Who owns your company’s social media accounts?  You may think you do, but the best way to be sure is to have defined social media policies.

Using social media creates terrific opportunities.  In the early years, many small businesses treated social media as an experiment without giving much thought to ownership questions. 

Today, while social media is primarily a marketing function, it touches IT and HR, too.  As Facebook, LinkedIn, and other accounts become more valuable, you need to have social media policies in place to protect your business.  Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Create and Register Accounts in Your Company Name

Wherever possible, set up formal social media accounts in your company name, not an individual person’s name.  Consider using a generic company email address as a username, create a password, and share those with authorized account administrators.

Address Ownership Specifically

Clearly specify that company sites, content and follower groups are and remain the exclusive property of the company.   For example, blog posts written on behalf of the company are not deleted when the writer leaves your employ.  Or, members in a company-sponsored LinkedIn group do not transfer with the group moderator if she leaves (unless they are also personal LinkedIn connections).    

All social sites have different ownership and transfer guidelines (ranging from precise to vague).  Become familiar with the rules for the sites you use and apply them to your business accordingly.

Allow Multiple Users Admin Access

Do not leave the administrative usernames and passwords to your social sites in the hands of only one person.  In case of an unfriendly separation, she can hold your social sites “hostage”, leaving you with no access, or worse, negative postings.  (This is rare, but it happens.)

Set Expectations for Employee Separation

When a social media administrator leaves, he should provide complete information, including usernames and passwords, to all company social media accounts.  As part of your employee separation process, remove access to social media accounts just like you would for email or any other business software. 

Confidentiality, Confidentiality, Confidentiality

Identify what you believe is acceptable to post and who is permitted to post on company sites.  In general, confidentiality rules in place for all company information apply to social media as well. 

Take the time to protect your social media accounts. To avoid misunderstanding, or worse, lawsuits, write specific policies that all employees understand.  

If you’d like to know more about how CRU Solutions can help with your business IT, contact us