Just how much can you trust people with your online business presence?
I can already see Social Media marketers all over the World saying ‘HEY!’ and getting very irate when they read the above question, but unfortunately, if you are a business that has spent many years as well as a lot of money building a winning social media campaign, then you can’t afford to NOT ask that question.
When times are good and people are happy, it is very easy to think that things will always be that way, and you would never dream that anyone of your team members would ever deliberately sabotage your company’s reputation in any way. However, history has shown us that that is not always the case, with many a great working relationship suddenly turning bitter.
And like everything, when a new way to market your business emerges, so does a new way to sabotage it.
Digital vandalism or intellectual property theft as it is more officially known is now very real and in seconds can tear down a reputation that you have been building before you even know it is happening.
Stories of disgruntled employees accessing business Facebook pages and either posting inappropriate information or in more extreme cases, deleting the accounts all together are popping up with more regularity.
The list of cases is quite scary to read, and although some could be completely innocent, others are downright malicious:
- They strip you of your admin rights, deleting all other admin control apart from their own.
- They change your page/company name to something rude, degrading or slanderous.
- They change all passwords and email address’ so that no one can gain access or change passwords without them.
- They trash your online reputation by posting inappropriate content on your page as if it is your company
- They delete the entire account and all the work you have put into it
So, what can you do to make sure that your business accounts are protected from digital vandalism?
- Prevention is always better than the cure;
And by this I mean make sure that the main admin on your account is you. Employees should not be setting up pages to their personal accounts, using personal emails or having passwords that you don’t know. In the example of Facebook, you should always be the main manager and all other employees should be admins or users, that way, they have limited control over what is posted and can NEVER delete the account.
- Keep an eye on the accounts;
Social media is quickly becoming the way that clients, potential clients and competitors view and interact with your business. As the manager or owner of that business it makes sense to keep yourself in touch with what is being said on your behalf. By making sure that you check your accounts once a day, you are putting yourself in a great position to catch any sabotage or inappropriate content quickly enough to be able to shut it down before too much damage is done.
- Ensure that your contracts include social media policies;
Although this won’t help you immediately, having your employees sign a legal contract stating what they can and cannot do whilst employed and after can help to deter them from lashing out online and will definitely put the law on your side if you choose to take it further.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow the above, and as businesses embrace social media more and more, you can bet your bottom dollar that we will see a rise in the number of cases of digital vandalism as well.
What do you do if you have already become a victim;
Well, this differs depending on the social media platform as all have their own policies and procedures to recover deleted or ‘shut-out’ accounts.
In each case however, you have to contact the help desks and alert them of the infringement and it is then up to the platform administrators to decide what to do next. In some cases, you may not be able to get your accounts back, especially if they have been deleted all together, in others they may be able to find your account and help you gain back control. Sometimes, this can take weeks and the longer it takes, the longer they have to continue posting to your followers and even responding on your behalf.
It is easy to think of social media as a fluffy add on to your marketing campaign and to forget that the reason social media for business has boomed is the potential audience that it puts you in front of, which is great when everything is rosy and disastrous when in the wrong hands.
The bottom line is to never trust anyone completely with something as transparent as social media. Take all the necessary precautions to protect your accounts from malicious attack from day one and you won’t find yourself trying to sort it out later.