The dangers of handing over the keys to your online reputation

The dangers of handing over the keys to your online reputation

the dangers of handing over the keys to your online reputation

“Oh, I think my nurse handles all that social media stuff.”

“I was thinking about getting my 16 year old daughter to do the social media. She understands all that way better than I do.”

“Our office manager is in charge of all our social media and the website.”

“We’ll probably just get a couple of college interns to take care of our social media. They know all about it and they work cheap.”


One of the first questions we ask business owners is who handles their social networking accounts. We’ve heard all the above responses. At first glance, none of these seem like really bad ideas, until things go wrong. But what could possibly go wrong?

“Oh, I think my nurse handles all that social media stuff.”

If your social media is focused around offering tips, ideas and medical updates to patients, your nurse is one of the first people who comes to mind. In fact, she’s probably really good at creating ideas that generate interaction and provide a real education to your patients. But what happens when you’re seeing 25 patients a day during the winter flu or spring allergy season? To make it work, you’ll need to make sure your nurse has time once a month to schedule posts on Facebook and Twitter for the whole month and once a day to check in on responses and engagement. Work with your nurse to set goals for engagement and patient appointment requests from social networks. If you both know what expectations you have for your social accounts, you will allow your nurse more time to devote to it and your nurse will take the extra responsibilities more seriously.

“I was thinking about getting my 16-year-old daughter to do the social media. She understands all that way better than I do.”

We can’t deny teenagers lead the way with social media and technology adoption. If you want to know about the newest social apps, ask a teenager. Before you hand over the keys to your online reputation, however, we also suggest you ask about the strategy, goals and plans your social media manager has in mind for your accounts. Check out your teen’s networking accounts and see what kind of content they are posting. Is that the kind of content you want to see on your company’s pages? Even the most responsible teen will likely not understand the pains and needs of your target market. To make this work, you’ll need to offer some training on what your target market expects to receive from you, how business pages differ from personal pages, how often you need someone to post to your social sites and how follow up will be handled, especially follow up related to negative comments or reviews.

“Our office manager is in charge of all our social media and the website.”

Like the nurse in a medical office, your office manager likely knows the ins and outs of your business. They know the questions customers ask and what tips would be helpful. Our main concern about having your office manager handle your social media is the time and training needed to make it a priority. Make sure he or she has time daily to check in on engagement and respond to requests. Work with your office manager to set goals for your social profiles and talk about what types of content you’d like to see posted. Make sure he or she keeps you updated on comments and the response from the company.

“We’ll probably just get a couple of college interns to take care of our social media. They know all about it and they work cheap.”

We certainly can’t deny this statement. College students, like teens, are early adopters of technology. Interns have some advanced knowledge over teens and are known for working cheap (or free) to add experience to their resumes. The experience may be where you run into problems. Hiring a college intern to work alongside your marketing department or social media manager to learn how you handle creating content, setting goals and responding to engagement is a fantastic idea, but do you want them to “cut their teeth” by handling your social media reputation alone? Truth be told, you get what you pay for, you know it and I know it. Asking someone with no experience as the outside face of a company to handle your social media is dangerous. To make this work, you’ll need to offer some training on social networks related to your industry as well as training on your company and your customers. You’ll also want to talk about goals for engagement as well as goals for converting followers into customers.

Having someone inside your company handle your social media and online reputation can be a solid, cost-effective option, especially when you know you don’t have the time to do it yourself. We encourage all businesses to consider their social media management as online reputation management. The days of posting and seeing what happens are gone. Today your posts may be forwarded to the world, which can be a good thing if you want to grow your business. Or it can be damaging if the message isn’t right. Before your hand your online reputation over to just anyone, walk through these steps and discussions first.

  • What are your goals for social media?

  • Why types of posts do you expect to see?

  • How often should someone be posting to your social media channels?

  • Which social media sites do you intend to use?

  • How often should someone check in on social media and respond to messages?

  • How do you handle negative messages or comments?

  • If you post links to outside resources, are there specific sources you prefer to use or ones to stay away from?

  • Does your company or industry have any hot-button issues that need to be handled delicately?

When you and your staff are ready to discover a new option for social media management, register for a 30-minute consultation with us.