3 Questions to Ask to Protect your Brand on Social

It’s a miraculous thing when you think about it: with the internet, answers to almost any question you have are just a few clicks away. Want to know how many pigeons are in the world? Turns out, it’s estimated at about 400 million. Curious about the laws relating to guinea pig ownership in Sweden? The law is that you legally have to have at least two because they’re such social creatures. With the internet, finding answers to questions like these is easy, fast, and clear.

The same is true for most parts of your business: your finance team has databases and visualizations where they can report on the health of your business in real-time, your IT team can identify a potential threat within seconds. When it comes to visibility into these key areas of your business, answers are quick and decisive.

But if I asked you some basic questions about the security of your brand on social, could you answer so quickly and decisively? If you’re like most social teams, the answer, unfortunately, is no. Don’t worry, because you’re in good company, and we can help.

Social is your brand’s megaphone, amplifying both the good you do and the mistakes you make. Your brand’s social channels are often some of your most valuable assets. Social is the best way to build and keep real connections with your customers and that’s why it’s worth protecting. But you know this—it’s likely why you invested in a social media management solution (SMMS) in the first place. However, even with a top-notch SMMS, there are always going to be reasons why your users need to go native (i.e. log in directly to the social networks), and it can be a huge risk to your brand.

It can be difficult to acknowledge the risks your brand faces on social—particularly when it comes to native access—even for teams who place the highest priority on governance, but asking a few important questions can help you gain insight. Here are the three fundamental questions you should be able to answer about your social channels at any time—and why they’re so important:

1. Who has native (i.e. direct) access to your brand’s social accounts?

The question is deceptively simple. But if you were asked by your leadership or IT team for a list of everybody who has access to your Twitter password or Facebook business manager, could you provide it? Would you be 100% sure that the password hadn’t been shared? Would you have to spend half an hour jumping in and out of Facebook business manager auditing and figuring out if interns or specific agency users still work for you? The simple question of who has native access becomes more difficult when you factor in the complexities of social.

Why is it worth knowing who has native access?

Just as you are the biggest advocate for your brand on social, you’re also the protector of your brand on social. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re reducing risks wherever possible, and that includes scoping native access down as much as possible. But in order to ensure that the right users (and only those users) have the right access to the right channels, you have to have visibility into who has access. If you don’t even know what’s out there, you certainly can’t control it. Scoping access down means knowing who needs it, who has it, and how you can pull it when you need to.

2. When and why are people using native access?

Providing team members with native access is a reality of operating a sophisticated social program. There’s no way around it. However, it’s still important to be able to monitor when and why native access is being used, which is difficult, even when you have a full understanding of who has access. You may, for example, have a spreadsheet with all of your Twitter passwords, but do you know when those passwords were used and who used them? Do you know why they were used? No spreadsheet, no traditional password manager can tell you that. But it’s an important question to be able to answer.

Why is it worth knowing why your team is accessing accounts natively?

If the goal is (as it should be) to scope down the native access as much as possible, it’s important to you know when and why your team is using native access is. For example, if somebody hasn’t used a login credential in two months, they probably don’t really need it. If they haven’t needed to access Facebook business manager in several months, they probably don’t really need it. Similarly, if a team member says they need native access but is only using it to skirt content approval workflows or other governance paths within your SMMS, they probably shouldn’t have it. You need to know who has native access and why to be able to govern native access properly.

3. Did we pause all publishing during a crisis?

During times of crisis, you go into extreme protection mode. You likely pause communications across all of your digital channels until you can regroup and strategize messaging and channels in response, and that almost always means a complete halt of all publishing on social. It should be easy enough to pause publishing through your social media publishing solution, but native access is a backdoor that you need to be able to shut as well. And, it’s that backdoor also makes it hard to answer the (seemingly) simple question of whether your team paused all publishing during a crisis.

Why is it worth knowing if you paused all publishing during a crisis?

Half-certain answers won’t cut it during times of crisis. You need to be able to ensure that when you say you’ve paused all publishing, there are no backdoors.

They seem like simple questions: Who has access to your native channels? When and why is that access being used? Are you sure you paused all publishing during that last crisis? But the reality is that these questions are extremely hard to answer for most social teams, and even when you can answer these questions, it isn’t a simple process. But your social team deserves to be able to answer key questions related to your brand in the same way that your brand’s finance and IT teams can.

Learn how Spredfast Vault can help you answer these fundamental questions quickly and decisively while governing native access to your social accounts so that your brand can stay safe and smart on social.

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Christina Burgess is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Spredfast, where she helps tell the story about how Spredfast can help every organization realize the value of social. She is a boomerang Texan, who came to Austin via Washington D.C. and she is probably daydreaming about hiking or wandering through a museum right now.