Remember to Keep Your Word

This month I’m going to cover a decidedly low tech subject, but one that can have a significant effect on your digital marketing effort, It’s a situation we’ve seen so many times that we’ve actually nicknamed it the “find the password game.” Here’s what happens: At some point in the past, your dealership decided to go ahead and set up things like a facebook page, twitter account, YouTube channel, or whatever. Whoever did it grabbed the best “handles” for your store. Maybe they were super smart and even registered with Yelp, Yahoo, or Google places. But here’s the problem: somewhere along the line, the access codes used to set all this magic up disappeared, or were tied to an employee’s personal email account, making it difficult for that person to now pass it along to someone else.


So now, if you want to update your listing or correct errors or omissions, you no longer have the necessary credentials to gain access back into the accounts that are set up. Thus begins the “retrieval dance” where you attempt to gain access back your own identity using password resets, trying to contact an old employee, or even public pleas’ on your twitter page for “owner please contact me.” As a last resort you may just have to start over—almost always with a less desirable handle than before, while the identity you really want, and rightfully should own, lays there with outdated information or posts.


What to do? For starters, never allow anyone at your store, your ad agency, or digital partner to tie your dealership identity to their individual email account (even your account since you may want to share it with others and then you have the same problem). Require that anyone that does this kind of work set up a group of emails solely for the purpose of registering and updating your store’s information. Make sure to share these credentials around with multiple people at the dealership.


What’s the best way to keep track of them? Funny as it sounds, many online security experts say the place to do this is not on your computer. Not only is your computer vulnerable to online attack, it’s also easy to lose the data if your hard disk crashes or something otherwise fails. So where do experts recommend keeping passwords? In a notebook sitting right next to your desk. This turns an online risk into a physical risk (someone has to break in and steal it). Of course, it’s always a good idea to employ the basics of good security: change your passwords often, don’t have all the passwords match or be easy to guess.


The number of digital places your dealership is going to want to occupy in the future is only going to expand, and almost all of them are going to require registration of some kind. By defining and establishing a password management procedure now, you will help ensure that those of us who perform the tasks of setting up and managing your on line ‘brand’ can do so with maximum effectiveness now, and in the future.


Without the need for a lot of extra dancing.


Ed Steenman is owner of Steenman Associates that provides traditional and digital media services to automotive dealerships and dealer groups nationally. Ed is available to speak to 20 groups or other related events and can be reached at or his website




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