Do you have complete control over the social media, analytics, web site administration and search advertising accounts for your small business or organization?
Want to take a few minutes to check? I’ll wait …
OK, if you’re sure you have full access to your various online marketing accounts, you’re excused to find something else fun to read. If not, stick around. We’ve got to talk, and when we’re done, I hope you’ll make some changes.
Facebook booted our page admin
I recently volunteered to help my church with some Facebook ads. To get things moving, I asked for administrative access to the account. That’s when the trouble started.
No one, it turned out, had the administrative access necessary to give me access. Facebook suspended (incorrectly, we believe) the Facebook account of the page’s only administrator.
And while at least one other person has access to edit and add posts to the Facebook page, that person doesn’t have the privileges to add an administrator or an editor or any other person to manage the page.
It’s a common problem. An employee who created the Facebook page years ago has since left, leaving the page in limbo. Or an agency creates the page but never turns over the keys before the contract runs out. A Google search for “lost access to Facebook business page” returned 487 million results. Yeah, 487 million.
I’m sure we had an Analytics account
And it’s not just Facebook. During nearly 10 years in an online marketing agency, I encountered at least a dozen situations where a client had no access to a Google Analytics account because they lost the email address that gave them access. It happens with Google Ads accounts and website access, too.
Trust me when I say panic erupts when you realize you can’t access accounts that contain a lot of data and content.
For security reasons, Facebook and Google make it difficult to restore access. In some cases, it’s been easier to create brand new accounts, which means all the data collected in the old accounts is lost. Apparently, it’s not impossible to recover admin access to a Facebook page. WikiHow and this writer share the kinda complicated process.
The lesson here is not how to retrieve what was lost. The lesson — forgive the cliche — is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As a business owner, make sure you have top-level administrative access to all your social media and marketing tools. And for goodness’ sake, write down the usernames and passwords and put them in a safe place (where you’ll remember to look).
There should be at least two
Different platforms have different account access rules. To set up a business page on Facebook, for example, you must first have a personal account. You manage the business page by logging into your personal account. If you want or need others to manage the page, you grant access to their personal Facebook accounts. There’s no cross-over of information. Your page managers won’t be able to access your personal account information and vice versa.
Based on the anecdotes above, it’s always a good idea to have at least two people with admin access to your Facebook page. Page administrators must be trustworthy because not only do they have the power to add and change page roles, they can block access to anybody, including other administrators.
LinkedIn has a similar procedure. You can invite other people to manage your LinkedIn company page, but they must be a LinkedIn connection.
Google tools also work best by granting permission for other people to access the accounts. Sharing your username and password (the username is an email address), is not recommended. And Google is good about challenging log-in attempts if they don’t come from the same IP addresses. Such challenges require access to a code usually sent to the original user’s phone. It’s much easier to just grant access to other account managers.
Make sure you have email access
With some social media, Twitter, for example, you still need to share your username and password with others who are managing the account. Make sure to set up the account with an email address that you can access. Don’t let someone else set up the account for you with an email you can’t get to.
My final tip is to regularly review the people or agencies that can access your accounts and remove users who no longer work on your behalf. If employees who manage your online marketing accounts leave the company, remove their access immediately to prevent problems that could be caused by disgruntled former employees.
- Write down and securely store usernames and passwords for your digital marketing accounts.
- Make sure you have full admin access to all of the accounts, even if you rely on others to manage them.
- For Facebook and Google business-related accounts, add at least one other person as a full admin as an insurance policy.
- At least once a year, review the list of people who have access to your accounts. Remove access for former employees right away.
It might seem unlikely, but losing access to social media accounts, websites and other marketing tools is a nightmare that afflicts hundreds of small businesses. Protect yourself by taking control of access and sharing it prudently as insurance.