Not a client meeting goes by where I don’t say something kinda wise and then think to myself, “For goodness’ sake, woman…when was the last time you did that for your OWN company?”

It’s the classic problem of the Cobbler’s children having no shoes and one that I’m sure many of us face.

When you put all of your energy into making things happen for others, it’s easy to overlook your own backyard. But if you keep that up too long, it can start to damage your brand.

If you’ve been neglecting your social garden lately, why not take some time this week to give it a little attention?

Here are the five tips that help me with the task…

1. Plot out a map.

The problem with managing multiple social channels is that sometimes the upkeep and traffic flow can be a little overwhelming to wrap your brain around.

photo by Art Aspirations. (Creative Commons)

To help with this, my company maintains a map of which social properties we own, who is responsible for feeding them, what they’re connected to and how they are maintained. This helps us avoid the “OMG…I totally forgot we had a YouTube channel!” phenomenon and to shift our human and content resources to where they’re needed most.

If you’re active with social media, I highly recommend investing some time to define your playing field by creating a map (You can use Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism as a starting point). If you aren’t, consider drafting one as the critical first step in building a manageable presence.

2. Spiff up the dead patches.

Every garden has some problem areas, and your social one is no exception. You can only do so much in a day, and if you maintain multiple social properties, some of them are just going to be weaker than others.

Instead of trying to be everywhere at once, focus your efforts on the channels where you shine and find the equivalent of a fancy shrub to “gussy up” the weak ones.

There’s no sin in just syndicating content into a channel and relying on email notices to let you know if someone is interacting with it. If the presence is optimized, well-branded and transparent about your rules of engagement, it can still be an asset to your company, even without all the bells and whistles.

3. Don’t forget to water.

Just like a garden, your social presence won’t grow if it isn’t fed. You need to maintain a steady, regular infusion of content and engagement.

To help with this, I maintain a hit list of things that I must touch on a regular basis (such as tweeting daily, blogging weekly, etc.) and an ongoing list of content ideas to incorporate into those interactions.

By making social media maintenance a habit and setting up cues — like alerts and dashboards to remind yourself of immediate tasks — you can ensure that your presence stays strong and that the workload doesn’t start to pile up.

4. Weed.

In gardening, weeding and pruning are positive things — you’re removing what you don’t need to help ensure that what you do need survives. Social media is no different.

Take a critical look at each social space that you’re active in and make sure you’ve built a community within it that helps you meet your business objectives. If not, it may be time to start chopping.

For instance, go to Friend or Follow and identify the people you’re following on Twitter who are not following you back. If your interactions with these people are one-sided, they may not be serving you well.

5. Stop and smell the flowers.

You won’t know how your garden looks until you get your knees out of the dirt and step back to take it all in.

In social media, this is hard to do because so much time is eaten up by the real-time engagement and activity. But, that makes finding the time for analysis and reflection even more critical.

This doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking.

Read your last 10 blogs posts. Have you been writing a lot about one topic? Maybe it’s time to shift editorial focus (or writers) and cover something new. Scroll down through a few days worth of tweets. If you were an outsider looking at this, would these tweets give them a positive perception of you?

Like a garden, your social media will never be perfect and will never be “done.”

But if you give it the attention it deserves, I promise you, it will blossom.




  1. Thank you Jennifer . . . some fantastic suggestions.

    I really like the idea of the map and stopping to smell the flowers!

    Much appreciation!

    Paul Castain

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