Three Ways to Avoid Rogue Behaviors

By: Guest | March 14, 2012 | 

Lisa D JenkinsToday’s guest post is written by Lisa D. Jenkins

It all starts very innocently. Joe or JoAnne (I’m an equal opportunity offender) down the hall wants to bring The Business into the 21st century by putting it online.

First stop, Facebook. Why? “Well, because EVERYONE is on Facebook! We have to be there, too.”

Excellent. By the way, EVERYONE just called and they want to know when you’re meeting them to shave your head and jump off the bridge. I digress.

With no discussion of the stuff that matters – regulation, strategy, or execution –  someone is named Supreme Ruler of Our Online Marketing Universe, a title endowed with absolute authority to claim or create profiles and publish across the internet on behalf of The Business.

The Supreme Ruler owns the access information, creates the content, represents The Business, carries the conversation. The Business is suddenly popping up in online directories, consumer review sites, and social networks.

Communities are built and there’s a big group of people following everything. It’s all sunshine and lollipops. Until that employee is dismissed or resigns and, subsequently, disgruntled … and a rogue is born.

“It’s like the worst Groundhog Day scenario ever.” That’s how a new client initially described waking up every morning to see his Facebook page hijacked and pointing his audience to a new, local competitor every day. There’s a button to Press In Dire Situations just like this. Go ahead, I’ll wait …

Okay, moving on …

I spent weeks searching out profiles across the Internet trying to establish ownership and control so correct and accurate information could be repopulated. I was successful with every listing excepting the Facebook presence, which was set up as a page under the profile of the ex-employee, using the business name in the custom URL.

I know – don’t get me started on how adhering to the Terms of Service could have saved a lot of bother. I was able to have the relevant business contact information removed and have the offending page changed to a profile but, ultimately, my client had to kiss that community goodbye and start again. It was a hard lesson.

Three Ways to Help Your Business Avoid Rogue Behaviors

  • Have a clear online marketing policy and guidelines signed by all your employees.
  • Create a dedicated email address, shared by the owner, and the Supreme Ruler of Our Online Marketing Universe, which is used to administer all online profiles.
  • Develop a log of all existing online profiles, including access credentials. Keep it updated; an audit report must be produced upon request and if the report provides outdated information, loss of employment is a possibility.

It’s easy to say “hire smarter” but sometimes things (and unethical people) happen. It’s not pretty and, although the public may be understanding, reputations suffer and valuable ground is lost.

What is the worst rogue attack you’ve ever seen? What other safeguards do you recommend to protect businesses from the threat of angry ex-employees pirating online profiles?  Who else gets a migraine every time they see a business using a Profile instead of a Page on Facebook?

The gentlelady from the Pacific Northwest yields the floor.

Lisa D. Jenkins is a marketing and public relations professional growing into her Big-Girl Business Panties one terrifying decision at a time.  She loves quirky t-shirts, red wine, Guinness, and will die literature poor.  You can find her on Twitter @LisaDJenkins.

  • LisaDJenkins

    Oh wow – that’s a really bad sentence.  Should have been:  “I spent weeks searching out profiles across the Internet and trying to establish ownership and control so that correct and accurate information could be repopulated.”  Whew!

    •  @LisaDJenkins Oh. I’ll change that now. 

      • LisaDJenkins

         @Lisa Gerber You’re awesome – I can’t believe I submitted that.  Yikes!

  • Fortunately I haven’t seen the ugly worst case scenario end result of this, but I’ve certainly dealt with quite a few businesses who have had to deal with Facebook pages where they have no clue who started it, how to access it, etc. and so they end up starting all over. Great tips, Lisa. And we haven’t chatted in a LONG time. We need to connect!

    • LisaDJenkins

       @KenMueller I haven’t seen too much of this scenario either, but when I do see it, it is destructive.  No one wants to believe the worst may surface in the people they work with, but an ounce of prevention can go a long way toward heading it off.
      We DO need to chat!  I’ve been fairly quiet on Twitter and Facebook for a while – refocusing and whatnot.  I’ll drop you a line 🙂  

  • Executives need to do more than just give the reigns to whomever they think can handle building and establishing an online profile and presence.
    IMO it is similar to providing an employee with the password/access to the company bank account/LOC etc.
    You need to make it clear from the start that person XYZ is doing this on behalf of the business and not the other way around. And you have to understand that if you  let them put their personality into it (not saying you should not) you take a certain amount of risk on.
    If they leave it may not matter whether they go “rogue” or not. Your voice and presence may change dramatically and it may not be viewed in the same light as before.

    • LisaDJenkins

       @TheJackB I agree, Jack.  The change in voice due to turnover is a valid concern, as is the establishment of who owns the profile at the outset of its creation.  The NoahKravitz/PhoneDog lawsuit brought this point home in December.  People in charge of placing online content managers have to be crystal clear about roles and responsibilities –  online marketing policies and guidelines go a long way toward establishing that clarity.  I think, too, that there is still a tendency to silo online marketing off from the other departments within a corporate structure – and that often encourages rogue behavior.

  • dogwalkblog

    This is not limited to businesses, but non-profits and sports clubs where many people are volunteers. We manage a lot of soccer tournaments. We’ve have had to — in more than one case — help “rescue” their domains, social media accounts and even their entire web sites from volunteers who barreled ahead and set up stuff to the GRATITUDE of the club. Then, their kid gets cut and *blammo* Policies, strategy and account control; I keep hearing that over and over in my head.

  • Texascopywriter

    @ShellyKramer Now I just need a post about avoiding rogue behavior in my kids! #wineoclock

    • ShellyKramer

      @texascopywriter How about just avoiding them altogether??? <oops, did I say that out loud?>

      • Texascopywriter

        @ShellyKramer LOL! If only…. 😉

  • ajproc

    Hi @danperezfilms I wish I would have read this first before I went rogue tonight

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  • Great post! I agree to the fact that “hire smarter” is easier said than done. Sometime you would think that you got the right one but suddenly turns to be the opposite when already aboard.

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