It's that time of year again. The snow and ice are thawing in most places, and the greenery is returning. It's a time of new beginnings. A fresh start.
Use this seasonal motivation to get organized and bring some order to your brands' social media.
Social media is quickly evolving ecosystem, and throughout the year, most community managers are just looking to keep pace with a steady flow of posts, tweets, pins, pics, and videos. But, too often, we focus on the message and not necessarily the routine maintenance – it's like filling a car up with gas but never getting the oil changed or the tires rotated.
Armed with this social spring cleaning checklist, marketers can give their social profiles a deep cleaning and enter this new season with a tuned-up presence and strategy.
1. Revisit Goals and Assess Performance
An entire social media evaluation can seem like a daunting task. It's best to start at the basics with your goals. Think about social media in the big picture and determine what your organization is trying to accomplish.
Have the goals changed since the previous year? Does the social strategy reflect the current business plans?
Take a look at your analytics and be able to summarize growth, performance, engagement, and audience demographics by channel. In the end, your social plan should support the overall brand and objectives of the organization.
After assessing the full scope, dive into individual channels and understand the role of each through a comprehensive review of content and performance.
2. Audit Current Accounts
If you don't have a master list of all your social media profiles, now's the time to start one. Go through the list and log your last activity.
Are there any channels that have gone dormant? If so, it's time to trim the fat and focus on the accounts where you plan to dedicate time and energy.
Often times, as new channels appear, brands will land-grab to ensure they stake their claim on their name and not put much thought into the actual purpose of that profile. Make the decision to either shut down inactive accounts or develop a plan to revive your presence.
With your accounts all accounted for, it's time to review and optimize several key profile components:
Social media profiles are an extension of a company's brand, so ensure consistent messaging across profiles.
The "About Me" section of a profile often gets neglected, so remember to update it with the most recent company information.
Use your company's boilerplate as a guide to filling out profile descriptions and work in keywords to drive an aligned message.
Know the fields and character limits you have to work with and adapt the message to fit the platform as needed.
Spend the time filling out the complete profile: link your website, add stores locations and contact information, and list links to your other profiles.
Images and Graphics
Social channels are constantly making updates to their platforms, and photos and images have been a big area for change. Social networks are getting onboard with bigger images dimensions to drive more visual appeal and consumer engagement.
When you're checking your brand's profile picture/avatar, cover photos, and background images, you'll want to make sure you're not just using the most current logo but that your eye-popping images fit the optimal dimensions.
Here are just a few examples of sizes recommended by social networks:
- 851 x 315 pixels (px) for Facebook cover photos,
- 1,252 x 626 px upload for Twitter header photos,
- 2,560 x 1,440 px for YouTube Channel art.
Do your homework and know your pixel parameters.
Fans and Followers
Businesses accumulate many social connections throughout the year. Go through your lists on outlets like Twitter and Google+ and connect with engaged users. Research thought leaders and influencers in your industry and follow them. Clean out the clutter too and remove any inactive profiles – check out some toolsthat can help you automate and manage Twitter followers, for example.
Not all networks allow brands to "follow" fans. On Facebook, consider liking other relevant pages (ie, other companies/divisions that might fall under your parent company, partners you work with, or influential spokespeople) and adding "Pages to Watch" – a way to track competitors and compare performance.
3. Explore New Options
Once you've updated your current profiles, it's time to evaluate whether you want to invest in new channels. Take your visuals to the next level with Pinterest, Vine, or Instagram, and consider contributing to conversations on Quora.
Pay attention to up and comers, like Whisper and Secret, which made a lot of noise at SXSW. While no formal opportunities are available to marketers on these apps just yet, keep an eye out. Marketers don't need to jump on every social opportunity available in the market, but they should be aware and select to explore the outlets that make sense for their brand.
Beyond the new, check in and see if you're missing out on any current network features or updates. Did you know that LinkedIn is sunsetting its "Products and Services Page" for Company Pages on April 14 and that Showcase Pagesare a good alternative option?
Finally, take some steps to ensure your audience is connecting with you (and you're connecting with them!):
- Implement social sharing buttons on your website and blog; if you already have them, see how they are performing and optimize them if necessary.
- Test messages across platforms and understand what content people are responding to.
- Boost your credibility with a verified account.
4. Make Maintenance Part of the Regular Routine
Instead of a once-a-year effort, try spending a few hours every couple of months to some do some social housekeeping. Taking the time to check-in on social will pay off in the long run by creating an engaging environment for current fans and followers and making a strong impression on new, potential customers.
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