Since we celebrated the start of spring this week – so sorry to those of you who are not yet enjoying spring-like weather! – I thought I would update this post which first appeared last year around this time. The significance of this topic actually warrants an annual post.
One of the little pieces of advice I frequently give for managing social media is to make time once per month to review your social media accounts. As these platforms often change, your settings may change, along with the functions and features of the site. If you don’t make the time once per month, then I hope you will at least take a moment to “spring clean” your social media accounts, pruning and watering your network at least once this year.
6 Steps to Social Spring Cleaning
Think of these first two steps as housework. We’re inside and we have two key tasks we need to take care of before we can have a little fun tending to the spring garden:
Just as you would put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands before you use bleach, your accounts require protection, too. Let’s start with your login information. When was the last time you updated your passwords? Several social sites have had security breaches in this past year, as well as major retailers. Take a moment to change your passwords and better protect your accounts. Do not use words like “password” or “admin,” your name or your birthday in your password. Combinations of numbers and letters, upper and lower case are advised. While it is not suggested by most digital gurus, I do actually keep a written list of my passwords, as I have different passwords for each account (and my password memory isn’t that stellar). Do not use the same password for all of your accounts. You definitely do not want to use the same password for your bank account as you do on Facebook. Mercy!
Next, make sure you review the security and privacy settings. Social media sites are continually evolving and often release new features. When they do, it’s possible that some settings revert to default. This is more often the case with Facebook. Go through your account and privacy settings and make sure that you understand how the site functions. LinkedIn’s settings are also multi-layered. Are you visible to only the people you want to be visible to? Refresh your profile data and make sure it reflects you accurately. Coordinate your bio/about me/profile sections across all your sites so that you are branded across each channel where you are active.
Now it’s time to do a little gardening and improve the health of your networks:
If you don’t actually know the folks you are friends with on Facebook, not sure why you follow some of those folks on Twitter, or cannot find value in your LinkedIn connections, this is a time to unfriend, unfollow and disconnect. Be certain about who you are interacting with on any of the social sites. It is significant to recognize that you and your personal brand are associated with the people in your digital networks. You would not allow unsightly plants grow wild in your manicured garden. Don’t allow inappropriate contacts to influence your network and image. Remove the weeds.
Both Facebook and Twitter offer a list function which is amazingly helpful in organizing your contacts. I have created lists on Facebook around how I know people. On Twitter, I organize my Tweeps by category/profession or topics they tweet about. A fabulous tip for the Twitter lists – you don’t have to follow people to put them on a list. Twitter lists are still one of the most under-used and under-valued functions on Twitter. My lists really help me find valuable content and stay up-to-date with my favorite accounts. This is an older blog post, but still relatively accurate in understanding how to create your lists on FB and Twitter: Make That List!
Since you’ve already gone through your contacts and removed the weeds, you should have some empty pots to fill. Find a few key contacts that you are not yet connected to and plant those seeds! Send them a nice note on LinkedIn as to why you want to connect. Use Twitter’s suggestions of who to follow. See who’s signed up for Instagram or Snapchat and make a connection. You can even follow some big brands to learn how they are using these platforms, planting some ideas into your head as to how you will leverage these networks.
Take some time on LinkedIn to endorse your connections for their skills. It’s a nice way to let them know you’ve remembered them and might spark a beneficial reconnection. They will likely return the endorsements and help you build your profile. Tweet to someone you haven’t conversed with in awhile or send a private message to an old friend on Facebook. Social media is designed to help you stay connected to family, friends and professional contacts. Take advantage of these features to allow your garden of networks to bloom.
BONUS: Lastly, take out your calendar and schedule 30 minutes each month to go through your social media settings. (So that you don’t begin to rely on my annual reminder in spring!) A monthly check-in will allow you to stay on top of new features, keep those weeds at bay and enjoy social networks which are active, vibrant and productive.
Happy Social Spring Cleaning!