Six Step Process to Clean Up a Company’s Online Presence

By: Guest | May 22, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Nikki Little

Those of us ingrained in the social media world talk a lot about what you should and shouldn’t do in the space.

That’s important knowledge to share, but what happens when someone else makes the mistakes and you’re charged with fixing them?

If you haven’t encountered this already, I bet there will come a time when you have to clean up a company’s online and social media presence.

Maybe it will be a situation like what I just went through with a client where leadership empowered the interns to own social and they created a huge mess (classic example, right?).

Or, maybe the company hired a self-professed “expert” who led them down the completely wrong path in the social world.

Whatever the situation, if you’re charged with cleaning up a company’s online and social media presence, this process will help you to restore order successfully:

  • Conduct a comprehensive online/social media audit. You may know the company’s online presence is a hot mess, but you need to effectively communicate this to leadership. Put together an audit outlining where the company has a presence online. Screenshots of profiles and specific content help tremendously to get your point across.The audit should include a breakdown of any and all websites and social networks where the company has an owned presence and where customers are talking about the company and its products/services. Include what the company is doing right and wrong, as well as competitors.
  • Create the social media strategy. Based on what you learn from the audit and what internal and external implementation resources are in place, put together the company’s online and social media strategy (make sure it’s tied to goals!). Even if your strategy calls for nothing more than monitoring online activity, it should serve as the roadmap for success moving forward.
  • Compile the clean-up list. With the audit complete and the company’s online strategy in place, it’s time to create your clean-up list. Are there duplicate profiles on certain networks (such as a personal and brand page on Facebook for a company)? Should certain profiles be deleted because they aren’t part of your strategy? Do multiple locations have their own profiles that are off brand or not consistent with each other? Fill your to-do list with sites/channels that need updating and deleting, and put them in order of priority.
  • Find an internal champion to help. This is especially important if you’re at an agency or are a consultant. You need a buddy in the company who can help with the clean-up process. You’ll need usernames and passwords, branding guidelines, sign-off on copy/images, etc. It’s not critical this person be in marketing or PR, as long as it’s someone who understands what you’re trying to accomplish and can get you the information and answers you need in a timely manner.
  • Start scrubbin’! The time it takes to finish this phase will vary depending on whether you need to enlist the help of the social networks’ customer service departments. For example, if there is a personal LinkedIn profile for a company and you don’t have login data, you need to submit a help ticket through LinkedIn to get that profile deleted. Same goes for Facebook. If you need to delete a page but don’t have the login, you need to claim the business as yours, submit proof and wait for Facebook to process your request. Keep track of your progress during this phase and give frequent updates to leadership.
  • Implement the strategy. Once you’ve cleaned up the company’s online and social presence, it’s time to put the strategy into action. Make sure you communicate even the smallest wins and successes as you start to strategically grow the company’s online presence so leadership understands how your hard work is leading to results.

Have you tackled cleaning up a company’s online and social presence?

Nikki Little is the social media manager at Identity, an integrated public relations firm located in metro Detroit. She blogs on her personal site, Essential Elements, and manages/contributes to Identity’s blog, ID Tags. Nikki is also the Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO) Michigan champion and secretary of Social Media Club Detroit. Follow her on Twitter @nikki_little.


  • Straight forward, simple, and too the point. great common sense list, Nikki! Step five can be a real source of stress and anxiety, that’s for sure. 

    •  @KenMueller Thank you! And yes, step 5 definitely is a trial of patience.

  • ericajmoss

    It’s difficult to fully articulate how happy my heart is to see my buddy Nikki on Spin Sucks. #bucketlist
    While I’ve usually been the one building a social media presence from scratch, I can see how revamping an existing set-up might become the norm as companies become more savvy and begin to see the error of their ways. I imagine redefining a brand’s “voice” is one of the biggest challenges in this clean-up process. This is a great roadmap!

    •  @ericajmoss We’re definitely seeing it more at Identity, which is why I got the idea to write this post! As companies want to get smarter and more strategic about social, it’s necessary to clean up what exists that isn’t working or won’t be part of the future strategy.

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  • John_Trader1

    Great post Nikki and unfortunate that some companies give free reign over their social media without the presence of proper checks and balances in place to ensure integrity and quality. I would think that more often than that, companies backtrack and find themselves reviving a social presence that was created but wasn’t nurtured and sustained and certainly your simple steps would also apply to get them back on track.  Thanks for the tips!

    •  @John_Trader1Yes on both points! Thanks for the feedback.

  • Concise, yet comprehensive strategy- in true @Nikki Little fashion!  I think any size company, from a local, small business to a large company with multiple, national locations can benefit from this strategy. I imagine that some steps will be more important or laborious for some, depending on the size of the company and current state of their online presence, but this plan can definitely help anyone take control of their social media presence and move it in the right direction.

    •  @JuliPeterson Oh yes – it’s definitely more time-intensive if it’s a larger company with tons of profiles. Bigger mess to clean up!

  • patrickreyes

    Love seeing more Detroit people contributing to Spin Sucks!  Great blog nikki_little !  Not only should companies clean up their online presence but people should too!  With so many properties, it’s hard to imagine people or companies can manage them all effectively.

    •  @patrickreyes Yup, people can definitely take parts of this process and use it for personal profile clean up, too.

  • bryanwillmert

    Great post @Nikki Little !!!  So many great nuggets of wisdom!

  • I get the feeling some companies still view social media as something for the interns to handle, which, as you allude to, is not the proper strategy. Hopefully those perpetrators read your post.

    •  @bradmarley It’s so sad, but yes, they still do. When given proper guidance, interns can be part of the execution, but they should not be allowed to blindly create and manage an online presence for a company/brands simply because they are “from the digital era.”

  • Excellent post, Nikki! I was happy to see a thorough audit prescribed as the first actionable step. 🙂 

    •  @jasonkonopinski Thank you! An audit is absolutely critical. You can’t recommend updates or a smart strategy unless you know what exists – particularly where opportunities exist online.

  • The new Detroit Big 3 = Nikki, Patrick, and Me. Kidding!! Seriously, congrats on your post, Nikki. Solid information any company, large or small, can use.

    •  @DaveMurr Haha, I like it! 😉 Thanks for reading.

  • Great post, Nikki! Cleaning up an online presence and starting new can be hard work, but this post is certainly helpful. I’ve had family members and close friends ask me to consult on their business’ social media strategy and I hesitate to get too involved — that’s a job for a professional! 

    •  @annedreshfield Thanks, Anne. It’s definitely time consuming and tedious, but totally worth it!

  • What’s missing for me are the tools you’d use to do the audit. Do you use anything you like, that works, that is efficient? Thanks.

    •  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Doing basic searches for the company name and its products/services on Google (also Google News and the Google blog filter) and social networks will pull up a lot of the existing content. My team at Identity also uses Sysomos Heartbeat for monitoring and finding content related to our clients online.

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  • Great post! I would like to add that searching for post containing negative reviews and giving the user some apology and great service will do, also having an active part in the social media will also do the trick in order to succeed in the online market. 

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  • DanFuoco

    Great information, Nikki. I especially like the various questions in point #3. It’s in our nature to want more but sometimes, as you suggest, we may need to delete profiles to run a smoother, cleaner machine. Sometimes the basics are best to make sure your message gets across to your public. Thanks for the read!

    •  @DanFuoco Yes, exactly! It’s completely unnecessary to have a presence everywhere if it doesn’t work with your strategy (and, more importantly, if the people you are trying to reach aren’t there).

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