stopped being able to log into our account…

Feel free to insert a dunh, dunh, dunhhhhhhh here (it just feels right). 

After we got locked out, we started to take action. There are some things we’re glad we did, some things that weren’t so helpful, and lots of things we wished we would have done differently. But all in all, we learned and grew from this experience. So here are our tips for you (again, we hope you’ll never need them)

  1. Get Meta Verified. This is something we took action on immediately after getting hacked and unfortunately it didn’t help BUT we learned how it can help you avoid getting hacked in the first place. When you are meta-verified, you must provide proof of ownership before being able to switch the name or pictures on your account. Our lovely hacker friend immediately changed these things on our account invalidating any form of authentication we could have provided (facial recognition, 2 factor authentication, etc.). Had we been verified, we very possibly could have avoided this whole fiasco! 
  1. Screen Record EV.ER.Y.THING. EVERYTHING!  Call it inspiration, divine intervention, luck, whatever you please… we happened to have the foresight to screen record our account. We took videos of our posts, captions, comments, etc. This was really helpful when we needed to recreate content quickly. We knew what we had already done, what performed well, and who was responding to it. One thing we wish we would have done though was record a list of our followers. More on this next! 
  1. Message past followers. Had we screen recorded our followers list, this would have been a GAMECHANGER for us. You could have a standard message that you copy/paste that explains what happened, mentions the old account name so they can unfollow and block, and invites them to follow the new account. Not only are you able to hopefully gain back the followers you lost, but you can also take this time to ask them what kind of content they would like to see going forward. 
  1. Have multiple established ways to contact customers. Don’t rely solely on one platform when it comes to client contact or even warm lead contact. We were particularly grateful for our email list during this time. We sent out information on the new account as soon as we could. We also knew that our community was built on lots of platforms and that our content could still be accessible to those that were searching for it. This was incredibly reassuring.
  1. Remember, it’s just an Instagram account. Was this event inconvenient? Definitely. But it didn’t affect our sales, our friendships, or our families.  We recovered quickly and honestly created an account that was better than ever before. The relationships you built are deeper than your instagram account. Your community will find you and your content because what you’ve created matters to them! 

Additional Tip: There are people that can hack back into your account for you! We personally didn’t pursue this route because by the time we learned about this option, our hacker friend, Serhat, had already deleted everything – posts, stories, and lots of followers. Plus we had already moved on and created a new account. So for us, it wasn’t worth it. However, if we had known about this option sooner, who knows what might have happened. Perhaps we’d be writing an entirely different blog post!

And even though we said it before, we’ll say it again…we reallyyyyyy hope you never have to use this blog post. But if you do have the unfortunate experience of being hacked, at least now you don’t have to go at it alone.

The bright side to all of this is that Mr. Serhat lit a fire under our butts and we started showing up on Instagram better than ever before. We were motivated to build up our community again and this time, we had more tools and knowledge to do so.

We knew who our ideal client was (which was something we didn’t quite have a grasp on when we built our first account), we knew what worked and what didn’t work, and we had already built solid brand foundations. We’re happy to report that this incident, which could have justifiably brought us down, was able to instead speed up our growth. Our community is better than ever before and we are getting more and more leads each and every day.

So if you haven’t already, come join our community and check out our new Instagram account! We can’t wait to see you there!