I’m helping a small business owner whose Facebook page was hijacked by a disgruntled former employee. A few things I’d like to share with other small business owners – useful mostly if you don’t have a strong working knowledge of Facebook and a very small team (no marketing person.)
1. Social media is an asset, like your checking accounts and your inventory. You need a system of checks and balances, no matter how simple and no matter how much you trust your social media person.
2. Every business should have a “domain based email” account – for example, I have firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com – even if you use gmail for everyday purposes. It saves A LOT of time & headaches if you can contact Facebook/Twitter/Etc with a truly professional email address that is linked to your business or organization. So even if you rarely use it, set it up with your webhosting company and have it ready. You can use gmail/earthlink, etc but it will be a lot more hoops you’ll be jumping through.
3. Make sure you understand the difference between a personal timeline/profile, a group and a page. Just a fundamental overview can help save a lot of grief down the road. Lots of people think their pages have passwords which is typically not true. (This is why if you run a group and say “page” – I will correct you. Accuracy matters more often than we think.) Sometimes it might be worth to hire a tutor for an hour to show you these basics then you can buildon them at your own pace.
4. Always maintain an administrator role on social media accounts that represent your business, even if someone else does the day to day work. Always keep the passwords to email addresses associated with those accounts. Always.
5. If you are going to use Facebook advertising, promotions or other tools – learn the rules. They will shut you down fast if you go off course, so don’t assume something is okay and don’t trust your friend’s daughter or your favorite client. Make sure you know, especially if it involves money or prizes. And don’t trust google articles dated earlier than 2016. Things change and fast.
6. If you get smacked by Facebook, get some professional help to walk you through the amends process. Being mad at Facebook is useless. Figure out what went wrong, set it right and get back on the horse. By professional help, I mean a social media pro to help you get things sorted out, not a therapist 🙂
7. Be patient. We are on Day 14 of processing paperwork, forms, etc for the situation I mentioned above. The domain email would have saved us at least a week I think.
8. Finally, if you need help – ask. There are people who will walk through this with you. Ask your local business group, ask the merchants association, ask the CDC, ask until you find someone.
I do some occasional work supporting small businesses and organizations with social media through my company, SueCat Social Media LLC I like to say I’m the person to call if you want someone to teach your mom how to use Facebook. Not so much Snapchat.
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