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The other day someone I know in real life to be smart, vibrant and multi-faceted tweeted that his Twitter account was 10 years old. While I admired his impressive social media anniversary, I racked my brain to try and remember the last time he’d shared anything other than a random sports meme or a vitriolic rant about the drivers he encountered on his morning commute.
I also wondered why then he kept up his Twitter account at all, since to the uninitiated this smart and multi-faceted human doesn’t come across as smart — much less as successful — as he is in real life.
In the past few years, social media has taught us that it’s entirely possible to hold an esteemed political office without any obvious social media strategy. For the rest of us who are either building our networks or hoping to connect with like-minded professionals, there needs to be some sort of plan driving our online connections and interactions.
Don’t wait until it gets stale: Bruce Mendelsohn, Principal of The Hired Pen, a digital marketing and communications consultancy, shared some advice he offers his own clients. “I advise my clients to update (change) their social media profiles as often as they change batteries in their smoke alarms,” or about every six months. In that way, you’re sure that people won’t tune you out or think your content is no longer relevant.
As Mendelsohn explains it, “Most people are still trying to understand that consistent social media monitoring, auditing and makeovers are essential to protect their personal brand and/or their business brand. This is increasingly essential as lines between the two grow increasingly blurry.”
Mendelsohn shared six of his top social media makeover tips to make sure your streams are not only relevant but are also helping to build and not distract from your brand.
Ensure consistency across all platforms
Do all of your social media platforms convey the same message about who you are, what you do and what you offer? If one of your accounts is strictly for off time, consider taking it private so as not to distract potential employers or clients.
Change profile picture and masthead graphic
Mendelsohn advises doing this at least every two years. And while you’re at it, make sure your photo is appropriate for the platform. That means splurging on a spiffy new headshot for LinkedIn every now and again.
Updated contact info
Check to make sure that your email address, telephone numbers and URLs are all up to date and that if someone clicks, they get to the right place.
Revise the call to action
This can include anything from inviting people to connect with you, reminding them what your mission is or helping them understand why you’re worth knowing. Mendelsohn says if you don’t have one, make one up. That can be as simple as “Follow me on Twitter/Gram/Facebook” if you’re looking for new followers.
Audit for any comments, inquiries, or flame you may have missed
This one’s important. Don’t let the trolls manage your reputation for you. If you see that you or your brand is the subject of unwanted chatter online, find a way to polish yourself and your product. Ignoring an issue doesn’t make it disappear.
Do a deeper dive
Mendelsohn says that you should Google yourself to seven pages. His clients are “ALWAYS surprised by what they discover about themselves.”
Or opt out entirely
A lot of people are so burnt out on social media vitriol that they’ve taken a giant step back and deleted one or more of their accounts. This might not be realistic if you regularly connect with others online, find sources or potential clients that way, or even use social media to promote yourself and your work.