As marketers we all understand the importance of social media from a strategic standpoint. Many things go into a well-crafted social media strategy that produces results such as traffic to your site, leads and even revenue. But what do we do when colleagues start to create corporate branded social media accounts specifically for their division, department, role or job?
Recently a close friend told me this happened to them. A colleague of theirs created a corporate branded Twitter account without the official approval and administration of the marketing team. When asked about it and for co-posting rights, this colleague ignored his emails, IMs and phone calls. After involving the higher brass, this colleague continued to be defiant without any reasoning as to why the marketing department was being left in the cold. Needless to say, eventually this nonsensical issue and waste of time made its way up to the owner of the company who backed the marketing department of course and the colleague had to give up rights to the Twitter account.
You might be wondering why the owner back the marketing department? It’s just a Twitter account after all right?
Here are the top four reasons why marketing should own administrator rights to any social media and/or marketing channel.
A company’s brand is the most important asset that they own. Marketing departments and executives put a lot of time, money and thought into a brand’s positioning on various topics. They also spend countless hours, days, weeks , months and years creating a public perception that is strategically crafted to build a lasting impression and trust. If a company’s employees create corporate social media accounts without proper approval they are likely to say something that the brand does not want representing them. This could lead to larger issues that could have been avoided.
As we all know Twitter accounts can change usernames and passwords fairly easy. If an employee unofficially creates a corporate branded account, builds up the authority and followership and leaves their company, who owns the account? One would think the account is an asset of the brand, but if the employee changes the log in information what can the brand do to gain ownership? Sometimes going to court is not worth the cost in legal fees.
We all know as marketers that social media is not always an easy channel to track ROI. It takes time and careful planning as well as trial and error to figure out what your audience wants. Having an integrated and unified social media strategy that is in line with the rest of corporate communications and marketing strategies is usually the best approach. If a brand’s employees create their own branded social accounts, they most likely are not aware of the latest communications, strategies, goals and an overall understanding of the direction of the brand. This creates a dysfunctional and inconsistent message going out to the public, which can have negative effects on the brand.
What if an employee states his or her own personal opinion on their unofficial corporate branded Twitter account? Since the company’s brand and name are on the account, who is responsible for the irresponsible messages? The brand could be held liable for the messages that the employee posted. If this was administered by the proper internal channels these types of legal issues can be avoided fairly easily.
Remember that it is always great when employees want to participate in social media and other marketing activities. We all know this can be hard to gain internal support and buy-in. However, the proper procedures and policies must be maintained and followed to ensure the integrity of all parties involved. It is our job as marketers to not only drive traffic, leads and revenue but also to protect the brand.