Who owns your Twitter account?

For the sake of argument, we’ll presume that you and your business have a Twitter account.  Who owns your Twitter account for the small business?  It’s a seemingly simple question that you need to ask your business if you haven’t already.

Phonedog is a technology site that has tech news or reviews computers and smart phones.  For the past four years they’ve had a employee on payroll who was handling all of their blogging needs and Twitter account.   Noah Kravitz was the blogger who had amassed a following of 17,000 under the handle @Phonedog_Noah, before he left the company.

When he left the company, he changed his twitter handle to @noahkravitz.  He now works for a company called Techno Buffalo, which (surprise!!!) is a news site for technology, smart phones and computers.

It’s not sexy or popular to say it, but if you’re a business on social media then your followers are your client list.  That list of your followers on Twitter, Facebook or whatever platform are people that have an interest in possibly using your industry, service or even your company to do some work.  An employee that steals your social media followers is essentially taking your money or your reputation.

As a small business you need to protect yourself and write down specifics about your social media policy.

  • The person managing the social media account should NEVER have the right to change the user name on the account.  NEVER.
  • If you’re outsourcing your social media work any reputable company will give you, the small business/customer, the final say in how the account is managed.
  • Write it down and have the person managing the account sign it.  This goes for an employee or agency that you hire to do your work.

Is Techno Buffalo a company that approached Kravitz for employment or is it a company that he also has a financial interest in? Bitter ex-employees may try to poach or undermine the success of your small business.   Let this be a cautionary tale to your business and social media accounts.  Contractually lock them down so that they can’t be switched to another person or user name.

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Katie is the President of KWSM. Before opening the agency, she spent more than 15 years as a journalist, working for CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN and National Public Radio. Katie works with clients across the country and is a popular public speaker.