Spring Clean Your Online Presence With a Social Media Audit
Spring is traditionally the time we open the windows on our homes and air out the winter mustiness. Why not do the same thing for your social media presence?
The more active you become online, the more networks you start to use. A small handful of them will likely get used on a daily or weekly basis, but what about all of the services you signed up for ‘just to try’ and then forgot about? What about the accounts or listings that are created without your knowledge?
A social media audit, when done regularly (I recommend quarterly), should take no more than 30-60 minutes (depending on how many networks you use) - only a small amount of time out of your day!
Keeping your online presence tidy and consistent will go a long way to making you or your business look more professional. The other benefit of a social media audit is that it allows you to maintain an up-to-date listing of the networks you use in order to make sure that your employees and consultants are all using the correct resources.
Below are the 5 steps you can take regularly to keep your social media networks neat and tidy (and relevant!). I'd also recommend keeping track of the results of your audit in a document or spreadsheet, as it will save time for future audits.
Known Social Media Networks
Make a list of the social media networks that you use. Include information like:
profile name and username
names of administrators or people who have access to the account
number of followers
date of last activity
average post response (likes/comments/shares/reach)
What's On Google?
This is to cover networks that you've forgotten about or listing networks that you weren't even aware of! In Google, search for the following:
your personal name
your business or organization name
usernames that you regularly use for business
your business emails
any common misspellings of the above items
Add these results to your document. You may find legitimate accounts that were created many years ago, or accounts that were created by well-meaning employees that are now duplicates. In some cases, you can merge these accounts or you can delete the duplicate.
You may also find accounts that were not created by you or your staff but that appear to represent you (this often happens inadvertently with franchises). In instances like this, you can sometimes contact the network directly to explain that someone else is misusing your intellectual or trademarked property and ask them to shut down the account.
You will also likely find business directory websites that automatically add businesses that they find online – this is great for SEO but can be bad for your reputation if the listing never gets updated (especially if those listing are higher ranked in search results than your legitimate accounts!).
What's the Purpose?
Now that your list is complete, it's time to think about what you use all of these networks for.
Think about the main purpose of each account and note it in your document. It’s OK for different accounts to serve different purposes (for example, some businesses use Facebook to share information about products/services, and use Twitter for real-time customer service).
Here are some reasons for using social media:
talking about an important issue or topic
educating people on how to use your product
promoting your product/service
highlighting the successes of your clients/customers
using paid advertising functionality
increase brand awareness
drive traffic to your website
generating leads and list building
Next, think about the primary audience you have (or are trying to attract) on each account. Again, it’s OK for different accounts to have different audiences, in fact, it’s common. Note these audiences in your document. If the audience you have is different than the audience you want, highlight that so you can go back and re-evaluate your strategy.
Evaluate Your Networks
Now that you have a good handle on your online presence it’s time to evaluate if you need every account that you have. Don’t start deleting or deactivating right away! You will want some time to think about it and evaluate your choices in terms of all of your networks.
There are several reasons to shut down an online account:
The network is no longer popular with the general public and gets little traffic
You or your business have changed directions and are no longer targeting the audience that is on a particular network
The account was created by someone else and is not part of your overall strategy
The account is a duplicate
The account was automatically created by a business directory service and is out of date or the service does not update the information it puts up (note: sometimes you can request to be removed from these listings, but usually you have no control)
You are downsizing and need to decrease the number of accounts you manage
In general, you may be shutting down the accounts that are not performing well or never garnered any followers. Poor account performance can be the result of 2 primary reasons:
your audience is not present on the network
your audience is there but your marketing efforts have not been effective at reaching them.
An account with poor performance can be turned around with a little elbow grease (aka research and strategy)!
I don't recommend actually deleting an account unless you don't use it, have less than 10 followers, are confident that this account has not been linked to, or it's a duplicate. It doesn't do your reputation any favors if someone clicks a link to visit your Instagram account and gets "This user does not exist" instead.
If there are accounts that you may want to come back to but don't have the time to keep up to date right now, consider these options:
outsource to a social media manager
create a handful of automated posts that will go out on a regular basis (if you do this, you have to monitor regularly for engagement)
state in your bio or a pinned post that people should follow you on one of your active social media networks
For everything that you are keeping (even if you've decided not to be active) you need to make sure they are up to date with the correct info & branding:
good resolution profile/headshot and cover photos
bio or business description, business name
contact info (email, phone number, website address)
business info (pricing, hours of operation, address, etc.)
*Note: if you are updating any of the URLs or usernames for your account, make sure that you also update any links pointing to them!
Now it's time to implement and update any changes you noted. When you repeat the audit it will be a little bit faster because you've already got your document to work off of!