The Story of a Screaming Social Media Manager

Does this sound at all familiar?

Social Media Manager (SMM): “We need a Facebook page.”
Person In Charge (PIC): “Great idea! Go make one.”

[SMM makes page and they are the only admin.]

SMM:”We need a Twitter account”
PIC: “Great idea! Go make one.”

[SMM creates account and the rescue email is their own work account or, worse, their personal account.]

SMM: “We need accounts for YouTube and Pinterest and Instagram and…”
PIC: “Great idea! Go do it. Make whatever you think we need.”

[SMM creates all needed accounts. They use their own work or personal account for setup and their own mobile phone for reference. Then, a few months later…]

SMM: “I’m sorry to say, I’ve taken another job. Here’s my notice.”
PIC: “We’ll miss you! Good luck…”

[No one does a full knowledge transfer. SMM disappears into the blackhole into which past employees sometimes fall. ]

NEW SMM: “So, how do I get into all our Social Networking sites.”
PIC: “Oh. um… Guess you’ll need to figure that out.”

[NEW SMM plots elaborate revenge on original SMM…]

Over the past few months, I’ve spent days – yes days – tracking down and trying to reset social networking accounts for various people because they were originally set up by an intern, an associate who’s no longer with the company or even a past vendor. My response:

How to Avoid the Screaming SMM

Instead of going into detail about the trials and tribulations of this process, I’d like to give you the following steps to avoid this issue.

  • Have a plan, not a reaction. For each social site you set up, be sure you’ve got a plan to use it and how it will be used. Creating accounts, putting your info on them and then never using them can create an issue down the line.
  • Create a central, generic email account. As a rule of thumb, I create a GMAIL account for each of my clients, even if they have one themselves. This account is used for ALL social sites setups whenever possible (Facebook is an issue all its own). If all else fails, this ONE account is what you really need in order get passwords reset and gain access to all the other sites.
  • Let others in. Social Media accounts should be known by at least TWO sources – the person primarily using it and the person least likely to leave the organization. Have regular turnover? Let your second knowledge source be a written document.
  • Do a FULL knowledge dump. Whether someone leaves by choice or on request, get stuff out of their heads and into someone else’s, or on to paper. If they had a schedule for their work, a process, you should get that from them. Most importantly, get the access from them (and be sure to change it all once they’re gone!)
  • Update your records. When you change all the passwords or who has access, document that somewhere. As you add accounts, be sur to update your master source as well.
  • Don’t limit info to just the username/password. Many sites include “security questions” like “Your first pet” or “Your third grade teacher’s name.” Since many people will put in their personal information when they see questions like this, be sure you get that info from them as well.

Now, go gather your credentials and save your Social Media Manager a few headaches. Thanks!



One comment on “The Story of a Screaming Social Media Manager

  1. Good advice. I follow all of these practices with clients and did when I was in corporate. I would add three points.

    1. Keep a master password list on paper or on CD-ROM (flash drives degrade over time more quickly than paper or CD) in a physically diverse place. Hard drives melt down for no reason. Buildings burn down. Keeping a master list in a safe deposit box at your bank, for example, ensures it is protected in the case of some catastrophic event at the office or with your equipment. And update it quarterly if not monthly.

    2. If you have others setting up accounts for you, give them instruction on security question responses. These responses do not actually have to be someone’s mom’s maiden name. You could use a simple variation of the company name or a single made-up word as your response to pet’s first name, grade school, first phone number, etc. The form doesn’t care. If you want to go a step further, you could add “FB” or “TW” to the end of the word to distinguish accounts, though this isn’t entirely necessary.

    3. For the generic Gmail account, enable two-factor authentication to help prevent general cracking or unauthorized password changes by interns, for example.

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