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.