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What better time of year than spring to get a handle on all of your social profiles and finally get around to cleaning them up?
I bet there’s at least one old photo… one broken link… one not-quite-current bio that could use a little sprucing up.
Most times we’re too busy to notice and it’s too easy to let those things languish – take it from someone who has had “update LinkedIn profile” on my list for about six months now!
But with a change of season it’s a nice little reminder that we need to change, too. With that in mind, here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your online presence is current and looking sharp.
It helps to approach your cleanup with a plan. That means put the broom away and assess before you start sweeping.
Make a list of all of the social networks where you have a presence. This might not be as simple as you think! I was surprised recently when I made up my mind to update all of my personal bios and realized just how many places they existed.
Sure, there are the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. But remember that time you set up a StumbleUpon account because it seemed like fun at the time? Exactly – me either.
If you know where all of your accounts are you can clean them up in one sweep instead of finding dust bunnies in corners for weeks to come.
Weed Out The Junk
Not every place you’ve set up shop turned into a prime bit of real estate. Some of those accounts were flat out duds. So why are you keeping them?
Maybe you planned to try Pinterest but in the end it turned out to be an exercise in futility. Maybe you just hate Twitter.
Whether it’s a major social network or an obscure one you jumped on just to say you did, close accounts that are inactive. There’s no point to making an effort to maintain a social presence that isn’t doing you any good and is instead taking up your time to keep up with.
The danger of keeping inactive accounts open is that you will ignore them and then you will forget about them until one day when you – or worse, a prospect or client Googles you and finds something ancient and inaccurate.
Update Bios And Descriptions
I find this to be a really useful trick: write one full-length and thorough bio for yourself. Then chop it up into pieces as necessary based on the requirements and character limits of the various social networks.
You can always use your longest, most complete version on your own website.
After that, start with LinkedIn because at 2000 characters you can be pretty thorough.
Then slice, dice and copy-paste your way to a brand new set of updated bios without spending a ton of time rewriting each one individually.
Depending on the social network you may want to modify your tone – I like to be a little more playful on Twitter and professional on LinkedIn – but with a single starting point you’ll save yourself a lot of time rewriting.
That goes for the descriptions on your company pages, too. Start with one long form “about us” bio and then modify it across the various networks. The added bonus of doing this is that you’ll ensure a consistent presence across your entire online portfolio.
Update Photos And Graphics
When you piecemeal things you will probably find that something is out of sync. That happened to us as we perused our business profiles and realized we were using an old version of our logo on LinkedIn even though we’d changed it on Facebook and Google.
Take stock of everything at once and you’ll get a nice big-picture look at the photos, logos and other graphics that you’re using.
Personally, I like to use the same photo on every single social network. That way I know what I look like when someone finds me and I don’t have to worry about missing something next time I make an update. I just go across the board and do it.
That’s entirely up to you, but keep in mind that if you want a consistent image and brand, it pays to be consistent with your photos, too. One photo of you with your dyed-blonde biker look and another of you looking like a Victoria’s Secret model can be disconcerting for people who may only know you online and are trying to get a handle on who you are.
Depending on the network you may have a profile photo and one or more background images. All the main networks have changed the dimensions of those images and graphics at least once. That means one of your cover photos or images somewhere may be stretched, squished, broken or just plain gone. Make it a point to ensure that all of your graphics are current and consistent.
Review Your Activity
I admit, I have a few personal accounts that I haven’t posted on since… well, I’d rather not admit it right now, so let’s say “a while”.
Yet they aren’t accounts I’ve given up on, so I don’t want to close them.
If that sounds like you, then take stock of your inactivity and find out where you’re lagging. You don’t have to do something about it right now but as soon as you’re done with your spring cleaning then make a plan for tackling those black holes and keeping your activity as current as your photos.
Pare Down And Organize Followers
This one requires a little more brainpower so you may want to do it over a few days, especially if you’ve accumulated hundreds or thousands of followers.
Depending on the network, you may want to un-fan/friend/follow people who you are not engaging with or deriving any benefit from.
On Twitter, you can easily unfollow inactive accounts, spam accounts and people who don’t follow you back.
On other networks like Facebook and Google you can unfriend/uncircle people who don’t add value to your particular corner of the world.
This can seem mean or insensitive when we’re so often hung up on the idea of reciprocal following, but people can be clutter, too. And if your networks are cluttered with people who you aren’t talking to, who don’t bring any value or who you aren’t even paying attention to, then they’re only blocking your view of the people who do matter.
Pare where you can and organize otherwise. That might mean rethinking your lists and circles, renaming them or even moving people from one to the other. Focus on creating groups of high-value people so that when you’re short on time and attention, you know where to focus your energies. Those lists may contain prospects, clients, collaborators, friends, resources… whatever works to help you focus on key relationships.
Most social networks let you enter more than just a bio so you probably have a bunch of details to check.
These can become out of date or even out of sync as networks change their own parameters.
Facebook in particular has gone through a number of category changes for business pages so check yours to be sure it’s accurate.
Make sure all of your links work, from the one on your Twitter profile to any you’ve added to your Facebook page. The quickest way to lose leads is to send them on a wild goose chase to web pages that no longer exist or accounts you no longer have.
Sometimes you might find you can add more information than you could before. Facebook is notorious for making changes so you might be surprised not only by the information that is (and isn’t) completed on your profile but also how it’s displayed.
If you’re putting this on your to-do list right now… somewhere down at the bottom right around “clean cobwebs out of the corner of the garage”, I get it. I was a little overwhelmed by the thought of doing this, too.
But I bet if you start with that list, one really good bio and a single set of photos and graphics, you’ll find that you can create once and use many times.
Then it’s just logistics. Log in, update and go!