So, it’s finally happened. You’ve had to fire your social media manager. Maybe the guy just wasn’t the ninja, guru, Jesus, wünderkind that they said they were? Perhaps you thought it was the right idea to hire that intern straight out of high school and they messed everything up? Or, maybe you’ve decided to bring on an agency that knows the difference between engagement and outreach? No matter the reason; you’re going to have to have a very uncomfortable conversation with someone.

Whilst we can’t help you avoid that conversation (though, experts says, to have it on a Monday or a Tuesday) we can help you with the next steps, specifically, what to do in regards to your digital accounts.

Why do you need to take precautions in regards to your social media accounts? Well, many ex-employees are frustrated, angry and distressed after being fired. This can often lead to shortsighted anger which leads them to do stupid things.

When it comes to your company’s social accounts, it’s best to be prepared for any situation in advance. So, in preparation of having to terminate an employee, here are some tips and tricks to avoid a social media skirmish.

Change passwords

This one seems obvious, but it’s hardly ever done. As social media managers, we’re often forced to interact with our audience on a range of devices at all hours of the day. This means that we can access client accounts on our phones, home computers, iPads or smart fridges (not really for that last one….though…some people are really committed to their clients). While this is great if we want to spend time with our family but still stay connected to work….it’s not so great if your recently unemployed social media ‘guru’ has gone straight to the bar to drown his sorrows in some beer. This can often lead to a few unwise decisions which will come back to haunt both them and your accounts. So, the first thing you should do whenever you terminate an employee: change the passwords on all accounts.

Use a Password Manager

This is a tip not just for work, but for home. Use a password manager. What’s a ‘password manager’? Well, as it sounds, it manages all of your passwords. Keeping your passwords up to date is a chore, we recommend changing your password every 90 days, and many people use the same password across multiple sites (don’t!!! Just…don’t do that). Because of this we recommend that you use a password manager to easily generate secure passwords. Some great managers are 1Password or LastPass.

Believe it or not, this is how a lot of people still deal with passwords

Believe it or not, this is how a lot of people still deal with passwords

Enable 2-Factor Authentication

In the past few years, 2-factor authentication has become more popular with security experts and commercial companies alike. When journalist Mat Honan had his digital life destroyed in the space of an hour in mid-2012, he published an epic piece that shook the collective Internet. Lax password management on his part, in conjunction with the fact that major companies like Apple, Amazon and Google did not collaborate for industry-standard security checks, led to hackers being able to take over his various accounts. This was the article which led to increased popularity of 2-factor authentication. 2-factor authentication is an additional layer of security for your accounts which will not allow you to access an account from a new device without first entering both the password and a security code that is sent to a device which is considered ‘inseparable’ from the user (oftentimes, a phone). This means that once you revoke their access, they won’t be able to get back on to your accounts without you having to approve it.

Hootsuite also allows us to easily manage, and revoke, permissions over who can access different accounts. This means that we can compartmentalize which of our employees are able to post to different accounts.

Use Third Party Software

Many agencies like Transcend Social prefer to use third-party social media management software to deal with all of their client’s various accounts. This saves us from having to log on to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and scores of other platforms just to manage and post to our clients accounts. Here at Transcend Social we happily use Hootsuite because it’s both easy to use and allows us to implement scores of different plugins. However, Hootsuite also allows us to easily manage, and revoke, permissions over who can access different accounts. This means that we can compartmentalize which of our employees are able to post to different accounts. So, using Hootsuite we can ensure that someone in our Sydney office in Australia won’t be able to access the accounts of one of our clients based in New York or London. If one of our employees decides to leave us (and we’d be sorry to see them go) then, with the click of a mouse, we can revoke their access to Hootsuite and, by extension, the client’s accounts.   Furthermore, you can set it up so that you, and you alone, approve any posts before they’re able to go out.

Revoke, revoke, revoke!

Once you’ve let an employee go, within minutes, you have to revoke their access to not just the social media accounts but also their email, cloud storage and other pieces of software. Think of this as the digital version of handing over a swipe card. When you revoke their access to the various accounts, you can be sure that they’re no longer able to see any sensitive information.

Have all employees sign NDAs

Ah yes, the famed ‘Non-Disclosure Agreement’. By having employees sign an NDA you ensure that they are unable to reveal any information about your company, clients, audience/fans or any aspect of the day to day work that could be considered ‘confidential’. It’s equally important to state that employees are not able to contact clients for a period of at least six months. This means that, should they go and work for a competitor, they aren’t able to steal any of your clients.

Many of these tips should be implemented long before you feel that you have to let someone go (2-factor authentication….go and do it now…we’ll wait) however, once you have to have that awkward conversation…get a checklist and make sure you tick everything off. Firing someone can always be difficult, but hopefully this will help minimize any potential fallout.