Every so often, a Facebook page admin of a brand will make that mistake of accidentally commenting using the login credentials of their official account with the sentiments of a personal profile. As the former social media head of the Manila Bulletin many years ago, we took steps to ensure that things like this do not happen — but they do. In my time, I’ve had my fair share of blunders (luckily nothing controversial — like when someone posted about a waxing salon so readers actually thought it was a branded execution!).
But more importantly — we have to ask why does this happen? To be frank, being careful is one thing. But this also happens to seasoned social media managers due to the nature of Facebook’s user interface which differs on mobile and on desktop. A page admin will automatically comment as the page owner when on the page and will automatically revert back to a personal profile when navigating anywhere else on Facebook. So I can be chatting on Messenger, liking posts, posting comments as my personal account and then once I click on my page, it reverts the comments and posts back to my brand voice. For some this is mighty convenient, but for very sensitive and conservative institutions like the media, banking and finance, etc this can be trouble.
Due to the nature of Facebook Pages requiring a personal profile to be behind a page, this makes it extra risky to manage on Facebook. It also makes having a “second phone” moot unless your admin account is tied to a fake name (which by the way is a violation of the Facebook terms of service — if your personal account gets suspended, you will experience so much pain trying to get your brand page back to prove your identity).
Here are a few best practices to help social media managers cope with
- Download Facebook Business Suite (formerly Facebook Pages) – you can use this tool to separate your work / life balance. Train yourself to use this app when posting as your brand(s).
- Mind the “Choose How You Interact” settings on your admin page. It is a quick drop down arrow beside your profile thumbnail which sets the defaults for how you are interacting with your own page. It’s a good idea to have your brand’s logo and your personal profile photo look different — don’t use the same colors! This helps avoid confusion between accounts.
- If you are irate or in a fit of passion, I highly suggest not taking your thoughts and opinions online immediately because this behavior blinds you from rational thought — it removes all your safety checks for posting online at the expense of your brand’s credibility.
- As a team, include these situations in your playbook and check how these incidents can become teaching moments.
Social media managers are at the forefront of keeping their brand’s safety and reputation pristine. Everyone makes mistakes so brands need to find ways to help de-escalate these situations by making use of both company policy and the internal reputation management playbook.