How secure is your business's Facebook page? No, I don’t mean secure from password hackers or spammers. I mean how secure is the future of your page from staff fluctuations and the inevitable revolving door of administrators?
Case in point: This week, we’ve been helping one of our clients salvage a Facebook page that essentially seemed to vanish into thin air. It’s one of several they manage nationwide, and while the exact details are still unclear, it appears to have disappeared shortly after the exit of an employee who was its only administrator.
I can’t tell you much more, but I can tell you this: You don’t want to lose access to your Facebook page. It’s not like being locked out of your house. It's like coming home to find your house has been relocated to the bottom of the ocean.
In this case, Facebook has proven quite helpful, but the experience has gotten us thinking about some safeguards that businesses can put in place to help ensure a smooth transition through almost any internal shifts and shenanigans:
1. Make the most of Facebook’s admin roles
One key reason brands don't have more Facebook admins is because for many years, admins wielded absolute power. That meant that adding admins meant entrusting each one with mighty powers to create or delete content, not to mention removing other admins.
But just a few months back, Facebook launched a much-needed new feature for brand pages: tiered access for admins. This means you no longer have to give the analytics guy all the keys to the content kingdom just so he can pull some monthly numbers.
The options for admin roles are currently:
- Manager: Can manage admin roles, send messages and create posts as the Page, create ads and view insights.
- Content Creator: Can edit the Page, send messages and create posts as the Page, create ads and view insights.
- Moderator: Can respond to and delete comments on the Page, send messages as the Page, create ads, and view insights
- Advertiser: Can create ads and view insights.
- Insights Analyst: Can view insights.
Depending on the size of your organization, this level of variety can be incredibly helpful for securing your page — not just from malicious sabotage, but also (and more likely) from accidental posting or edits.
2. Add your admins now, because Facebook won’t do it later
“For legal reasons, we don't have the capability to add admins to Pages from our end.” Thus spoke Facebook when we first inquired about our client's missing page. So even though the page still existed somewhere in Facebook’s vault of data, we couldn’t reassign it to another admin from the company or our agency.
That’s bad. Real bad. The only remaining solution is to create a new page and work with Facebook to have your original fans migrated over. I’m just thankful that Facebook’s willing to do this much, but it obviously hinges on you having a relationship with some Facebook folks. We do, but not everyone is so lucky.
The moral is to make sure your Facebook admin bench is as deep as possible without exposing you to unnecessary risk. While the ideal team varies based on your company’s structure, it’s generally wise to ensure that each director-level leader in marketing, PR or digital strategy at least has some admin role on all brand pages.
On the other hand, high-level supervisors need to be respectful of the ground rules that come with admin privilege. That means no lurking over the page and acting as the divine hammer of comment deletion. Let your community management teams do their jobs and run the day-to-day page administration.
Oh, and if you do become an admin, resist the urge click Like when your brand posts on Facebook. In our field, that’s a facepalm-worthy faux pas.
3. Use third-party page management tools
Sometimes having too many Facebook admins can be a bigger problem than having too few. Even with the new admin permission levels, it can become frustrating to maintain a core team and update responsibilities as staffers come and go.
That’s one of the reasons I like third-party software suites that help you manage multiple accounts for a brand. There are a lot of benefits to such a tool: It’s convenient, it saves you the time of logging in and out of multiple channels, etc.
But one of the most overlooked benefits is that many social media management tools allow you to have a relatively large social media team without having to give everyone direct admin access or passwords.
For example, we use Social Engage, a paid tool previously known as CoTweet Enterprise. One reason it’s a good fit for clients with customer service call centers is that they can have several team members responding to customers on Facebook and Twitter without any of those employees actually becoming admins or learning any passwords other than their Social Engage log-in. Also, security settings within the software let you limit the impact any one user can have on other users or the brand as a whole.
Again, it’s important to have a Facebook admin team that’s large enough to ensure you’ll be able to manage any transition, but tools like these can also help you avoid going too far in the opposite direction and having too many cooks in the Facebook kitchen.
4. Audit your admins monthly or quarterly
Unless you’re running your business solo, it’s worth scheduling an occasional audit of who all has admin permission on your Facebook pages. Here at Luckie, we manage dozens of client pages, and despite our relatively low turnover rate (our average employee tenure is seven years) I still check our pages monthly to ensure that the admin team is up to date for each.
Obviously, it’s also wise to remove admins or change account passwords when an employee has left the company. The best course of action is to work with your IT department to incorporate social media access review into their official procedures for exiting employees. That way you’ll have an added safeguard to help raise any warning flags when someone is moving on.
5. Ask your fans for their emails.
Let’s talk worst-case scenario: You lose access to your Facebook page and, for whatever reason, Facebook isn’t able to help you migrate fans from the original page to a new one.
Heck, let’s go one better/worse: Facebook shuts down for good and takes all your fans with it. Over night — if you’ve gone all in on Facebook, at least — your social channel of choice, your digital community dwindles to zero.
What would you do? Panic, obviously. But then what?
Such a nightmare scenario is just one of many reasons to be gathering your fans’ email addresses now. If you can contact them directly, you can reach them in any dire circumstance. And barring disaster, you’ll also have a nicely segmented email database that can be supplemented with their preferences for product info, discounts, or whatever other news you might want to share.
Of course you can’t just post a Facebook status that says: “Hey everybody, what’s your email address? Let us know in the comments!”
Instead, simply make email acquisition a key component of your promotions and giveaways, on Facebook or anywhere else. You’re probably already requiring email addresses in your promotions, but are you thinking ahead about how they could be used and writing your opt-in messages accordingly?
This seems obvious, but the reality for many brands is that it’s quite difficult and time-consuming to gather an email database that even comes close to the size of their Facebook audiences. One promotion isn’t going to cut it. Nor two.
Different fans have different motivations for sharing their contact information. For some, it’s about entering to win. For others, it’s about getting early access to discounts and new releases. You’ll need to experiment with a variety of these approaches if you want to get an email database that’s even somewhat representative of your Facebook fan base.
Hopefully these tips will help you not only avoid potential disaster but also ensure your pages are structured in the best possible way for the future. Unfortunately, no amount of preparation can make your page invincible — or immortal — but if you plan for the worst, every other potential roadblock will feel like a speed bump by comparison.
Photo credit: Matthew High on Flickr.