Even though social media has become mainstream, there are surprisingly many companies who haven’t secured their social media accounts. How do I know this? Because on a regular basis, I’m asked about the ‘best ways to safeguard your company social media accounts.’
Rather than leave things up to chance, let’s discover the best practices for securing your online accounts so you can feel more comfortable about one of your most valuable company assets.
We’ve all witnessed one or more embarrassing or dangerous debacles that happen when social media accounts are not secure. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
Here’s how to safeguard your company social media accounts.
Let’s break this down into easy-to-digest parts. You can examine each one, determine if you’re on the right track and make a course correction if necessary.
Setting Up and Securing Social Media Profiles
Step 1: Always use work emails for social media Admins. Provide your social media manager (or really any employee) with a work email, one that you as the owner have control over, such as [email protected]
For your social media manager, it’s fine to use something like, “[email protected],” as long as the email is hosted on your own server and your IT department controls it.
Step 2: Periodically confirm your Admins. Make sure your social media manager and other Admins are using their specific work email addresses.
If something happens (they leave, you terminate them, they become unable to perform their job, etc), you’ll have control over that email and you’ll change the password immediately.
Step 3: Setting up Facebook. All Facebook Business Pages are created and set up using a personal profile (ie: you log in through a personal account to access the Business Page). I recommend using something similar to what I suggested earlier, “[email protected]” to set up the personal profile for the company.
Once that’s done, you’ll “Create a page” (as Facebook calls it) while logged into that personal profile. Once the page is set up, you’ll make at least three trusted people “Admins” of the page:
- Your social media manager.
- You, your GM or CEO.
- Your CFO or HR Manager.
ProTip: If your Facebook page and other profiles are already set up and/or you’ve been using them for a while, perform a quick audit of the Admins to make sure you’re following these best practices. Don’t wait until it’s too late – after someone has left and you’ve inadvertently given up control of your page to non-stakeholders.
Again, the social media manager should only be able to use their work email address to access the page. If they ever leave, you’ll have control over it and change the password immediately.
If someone has accidentally or unknowingly made them an Admin using their personal email (their non-work email), you can easily remove them as an Admin and invite them back using their preferred work email address.
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Additional Actions to Safeguard Your Company Social Media
It’s important to cover all your bases when it comes to company assets and reputation. Ensure against common catastrophes by including these steps in your overall digital strategy.
1. Hire the Right Person.
I know that sounds obvious but I always mention it to reinforce the importance.
Here’s what nobody tells you: hiring a social media manager is a challenge.
During the hiring process, you’ll need to figure out who measures up and who doesn’t. Many business owners or HR managers don’t spend a lot of time on social networks so it’s quite a challenge to figure out who the best candidate may be.
When you’re ready to hire your social media manager, pose specific questions to your candidates. Their answers will inform your decision and help you pick the right person. Questions such as:
- What social media platform(s) are best for your business? (and have them explain why).
- What’s the most important thing a social media manager should be doing?
- Have they ever had to handle a social media crisis? If so, explain the outcome.
- What social media strategies they plan to use to generate leads?
- Ask them what their first goals would be.
2. Implement a Policy for Employee Use of Social Media.
Even good employees are capable of going to the dark side. The name of the game is to provide an environment that mitigates it.
Negative environments often reflect company culture, employee morale and job satisfaction. Most every owner, GM or manager believes they are providing a safe, productive, supportive and enjoyable workplace. However, employee perceptions don’t always align with management assumptions.
Regardless of the reasons why negative outcomes happen, it’s best to have a clear cut social media policy that everyone agrees to and adheres to.
Should something go wrong – such has a disgruntled employee taking over your social media accounts – a Policy for Employee Use of Social Media itemizes the penalties for specific behavior, creating a deterrent should things not go as expected.
Your social media policy should:
- Set the parameters for employee use of social media
- Describe the value of social media
- Briefly outline each platform and best practices
- Describe any unique, company-specific situations where a problem can arise
- Establish protocol when a situation calls for escalation
- How to handle a problem or crisis
The target outcome of a social media policy should help your company market itself successfully on social media while protecting it from precarious situations that lead to outright debacles.
The social media policy should be included in your hire package for all new employees, along with a signed acknowledgement from them to store in their personnel file.
For current employees, I would have a meeting explaining that you’re planning on implementing a social media policy and convey why it’s important. Pass out a copy of the new policy and allow a few days for each employee to review it (and for you to answer their questions). Then, within a week or less, require them to return the signed acknowledgement to the HR manager.
A word of caution…
Under no circumstances should a company ask for access (including login and password) to employees’ personal social media accounts.
When it comes to employers asking for access to an applicant’s or employee’s private social media pages, many state legislatures have drawn a firm line. Nearly half of states have passed laws prohibiting employers from asking applicants and employees for their social media login information, to bring up their social media pages in the employer’s presence, to change their privacy settings to make the page accessible to the employer, or to add anyone as a “friend” or contact to a social media page.
This practice also sends very negative messages to your rank and file that you don’t trust them. There’s no real benefit to asking and it does a lot of harm. Instead, allow your social media policy do its job.
There have been far too many situations where company social media accounts have not been secured. Please use these steps to assess your own process and policies.
Every company has distinct and important needs.
To create the best possible outcomes, I believe it’s crucial to incorporate a company’s unique needs, specific daily operational situations, and employee relations into each social media policy.
If you don’t have access to a social media policy or need help implementing one, get in touch with me – I’m happy to help.