If you manage multiple social media accounts on behalf of yourself, your business, a civic group, etc., one of the challenges you face every day is making sure you don’t do something like publishing a personal update (a tweet, status update, etc.) to your company’s account or publishing an update from a civic group to your personal account, etc. Not only can such mis-posts be embarrassing, there are many examples where mistakes like that have caused companies to lose customers and workers to lose jobs.

That’s why one of the most fundamental pieces of advice for managers of multiple social media accounts is:

‘Don’t cross the streams’

Deliverance

(via: Paddlemaking.blogspot.com)

That means not using the same social media management tool for a personal account that you use for a anything business-related. Instead, use different social media tools (sometimes called “dashboards”) for different accounts. Here’s a simple example: For one account (say, your company’s corporate activities) use a service like  Engagor. For a separate business-related project, for example, a product you may have launched or a specific industry-vertical campaign, use a similar platform, perhaps Shoutlet. For personal or civic group activities, use even another such dashboard tool, for example, Hootsuite. There are many such tools to choose from–at a wide range of costs, but the control they provide may be well worth the price, depending on your situation and needs. Using multiple dashboards can help make sure you’re not making the kind of mistake that can result in a lost customer, or a lost job.

Beware of the Facebook password gotcha

Even if you’re using various social media management tools that allow you to manage multiple accounts on separate dashboard screens, there are still things you can do natively on Facebook (the version at Facebook.com you access through a web browser) that you can’t do within those platforms. Active managers of multiple accounts know it’s not unusual to move between social media management applications and the native version of Facebook several times a day. If you do this, BEWARE!

Because Facebook requires a user to have a SINGLE password for both a personal account and separate Pages the user might manage, a user’s Facebook password can provide a single point of  security failure for multiple Pages. If someone is successful in hacking your personal account (see some tips for preventing this), the hacker suddenly has access to all the Pages you manage. That increases the importance of keeping your account as secure as possible–including regular cycling of passwords. Your reputation–and job–could very truly depend on it.

Facebook needs a business-level approach to passwords

Unfortunately the inherent problem caused by having just one-password for both personal accounts AND Pages is a problem Facebook has largely ignored and which there doesn’t seem to be a groundswell to change. Instead of trying to figure out how to get small businesses–or any sized company– to pay for letting you send your updates to more than just a small portion of those who have “liked” your Page, it’s time for Facebook to rethink Page admin access, including offering the ability to setup something like business-level accounts (multi-user accounts that aren’t tied to an individual Facebook user’s account) for Page management.

This or another similar solution will go a long way to making sure an individual manager isn’t at risk if someone falls victim to someone who can hack into their personal account–and then have access to business Pages they may also manage.

Do you have a method for making sure you always post to correct accounts and Pages when managing several social network accounts? Share them on the comments below.

(Featured Photo: Joe Moe via Flickr)