It can happen to even the best marketing organizations.
A change in staff or shift in focus can take a toll on a social media program. As a result, programs may go rogue under the management of untrained individuals. Or sometimes programs can fail to get off the ground in a strategic or effective manner at all.
At LEA, we’ve seen this troubling situation with new clients a number of times. A newly hired social media manager or agency can walk into a quagmire of duplicate social media accounts, stagnant accounts, inconsistent brand messaging across platforms, or ignored comments—both positive and negative—from followers spanning back years.
If you’re new to your position or account and find yourself in a similar quandary, don’t fret. With a planned, strategic approach, even the most dysfunctional or inactive social media programs can be reignited to become engaging, effective and successful.
Ready to get started? Here are seven tips for new social media managers to establish a lay of the land and integrate the company’s social media under one voice.
Conduct a social media audit
Many smaller brands and companies have multiple associates, with good intentions but little direction, opening accounts and posting on social media networks. Over time, this results in duplicate accounts existing on each platform.
The good news is that, often, these lingering accounts are dormant but, although harmless from a public relations standpoint, they still need to be deleted or merged with the active account because they are drawing visitors away from the main page.
Begin your audit by creating a spreadsheet and list all of your brand’s social media accounts, including duplicates. Fields you might want to include are the date the account was created, number of followers, and number of network users your brand is following.
It’s likely at this point you’ll be ready to start your digital housecleaning to bring all the accounts together under one voice and create new user names. All social media platforms will provide steps on how to merge accounts, correct inaccurate information, and ways to access or delete inactive accounts.
Change passwords and identify administrators
This is where it can get scary for a new social media manager because you might find that no one knows who opened accounts years ago, which email addresses were used, and which password was created for each account. We’ve worked with organizations that have lost access to a key social media platform because a former employee left without sharing password information, and a new password cannot be reset because the employee’s email address was deactivated.
You can see how important it is to not only to keep track of who has the passwords, but also when they last were changed. Password monitoring and maintenance is especially important to prevent departing employees from having access to your brand’s social media accounts.
To keep the unimaginable from happening—your accounts being hacked or being locked out altogether—using a password manager app is a good strategy to track your passwords and quickly change who has access to multiple social accounts. Our favorite tool is 1Password (1password.com) because it has a business option to easily share and update passwords. This can be useful when, for instance, allowing an outside consultant to have access for a brief time; the password can be changed and then switched back for employee use.
Another app that many social media managers like is LastPass (www.lastpass.com), because it syncs across an unlimited number of devices. For those new to the world of using a password manager, Dashlane (www.dashlane.com) might be your choice because of its fully interactive website. All have a free version, so it really comes down to personal preference.
Now is the time to create new, strong passwords. Here are a few tips we give our clients on creating failsafe passwords.
- Always include a combination of upper-and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.
- Avoid using a variation of your brand’s name or its well-known marketing slogan.
- Use between 12 and 15 characters, and change your passwords quarterly.
Verify social media accounts
Identifying and verifying your brand’s official account is a good idea, especially if multiple social channels have been opened throughout the years by various employees or fans of your brand. While each platform has its own verification process, this may be a difficult – and sometimes impossible – task.
Facebook offers two colors of verification checkmarks, blue and gray. Because blue checkmarks usually are reserved for international brands, media organizations, and public figures, we’ll focus on the more straightforward gray verification badges. Click on Settings at the top of your page, and under General, click Page Verification.
After clicking on Verify this Page, enter a publically listed phone number and click Call Me Now. Facebook will call you with a four-digit verification code to use to continue the process. Facebook also has a process in place to allow you to verify your account by submitting a business document, such a utility bill, showing your business name and address.
For other key platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, check out their help center for up-to-the-minute information to verify an account, if it’s possible. Twitter uses a blue verification badge, and verified accounts are typically those in entertainment, politics, religion, sports, media and other high-profile areas of interest.
Verification on Instagram can be difficult because the platform chooses which accounts to verify on its own. Regardless, prepare your brand’s account to be verified when new policies are introduced on these platforms by linking to web and other social sites, and keeping logos, packaging images, and website addresses current. Which leads us to…
Unify your brand image
You want your followers and customers to recognize your brand’s social media identity no matter which platform they’re using. Be sure cover images are consistent, outdated logos are replaced, and embarrassing photos of holiday parties past are removed and archived. Delete images or posts that might cast the organization in a bad light.
If your organization has branch or regional offices or executives who had overlapping marketing responsibilities, don’t be surprised to find different address and contact information being used across social media platforms.
Review comments and analyze engagement
When reviewing old comments you’ll want to check for two things: Did anyone within the organization reply or acknowledge the comment, and are there any odd, inappropriate, or negative comments? Delete those odd, spam-type of comments or anything inappropriate. As for the negative comments, if it’s a recent comment, respond with a respectful and helpful reply and, of course, be prepared to do the same on any future negative comments. Acknowledging only the positive doesn’t show your audience you value their input, or earn their loyalty. And remember, not every comment warrants a reply, but acknowledging comments with a ‘like’ shows you’re paying attention, and starts building engagement.
Take account of what kind of engagement (e.g., likes/shares, views) and how much engagement the organization experienced before you came on board because this data is what you will measure your success against.
Also note how frequently the organization interacted with their followers and across the platform. You’ve already reviewed comments, but how active was the organization outside of their own page? Did they visit other pages and like content or comment? Did they continue to find new pages to follow and interact? All of these will affect total engagement on your organization’s page going forward and are items for you to improve upon.
Review agreements with Influencers and other content creators
Because it’s still new territory, many traditional marketers go charging into social media influencer campaigns without a clear business goal in mind. If you’re a new social media manager, you’ll want to ensure that all influencer service agreements are being fulfilled, and the created content supports the brand.
There are some Instagram influencers who will quietly archive past posts that have lowered their average engagement in order keep reach, impressions, and engagement numbers looking as good as possible so that they can charge higher fees to prospective brands.
So, as you pull together your brand’s social media programs, look closely to make sure the results of all influencer campaigns are being measured for positive quantitative results such as conversions into sales. You might want to check out one of our previous blogs, Under the Influence: Using Influencer Marketing Successfully, which provides insights on building long-lasting relationships with social media influencers.
Begin a social media calendar
A social media calendar is an excellent tool for organizing your content for the coming weeks, allowing you to track events for your organization or holidays, and plan your content accordingly. Not only will the calendar help you plan ahead, it’s also a tool to track past content, by year and month, with captions, images, and links. Having your content prepared in advance provides a more sustainable marketing message, with much less stress.
A social media content calendar template we think covers all bases is one we found on HubSpot. It helps you create a monthly planning calendar to schedule posts by day, date, and time as well as spreadsheet tabs to track posts across platforms. Best of all, it provides a place to maintain a backlog of social media content for you to source when needed. This is a link to a blog post that explains exactly how to use the template.
Social media managers have changed the way organizations view their online communications, and how they use digital PR to reach followers and increase their customer base. It takes some work, but it’s never too late for a brand that has ignored social media marketing to transition into a force to be reckoned with among its competitors.