There’s a disturbing trend in my industry that I’m seeing and not liking, and that is a business owner’s lack of control of their social media pages. Every day I talk to more business owners who either had an employee or an outside company managing their social media pages, thereby also managing their reputation, but do NOT have access to their own pages!
In Facebook’s help community alone, I have found no less than 30 questions posted by business owners looking to resolve this issue, all have gone unanswered by Facebook and the community — including my own post. Each story reads similarly: “We had (employee name/business name) managing our social media page(s). We decided the goals weren’t being met so we (fired employee)(parted ways), but we don’t have access to our pages so we
can’t make changes. Can anyone help us regain control?”
When it comes to managing your reputation and social pages, trust can only go so far. You absolutely have to know what is being said about you and your business, and, more importantly, what the responses are or have been. Below are 7 tips to help you take action today:
- Create your own pages. If your company doesn’t have social pages created yet, create them yourself, then add an employee or outside management company as an administrator — not the other way around. This helps you control who logs in where and how.
- Amend agreements when relationship shifts. For an employee, ask your HR rep to amend both the job description and employee agreement to include the social media management duties (be as detailed as possible). For an outside management company, make sure the contract details exactly what the scope of social media management will be, and what isn’t included.
- Use editorial and posting calendars. Take an active part in the marketing direction of your posts and conversations. Strategically plan which posts should be announced on certain days/times, and determine the best platform(s) to make the announcements. Try adding a short signup form to a free white paper download and measure results. This allows you to see what is being said in your business’ name.
- Require reports. Ask for regular monthly reports. Pay close attention to areas such as best posting days/times, sentiment, best monthly posts, and influence. The best monthly posts should show you who created these posts, what the level of engagement was, and the responses.
- Create a social media policy handbook. Put in writing exactly what can and can’t be posted or discussed about your business on social media platforms. Include your definition of “intellectual property” and “sensitive information”. Decide on a “disaster strategy” should your business receive any negative sentiment or feedback. Share this with your board of directors, strategic partners, contractors and employees.
- Set up Google alerts. Decide on keywords and phrases you want to watch and be alerted to if used, including both your name and your business’ name. These alerts can be delivered via Google Gmail. Set up this Gmail address on your mobile device to keep you closer to potential issues, allowing you to proactively respond.
- Change passwords. If your company and the employee or outside management company have a parting of the ways, ask your HR rep to draw up a short form with two signature lines, indicating the employee or representative does not possess any of your intellectual property and are being requested to not post any negative comments about your company. As soon as the relationship is dissolved, change all passwords immediately.
If an employee or company doesn’t want to play by your rules, don’t hire them. Creating guidelines and processes for your company’s social media practices allows your business to be social and engage with
your audience online while putting the necessary controls in place to manage your reputation.
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.