Consider this scenario…

You understand the importance of digital marketing in today’s business world. You know that in order to compete, your business needs a Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or Facebook account. You’ve either assigned this task to an employee, or you’ve outsourced it to a marketing expert.

This person establishes accounts in your company’s name, word spreads like wildfire, and before you know it you have hundreds of social media followers. Your brand is getting attention and you’re building an online reputation.

social-mediaThen one day, your employee gets a great offer from another company and they resign to pursue it. You delete the employee’s email address as part of the normal process of staff turnover. Suddenly, you’re unable to log into your social media profiles. You’ve lost access to those accounts, and all the time and money you invested into online marketing has been washed down the drain.

If all of this sounds unrealistic, think again: This exact disaster happened to the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. The professional basketball team lost their Google+ account, months of content, and all of their 30,000 followers when the employee managing the account quit and their email address was terminated. It takes time to build up a brand on social media, and everything was gone in an instant.

Luckily, there are several very simple safeguards to consider, and each of them would help your company to avoid this entire nightmare scenario.

  1. Use a permanent company email addresses. Never allow an employee or freelancer to use their own email to establish social media profiles. Use a company email that is not tied to an employee, and keep the passwords so that you can access every account linked to that email.
  2. Add multiple managers to social media accounts. Each platform has its own rules regarding this feature, but most social media sites allow multiple users to be added as managers of a particular business page. If one employee leaves the company, others will still have access to the profile.
  3. Don’t be complacent. Digital marketing is a niche specialty, and it can be tempting to hand it off to an employee and never think of it again. But if this employee leaves for any reason, you’ll be completely lost without them.
  4. Know your own social media passwords, and log in regularly just to make sure the account is in good standing.
  5. Before an employee leaves the company, talk with them about any social media accounts they may have set up and make sure you have full control of them.
  6. Consider including clauses on social media usage in future work contracts. It’s unlikely, but a vindictive employee could sabotage your accounts before leaving the company. Ownership of all accounts should be clearly designated to the company, with workers required to surrender passwords upon termination of employment.
  7. Change email and social media passwords each time a social media manager leaves the company.

It doesn’t take much effort to protect your social media accounts, but should a problem occur, the time and energy required to fix it could be monumental. Be proactive so potential disruptions of your digital marketing efforts are prevented.