Every social network is a little bit different.
Sometimes you post, sometimes you pin, and sometimes you tweet. You might be able to post only images, only videos, or maybe both. You might be limited to as little as 140 characters or as much as 100MB of video. Your images need to be sized differently, filtered in the app or not, and uploaded from a smartphone, a PC, or maybe even both.
But what every social network has in common is security.
For every account you’ll have a login that consists of a username and a password. Maybe your username is your email address – or an old email address you forgot you had – or maybe it is your social media handle, but it’s unique to you. And the password? It might be simple or complicated but it should always be secure and kept private.
And for businesses where more than one person is involved in the marketing effort, this can be a problem.
The Problem with Passwords
Imagine a small business where three people have access to the company’s social networks.
There’s the boss who set up the original Facebook account when the business was first getting into social and who retains access to the accounts. The boss likes to keep a hand on the social media rudder, so to speak, and while they don’t do a lot of posting they keep track of the likes, retweets, favorites, and engagement with the company accounts on their phone.
Then there’s the marketing director. It’s a small business so the head of marketing is not leading a team as much as they are responsible for all of the marketing personally, including the social media marketing. This is the person who does most of the posting, creates the content, schedules that content for sharing, and engages with the network online.
And then there’s the intern. They’ve been brought on for the summer and will be doing little bits of everything, including the marketing. On a break from college, they are interested in social media and seem to live on their phone. With almost an implicit understanding of what works on Twitter and Instagram, the marketing director is happy to have the help.
All three of these people are going to be working on different devices, at different times, but all three will be using the same account, the same login credentials, and the same password.
And this is a problem for a number of reasons.
For one, at least three devices (and likely more as apps are synced to the web on smartphones) are going to be subject to security issues. The more devices that have access to an account, the more likely that someone is going to be able to access that account. While two-factor authentication might work wonderfully well for a personal account, it doesn’t work when the account is shared between people in different places and on different devices.
For another, not all of those people have the same investment in the business. The intern might only be in the business for the summer and, while they need the social network access while working, they need to be locked out when the summer ends. The boss, on the other hand, is there full time, working on their business as their sole source of income – are both going to show the same care in sharing the password and securing the account?
As well, resetting a password can be problematic if a member of the team gets locked out. The boss resets their phone, needs to log in again to Twitter, forgets the password and makes a reset…and thus locks the rest of the team out of the account in the process! What’s worse, if the marketing director tries to reset the password but has no access to the email account where the account was setup, there’s a good chance that they’ll be stopped from accessing the account altogether, too.
Solving the Password Problem
Giving multiple people access to the social media accounts – and thus to the logins and passwords – is largely unavoidable for a small business. But steps can be taken to protect the business, the users of the account, and the security of the social accounts in the wake of a problem.
Have a Social Media Password Policy
Work it out, write it down, and get the team to buy in and sign on. Your password policy should outline who has access to which accounts, why, what they should use the accounts for, and how they’ll access those accounts. When that interns starts in the summer, they should sign on to the policy, and it should be clearly stated when access to the accounts is rescinded.
Use a Password Manager for Your Team
Password managers allow you to create and manage unique passwords for all of your social media accounts, as well as just about any other service online that demands a username, password, or combination of the two. My personal favorite is 1Password but there are plenty of others that do similar things. Purchase your preferred password manager and use the team functionality to keep everyone on the same page, and manage their access to the various accounts.
Change Your Password Regularly
Changing your social media and social network passwords regularly is good practice but keeping everyone clued into the changes when there are multiple users of an account can be tough. Use a password manager and change the password regularly and you won’t have any problems. The password manager ensures that any change to the password is pushed directly to all other users with access to the team’s password manager app or software. If someone changes the password it might have the effect of logging other users out of the network, but a few taps or clicks is all it will take to get back in.
Change Your Password When You Change Your Employees
When that summer intern returns to college it’s time to take some security actions. First, you’ll need to disable access to the password manager for the intern’s account. Next, it’s good practice to change the passwords again. While you might trust your now (former) employee, you’ll want to be sure that the password that you are using is not stored in the cache, in plain text, or elsewhere by the intern. It’s good practice and smart business, too.
Social media marketing is often a task that is shared between multiple members of a team and this can lead to problems of security and password issues. However, with a little planning, a good password policy, and a smart modern password manager, you’ll be able to manage your accounts in total security no matter how many people have the keys to your social kingdom.