- Audit your accounts. Start by making a list of all of your online accounts. I suggest creating a spreadsheet with row for each platform and columns for your username, password, and profile. During this initial audit, consider any platforms on which you haven't created an account but should have a presence or, at least squat your name before someone else grabs it. (Tools such as Namchk can be helpful.)
- Look at your avatars and profile pictures. I'm a fairly firm believer in using the same avatar across platforms so followers can quickly identify with you. (Although, I admit I did just swap out my Facebook avatar for a more casual one.) Do what fits your brand identity, but make sure it's visually consistent. And, by all means, if you are using a picture that no longer looks like you (old hairstyle, different glasses, etc.) get an update. When and if your social followers ever meet you in real life, they should be able to recognize you by your avatar. (Tip: Before uploading your avatar, check the file name you've saved it as. "Avatar_New" is not going to do you any favors. Try something more keyword-heavy like, "Name_Company_Title")
- Check your profile information. Profile information is highly searchable content. In order to take advantage of this, you need to completely fill out all of the fields. (Please, fill in your location, too!) Don't waste this valuable real estate. Make sure that your information is current and consistent across all platforms. This is truly a writing exercise that shouldn't be taken lightly. This content should be optimized with the keywords by which you wish to be known and found.
- If you are squatting, say so. There's nothing wrong with squatting your name on a social property on which you are not active, but if that's the case, you should include a post or profile line that explains that, and tell followers where they can engage with you.
- Syndicate and aggregate. Please allow me to paraphrase from Engage! by Brian Solis: syndicate and aggregate your content, but be careful not to aggregate what you are syndicating or syndicate what you are aggregating. This tactic is an important one, but one that needs to be done carefully and artfully so as not to annoy your followers or, worse, duplicate content or publish content where you hadn't intended. (For example, your blog might auto post to Twitter and Facebook. But, if you also have your Tweets set to auto-post to Facebook you just double posted your blog.) Most social platforms allow you to syndicate posts from other platforms, or, to aggregate a feed from elsewhere. These tools can be great ways to populate platforms on which you are not actively engaged, but be mindful of where your content is going and whether or not it makes sense to that audience. It pays to have a bit of a content strategy in mind to help you decide what type of content is being posted where, what will be native and what is automated, etc. (Tip: I like to track all of this in my spreadsheet as well. This way, if you ever make changes, you can quickly see where you need to adjust.)
Best wishes for keeping your social media presence fit and active this 2011!
Kary Delaria is a digital PR strategist and social media monitoring and measurement specialist for Kane Consulting, a Minneapolis-based social media marketing and PR firm. You can contact her via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or @KaryD on Twitter.