As a company marketing on social media, you probably assume you own your profiles outright and with no question, right? As with everything in the online and digital spaces, the answer isn’t that simple. Today the Zebra 360 Digital Marketing team breaks down this thorny question, with some tips on how to ensure your profile stays yours, no matter what.

Establishing Ownership

Social media marketing is still a new entrant in the wider marketing space. This means companies don’t always follow-or even know- the best practices to keep when building their online brand profile. If your company name is on the profile, it’s yours seems like a logical conclusion, right?

Not so fast! We’ve all heard stories about exiting staff members failing to provide login details or transfer profiles. If an employee has put a lot of time and effort into building your social media following, it doesn’t follow that they’ll sign that hard work over to you just because of a name. As the US case PhoneDog vs Kravitz shows, your social media following now has a notable dollar value even in the eyes of the court. As with portfolios and clients, it’s not unreasonable to expect to take your hard-earned followers with you if you shift companies. Changing an account name is a lot easier than building followers from scratch. And the law won’t immediately side with the company name ‘on the box’ if it can be demonstrated that an agency, intern, or employee was the driving talent behind everything you’re showcasing.

The less corporate control you have, the muddier the waters get. If your page is linked to an employee profile, not a business one, and the employee is the main ‘face’ of the business in your online marketing, you may well find your page or account is theirs, not your own, and a messy legal battle awaits.

Ensuring You Retain Control

Shutting the barn door after the horses flee is a stupid position for anything, let alone something as critical as your brand. The best thing you can do is actively address this thorny issue upfront. Make sure it’s clearly set out in all documents, from social marketing employees to company social media policy, how online assets are owned and who has the right to use them.

On many social platforms, particularly, business pages have to be linked to a personal profile. This means they not only have the credentials you need to access them, but a more ‘provable’ claim of ownership, too. So it’s very unwise to simply wipe your hands on social media marketing and leave it to the ‘brainiac’ on the team to build for you. Instead, building a corporate social presence needs to be a well-thought-out and long-term plan that leaves the power in the hands of the company, not an individual.

This is why building a clear difference between personal and professional accounts matters, too. It’s good to have a personality-driven social presence, but don’t let it blend too much into the personal space, either. This should also be an ongoing process, where your company actively reminds, engages, and updates employees on social media policies, including account ownership. The modern digital space is ever-changing, and if you want to retain clear control of your presences there, you need to be adaptable, flexible, and on the ball too.

In the digital marketing space, never assume you own an account based on brand or name alone. Instead, stay active and engaged with your social media team, and ensure you work with reputable agencies (like Zebra 360 Digital Marketing Agency) with clear terms of ownership established from the get-go.