Losing access: protect your business profile

Stick figure staring at computer, irritated

Saving your Facebook business page: a prevention guide.

For everything that has to be managed on social media — user engagement, customer service requests and keeping content fresh and interesting — one concern small business owners often overlook is the passage of time.

Employees quit their jobs and social management firms close their doors. When they’re gone, they often take access to online services with them, leaving business owners without any way to access their online identity. Duplicate Facebook pages for a single company are a sure sign that this has happened, with businesses simply making brand new pages when they can’t access the old ones. It’s frustrating for owners, confusing for customers and it waters down the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns, with customer likes, comments and check-ins going to the wrong, inactive pages.

Situations like this arise from owners handing off control of their social media accounts to younger, hourly workers who are tech-savvy. Letting an employee be your social media guru is attractive because it’s fast, it’s easy for them and easy for you. Unfortunately, hourly workers are more likely to leave a company in a relatively short timespan — amicably or not — and when they’re gone, access to the company Facebook page goes with them.

Facebook doesn’t use a typical account-based system for their business pages. Instead, page controls are tied to the personal profiles of the people that create them, and can only be accessed by those users. Even if an ex-employee wants to hand over control of the business page they built, it’s not as simple as texting a username and password: their personal account, which they use to post and engage as themselves, is the key to the business page. That’s something they can’t just turn over. When the ex-employee is uncooperative or can’t be found, it’s a total dead end, especially given Facebook’s lax approach to resolving duplicate page and lost access issues.

Fixing these issues are nigh impossible, but preventing them is simple. Business owners should do one of the following:

  • Personally create the business page, thereby gaining administrator access
  • Let an employee set up the page, and have them immediately grant administrator access to the owner. Set the employee’s access level to “editor.”

Editors can make new posts and update information, but not delete the page or decide who has access. Google+ users should note that Google My Business pages work in a similar way, with business page ownership tied to specific user accounts, and should be handled similarly.

Other non-Facebook services have a more traditional access scheme, with a username and password that grants access directly to the business profile. Company owners should know their login information for these services even if employees take care of day-to-day operations, and be prepared to change passwords as administrators come and go. If using an out-of-company management service, like BizBuzz, make sure they’ve got a contingency plan to get you access to your accounts even if the company folds or employees leave. BizBuzz has a plan in place to protect our customers if something goes wrong.

Be sure who has access and make sure you’re constantly involved and you’ll never lose control of your online identity.