Just Jess | Don’t put your business in the hands of five friends

You may be thinking, “Jess, who would do such a thing?” But you’d be surprised. In business, we delegate tasks. Usually not big things, but little things that don’t seem very important at the time. We allow employees to set up accounts, and we trust that everything will work, and it does. For a while.

No one plans to win the lottery, move to a private island with no cell service, or get hit by a bus while wearing your backpack with all the secret codes inside. But, things happen.

Recently, we were connecting an Instagram account to a client’s Facebook account. A task we do all the time without pause. But in this situation, no one at the organization knew the actual password for the Facebook account. Again, a common occurrence. So, we hit the “forgot our password” button and set up a new password. Easy fix, right? Nope. Facebook required verification of the account. But not just any verification. Up popped this weird screen with five “friends” profile pictures with instructions to send these five friends a link that would give them a secret code. And you must have three out of the five friends pictured do this action… or else.

Guess what? No one at the organization really knew these five people who held the fate of the organization’s social media in their hands. Then – because that wasn’t enough of a deterrent—none of the five were even active on Facebook and hadn’t been in years! So now what?

Let’s reverse a few years. This organization did what many organizations have done; they delegated to a staff member to set up an account. Of course, we all think we will be with our employers for years, and we never anticipate anything happening to us. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tenure is a little over four years. So, before you delegate that the intern set up a new social media account, here are a few tips to save you later.

Use a General Email

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. Many times, employees simply add their own business email to a new account. This causes issues later when they leave the company. Instead, make a policy that all online accounts will use a general email (i.e., info@mycompany.com). Work with your IT to connect the general email to several individuals within the company.


Passwords are the bane of all our existence. This is especially true for company accounts. Therefore, it is important to have a procedure for generating and recording passwords. This way, they can easily be updated if someone leaves and give access to the account that needs it.

Never Mix Business with Pleasure

Do not confuse a corporate account with your personal account. That means refrain from using your 6th-grade sweethearts favorite snack as a password, or your cat, or your first car. And for heaven’s sake, don’t tell Facebook that these five friends can be counted on to unlock your account (because they can’t be trusted, and they may have even broken up with Facebook altogether before you actually need their help).

These tips may seem very simple, but it’s the simple things that can cause (or prevent) a log jam. As for the five friends, they still haven’t responded, we still can’t get into the account, and Facebook isn’t accepting our calls. (Actually, it’s pretty tough to get ahold of a person at Facebook). They are probably all wrapped up in digging out of the “new Facebook experience” pages… but don’t get me started on that!