Clean up your online presence in 6 steps

Your company has five Facebook pages? The interns made a mess of your social profiles? Here’s what to do.

Those of us ingrained in the social media world talk a lot about what you should and shouldn’t do in the space.

It’s important knowledge to share, but what happens when someone else makes the mistakes and you have to fix them?

If you haven’t encountered this already, I bet there will come a time when you have to clean up a company‘s online and social media presence.

Maybe it will be like the situation I just went through with a client. Leadership empowered the interns to own social media and they created a huge mess. This is a classic example, right?

Or, maybe the company hired a self-professed “expert” who led them down the wrong path.

Whatever the situation, if you have to clean up a company’s online and social media presence, this process will help you successfully restore order:

1. Conduct a comprehensive online/social media audit.

You may know the company’s online presence is a mess, but you need to effectively communicate this to leadership. Put together an audit that outlines where the company has a presence online. Screenshots of profiles and specific content help tremendously to get your point across.

The audit should include a breakdown of any and all websites and social networks where the company has a presence, and where customers talk about the company or its products/services. Include what the company does right and wrong, as well as any competitors.

2. Create the social media strategy.

Based on what you learn from the audit and which internal and external implementation resources are in place, put together the company’s online strategy. Make sure you tie it to goals.

Even if your strategy calls for nothing more than monitoring online activity, it should be the roadmap for success from this point on.

3. Compile the clean-up list.

With the audit complete and the company’s online strategy in place, it’s time to create your clean-up list. Does the company have any duplicate profiles on certain networks, such as a personal and brand page on Facebook? Should you delete certain profiles because they aren’t part of your strategy? Do multiple locations have their own profiles that are off-brand or inconsistent with each other?

Fill your to-do list with sites and channels that need to be updated and deleted, and put them in order of priority.

4. Find an internal champion to help.

This is especially important if you are a consultant or work for an agency. You need a buddy in the company who can help with the clean-up process. You’ll need usernames and passwords, branding guidelines, sign-off on copy/images, etc.

It’s not critical that this person be in marketing or PR as long as he or she understands what you want to accomplish and can get you the information and answers you need in a timely manner.

5. Start scrubbing!

The time it takes to finish this phase will vary depending on whether you need the help of the social networks’ customer service departments. For example, if a company has a personal LinkedIn profile and you don’t have log-in data, you need to submit a help ticket through LinkedIn to delete the profile. The same goes for Facebook. If you need to delete a page but don’t have the log in, you need to claim the business as yours, submit proof, and wait for Facebook to process your request.

Keep track of your progress during this phase and give frequent updates to leadership.

6. Implement the strategy.

Once you clean up the company’s online presence, it’s time to put the strategy into action. Make sure you communicate even the smallest wins and successes as you start to strategically grow the company’s online presence. This will ensure leadership understands your hard work is leading to results.

Have you ever cleaned up a company’s online and social media presence?

Nikki Little is the social media manager at Identity, and manages/contributes to Identity’s blog, ID Tags. A version of this article originally appeared on Spin Sucks.

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