Spring Cleaning Your Social Media

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Spring Cleaning Your Social Media

Social media is dynamic, and social networks and mobile apps are continuously changing and updating. While it is challenging to keep up with all the changes, your social media presences should never be stagnant. Still, it is easy to get overwhelmed or to neglect accounts you’ve set up with every intention of using.

Doing a social media audit at least once a year is a smart business practice. Cleaning up your online presences more often keeps your accounts current, relevant, and helps you take advantage of new developments for each social network.

Here are several ways you can do a little spring-cleaning to keep your social media presences fresh.

Upload New Images

Visuals are an integral part of social media marketing, and the cover and profile images on major social networks are the first impressions of your company and brand when someone arrives at your accounts. While social networks usually include a profile image to represent your account when you post messages, not all social networks provide space for cover images. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube use cover images. Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat profiles do not.

Take a look at the cover images you are currently using across your social media accounts. Some experts say you should create custom cover images for each of your multiple social media channels. Others take more of an “omnichannel” approach where you keep branding consistent across all of your channels. While your cover images should be consistent across the board for better branding, they don’t have to be identical.

Consider using similar colors, styles and imagery but with slight variations to distinguish each network. Your cover image on LinkedIn might be more formal while the one you use on Facebook could be more casual and friendly or even use a video. Keep in mind when you create new cover images for all of your social networks, the ones you create for your YouTube channel will be much larger than the ones you create for other social networks in order to look sharp on television screens.

Changing your cover image on a more frequent basis can create new visual interest for repeat visitors. Some brands come up with a plan for swapping out cover images based on seasons, holidays, special events and promotions. Changing up profile images can also be part of that plan. Cover and profile images are valuable visual real estate that should not be underutilized.

Revisit Your Descriptions

Each social network allows for descriptions of different lengths. For example, Twitter and Pinterest bios are limited to 160 characters, Facebook short descriptions are 155 characters while Instagram’s are 150. Condense your company mission or description into the fewest, most descriptive words possible. Think of keywords that people might use to search for a company like yours. If you’re a florist, for example, your keywords are not just “florist,” “flowers” or “flower arrangements” could also be “special occasions” and “gifts.”

While most major social networks let you link out to your website from your account, some also allow live links in the bios or descriptions such as Twitter and Facebook. Take advantage of those extra live links to drive people to specific action-oriented pages like an email newsletter sign up form.

Social networks that utilize hashtags also allow them to be used in your bio and description and automatically make them live links. Turn some of your keywords into hashtags to add another way for your social media account to be found.

Convert Unused Accounts into Gateways

There will inevitably be social media accounts that you’ve set up that you’ve woefully neglected. Not every social network is effective for your company’s marketing, and if you are under-resourced, managing multiple social networks can be challenging.

You could delete the social network and all the assets you’ve placed there. Or you could treat a less used social network as another way for people to find information about your company and upload key information and links to your website or preferred social networks.

If Pinterest sounded like a good idea at the time you set up your business account, you may have realized that it takes a lot of time to be effective. Go back to your Pinterest page and revise it with a description and link that drive people to the sites where you are more active and where they can reach you more directly. Even a more dormant social media account can provide people with key information about your company and offer people another way to get in touch.

Only reviewing your social media accounts annually is not a good idea. Set up a more regular schedule to make visual and content changes that keep people’s interests and to take advantage of each social network’s updates.