Marketing specialists often tout the value of social media to create or reinforce brand awareness, to spread the word about events and products to a diverse array of prospects, and much more. With appropriate targeting, such as through Facebook advertising or LinkedIn InMail, social media can provide amazing exposure. However, when not handled properly from the outset, it can also cause problems that not only can damage your brand but also can prove nearly impossible to rectify.

Following are two issues that actually happened to companies with whom we have worked.

1. Zombie social profiles: A business professional set up a personal LinkedIn social media profile using his corporate email address. He ended up leaving the firm after a year or so, moving on to bigger and better things. A few positions later, he decided to strike out on his own.

He tried to edit his LinkedIn profile, but was unable to access it. Why? The email he had used to set it up no longer existed, and the firm could not set it up for him, even on a temporary basis, since he no longer worked there. He set up a duplicate LinkedIn profile, but since the old one had more followers and activity, it came up higher in search results. Few people on LinkedIn could reach him via his current email address.

Key takeaway? Unless you own the underlying company or domain, set up your LinkedIn login using a personal email address. You can easily provide your current corporate email address within the profile – just don’t use it for your login.

2. Orphaned company pages: When social media started becoming attractive for business purposes, a business owner asked trusted employees to set up Facebook pages for each of his locations. Not having any social media savvy, he didn’t make any stipulations about the setup. The employees established both pages under their email addresses, and made themselves the administrators.

Three years later, when he decided to create a social calendar for Facebook and start posting in earnest, he couldn’t remember who had set the pages up—and none of his current employees had done it. Not only could he not edit his Facebook pages to reflect his current business priorities; he couldn’t even post to them!

Key takeaway? It is fine to have an employee in your office set up social media pages. However, they should receive instructions regarding your vision of each page—and the instructions should include giving several people editing privileges for the page, including the business owner (who should have administrator-level access).

I am sure there are many more “horror stories” that we haven’t heard about. If you have one to share, drop us a line—or better yet, let Michael Mackenzie Communications guide you to using social media effectively—and safely.

This post is courtesy of MMC Content Manager Jennifer Farwell