I know the word audit brings about a certain level of fear for business owners and individuals alike, but in this case the term audit is being used in a positive manner. I promise.
I released a free downloadable legally fit audit earlier this year (you can still get that here). This audit goes through a series of questions in different categories that will help guide you in determining what parts of your business are at legal risk. The idea with performing a social media audit is essentially the same.
Why Perform a Social Media Audit
Performing this audit will allow you to determine what accounts your business has, who has access to these accounts, if there are fake accounts for your business out there, and of course if your online presence is seamless across platforms.
Most businesses can be found on 2-3 of the major platforms. The businesses I work with prefer Instagram and Twitter but Facebook pages are becoming increasingly important and even LinkedIn needs to be considered. Whether you are found on all platforms available or just one, the following steps will apply.
Steps to Evaluate your Social Media Presence:
- Conduct a Thorough Search
The first step in performing this audit should be to make and maintain a list of all of the key social media information you have for each account. This is going to be handles, owner’s, password, who in the company has access to these accounts, what photos and what information is shared on each, etc. This information should be easily accessible. If it isn’t that’s not a great sign.
If you have been in business for a few years, you may want to do a Google search and see if any forgotten links to platforms of the past appear. Perhaps you utilized Snapchat at one point but you no longer do so. You need to regain control of these forgotten platforms before someone else does.
Most importantly identify who within your business has access to and manages each account and keep a record of this. Having a designated social media manager makes things simple. But, if you have multiple employees or contractors with access to your accounts it is very important that you know who these individuals are. When it comes time to let one go or maybe they left for another opportunity, you will need to change passwords to cut this person off of your platforms.
Finally, maintain good records on all of the above. Update the record as necessary, and keep these records with other important business records.
- Identify any Unauthorized Fake Profiles
As you perform your social media audit you may run into profiles that are not created by your business but appear to be affiliated with you. Some individuals may have created accounts that are purposely similar to yours or unknowingly so. Whichever is the case it is important to record any accounts that are not recognized or somewhat suspicious and do a bit of investigating. If these accounts are in no way associated with your business having them shut down is important. This will protect your business goodwill and perhaps your intellectual property. Contacting an attorney for help with this is always a good idea, but if you want to handle it on your own sending the account owner a message to remove the account might do the trick. If it doesn’t, the platform itself might be able to help.
- Review your Profiles
This is less of a legal concept and more of a branding concept, but it is an important part of the overall audit. You need to review each of your social accounts for consistency, and completion. Some platforms allow you to include tons of information about your business, while others only give you a few lines to do so. It is important to fully fill out any information the platform allows you to. This gives your customer’s a complete picture of your business on each platform.
You will also want to ensure that your content on each platform is consistent with your brand message and marketing strategy. Although each platform is different your business likely has one message you want to get across, and you should ensure that is happening. Plus, performing this part of the audit will allow you to review whether or not all of the content you are posting belongs to the business or you personally and isn’t infringing on anyone else’s intellectual property rights. Just a reminder in case you haven’t read this article, if you didn’t create it, pay for the use of it, or otherwise get permission to use it, it shouldn’t be on any of your platforms.
- Get Rid of What You Don’t Need
Not every platform is necessary for your business. If the audit reveals that you have 10 accounts across 10 platforms but you’re really only using 3 of them. Get rid of the rest. From a legal standpoint this decreases risk, and from a business standpoint, this will be more efficient. If customers are reacting negatively to your business on a certain platform, and you’re not keeping up with these particular comments or reactions, maybe that is one of the platforms you get rid of.
You only need to be on the platforms that perform well for your business, that clearly convey your message, and that allows customers to get to know your business, and trust your business.
If you would like a legal eye to audit your social media, send an email to Shannon@montgomerypllc.com. Or, if you’re having issues with your business social media pages send me an email.
Please note that none of this is meant to be legal advice. It is simply some legal research and knowledge on the given topic.