• Many companies do not have complete oversight over their social accounts
  • A regular inventory of social accounts provides social operations a method for making necessary adjustments
  • A minimalist approach allows social operations to reduce brand risk and declutter the channels their followers frequent

Last fall, frustrated with all the toys and schoolwork strewn about the house, I signed up for an online minimalist course. My hope was to gain a more process-driven approach to tackling the junk – I mean, the toys and schoolwork. Before I joined the course, when I needed motivation to clean, a few minutes watching “Hoarders” on television would amp me up enough to tackle it all. But those efforts were usually futile and had no lasting impact. So I embarked on this 12-week course, going week by week, using the program’s approach to reducing, decluttering and organizing. The process helped me look at things with fresh eyes, tackle what had grown over time, and apply a new rationale for any future purchases.

finger on internet

In some ways, social media has grown in a similarly chaotic way in B2B. At first it was new, so as businesses, we were quick to add accounts to social platforms as soon as they were available, thinking it was better to claim our spot to protect the name, then plan to revisit the “why” later. Creating new accounts is easy. Maintaining them, less so.

Now many companies have too many accounts spread across too many social platforms, managed by far too many people spread across the world. In one sense, it’s no different than attempting to clean a house with a toddler following you. Whatever you put away will quickly be pulled back out if you don’t plan wisely. (My tip: Only discard or donate toys when the kids are out of the house.)

To better tackle the problem, first take an inventory of the company’s social media accounts. Create a master spreadsheet listing all corporate social media accounts, being sure to detail the account owners and rationale for each account. A social media operations manager can use the following steps to apply the minimalist “four-box method” to social accounts: trash, give away, keep or relocate.

  • Trash. For accounts that are no longer active and whose mission is no longer a priority, determine an appropriate exit strategy.
  • Give away. We certainly aren’t donating our social channels to any other organization, but it is possible that an account managed by one team has a priority and focus that more closely matches that of another team within the company. In this instance, consider the implications of resuscitating the account by changing internal account ownership. Construct social programming that introduces the new approach to your followers, and indicate where they should visit to get more content from the original team.
  • Keep. Retain social accounts that are still active and relevant, and maintain an active level of social programming and engagement.
  • Relocate. Some accounts are created to support a business unit or service area’s need, but it is later determined that the business unit still has enough content and interest to support a channel, but that the actual platform is no longer a fit. For instance, it is common for companies to have multiple Twitter accounts to service corporate, recruiting and customer service interests, to name a few. However, after a social operations manager conducts an analysis and meets with the team, it may be decided that the actual platform (Twitter in this case) may not be the best choice. For this purpose, the team may decide to “relocate” the social programming for recruiting to another platform like LinkedIn or others.

It may be a headache to inventory current social accounts, but it helps reduce potential risks. Social operations should have admin access and oversight for all accounts. The spreadsheet should be reviewed annually for any needed updates. For security purposes, the master spreadsheet should not be distributed internally and access must be limited to social operations and other leadership that is identified as essential.

Gaining control of active sites is the first, but very important, step in regaining control of an organization’s social media presence. And until they’ve created a “Hoarders for Social Media Accounts” TV show, we’ll have to push ourselves to reduce where necessary so we can truly enjoy and leverage the accounts we have.