The Manitoba NDP recently decided to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover with a greeting and stock photo on their social media accounts. Unfortunately, the image used was a parent and child preparing challah bread. This is a bread often eaten on Jewish holidays, but never on Passover.
Keeping track of religious dietary restrictions can be difficult even for the faithful, so mistakes of this kind are sometimes hard to avoid. On the other hand, my quick and simple stock photo search for “Passover” brought up many pictures, none of which included challah bread. When searching for a holiday image to post, it’s a good idea to include the name of the holiday in your search, and perhaps read the Wikipedia article about the holiday. Otherwise you end up posting pictures of Easter Eggs when you mark Christmas.
Even if the research isn’t sloppy, sometimes there is a mistake with a social media post. Mistakes happen, and when they do, you fix them – if you can. That brings me to a larger, and more easily prevented error, that this incident revealed: Only one person had access to the twitter account. The inappropriate image was soon noticed, but it could not be removed quickly, as the one person with access could not be reached.
For your personal social media accounts, obviously only you have access. It’s not a bad idea to have a trusted friend who can access your accounts, and Facebook has a process for managing the accounts of people when they die, but as a general rule, you look after your personal account.
For organizations, and individuals who outsource their social media presence, there should be more than one person who can access the accounts. Social media operates 24/7. You might only need one person to represent your brand, but no one is always available, even if they want to be.
It’s not a question of trust – think of the delivery truck at a lumberyard. Would it make sense for there to be only one set of keys, always in the possession of the driver? No. The keys probably hang on a hook in the office when they are not in use, and there’s at least one spare set in the safe.
There are various ways to arrange access for multiple people. For example, Facebook pages and WordPress sites can have multiple administrators. This is like having more than one set of keys. Twitter has some support for multiple users, and third party tools can also be used for this. You can use shared email mailboxes, or even just share an email account. That’s similar to leaving the keys on a hook in the office. If you are using a shared email account to manage access to social media, it’s probably best to create an email just for that purpose, and possibly even one for each service.
Regardless of how it is done, there should always be more than one person who can access the social media accounts for a brand or organization. (That includes access to the domain name.) Then if there’s an incorrect posting, a resignation, an accident, a power outage, a family emergency, a disagreement, or any number of other possibilities, updates and fixes can be done by more than one person.