Welcome to the Social Media Spring Cleaning Challenge!

Can you believe that Facebook and Twitter have been around for over a decade? Do you even remember Orkut, SixDegrees, and Friendster? Check out this Short History of Social Media infographic from Morrison Foerster LLP if you want to take a stroll down memory lane. On second thought, save the reminiscing for later. We have work to do!

By now, your agency has likely collected a few forgotten experiments in your social media closets. Do you know how many pages and profiles are representing you? Has it been a minute since you changed your passwords or checked who has access to your pages? Could your content strategy use a refresh? Perhaps your social media policy is a little dusty?

Over the next four weeks we will be issuing four challenges to help you clean out your social media closets and make sure your online presence is sparkling. We will start week one by unpacking everything and seeing what’s there. Week two will help you tighten up account access and help ensure pages don’t get shut down for TOS violations. In week three we’ll do a content and engagement review. Finally, we’ll close out the challenge by dusting off that policy and making sure it’s still working for you.

Put on your gloves and let’s get started!


Week 1: Find Yourself


Part 1: Account Discovery

The first step in our Social Media Spring Cleaning challenge is to find and evaluate all of the social media pages that represent your agency. There are several ways to go about this, and you still might not find everything, but these three methods should reveal the bulk of accounts that you need to be concerned with:

1) Enter your city/county/agency name followed by the name of a social media network into your favorite search engine.

For example, you can search for “Sampleville Facebook” in Google and you will see any Facebook pages and profiles that feature “Sampleville” in the name. You can do the same for any social network you want to explore. We tried this with our home city of Durham and this is what we found:

List of Facebook pages associated with Durham, NC found through a Google search of the terms, "Durham Facebook"

List of Facebook pages associated with Durham, NC found through a Google search

Note: If you don’t have location based search enabled, you may need to add your state to the search term to refine the results.

2) Enter your agency name directly into the search bar of each social media network.

You will want to refine the results based on the network in order to view the accounts instead of stories, mentions, etc. Examples of how to do this on the most popular networks are below.

  • On Facebook, select “Pages” on the results page
  • For Twitter, select “People”
  • On Instagram, just scroll down the list once you have run the search
  • For YouTube, run the search and then select “Filter” on the top right of the search results. Select “Channel” under the type menu

3) Send out a survey to all departments asking for the Page/Profile/Screen names of all accounts they manage.

There are lots of great (free) tools out there that you can use to make a quick survey and collect results. We like Google forms because the information feeds directly into a Google Sheets spreadsheet that can be downloaded as a .csv for use in Excel. Don’t overthink this! Keep the form simple if you people to respond. You might even ask the departments to try the first two steps listed above. Make sure they include a list of the admins for each page!

Part 2: Handling Imposters, Affiliates, and Unclaimed Pages

Once you have your list, the next step is to sort the accounts into two piles: those that are official and those that are not.

The next few weeks of our spring cleaning challenge will focus on official accounts so you can set those aside for now. For those that are not sanctioned, we recommend you take one of three actions:

1) Claim them:

On Facebook you may find a page that was created automatically when someone checked into a place that doesn’t have a managed Page. If you find one of these, you have the option to claim it. You can then merge it into your official page.

  • Directions to create or claim an unofficial page are here.
  • Directions for merging the page once it’s been claimed are here.

Facebook also has been known to create Place pages that represent geographic locations. These cannot be claimed and can be a source of frustration when they list incorrect addresses for parks or other public places. Fortunately, it appears that Facebook has removed these place pages from the search results and may have gotten rid of them all together, but as with many changes Facebook makes, there isn’t much information available to explain the change.

2) Report them:

If there is a page or profile claiming to represent your agency online, you can and should report this to the network. This is particularly true if the page uses official logos, seals, or other protected intellectual property. You can find information on reporting this under the help section of most networks, but here is the information for the most popular ones:

  • Facebook: You can file an intellectual property claim if someone has used your copyrighted or trademarked agency logo or seal. You may need to provide evidence of how you have used them online, which you can readily obtain using your ArchiveSocial archive.
  • Twitter: Use this form to report an account for impersonation
  • Instagram: The form is different depending on whether or not you have an account, but links for both scenarios can be found here.
  • YouTube: They do not have a policy against someone creating channels or videos pretending to be a business/agency, but if someone is impersonating your channel (i.e. commenting as if they are you) or an individual, that is against their policy and can be reported here.

3) Support them:

You may find civic booster clubs, community arts organizations, and other local entities that tie into your agency’s mission. Why not use this opportunity to grow your network? Start by following these accounts and/or inviting them to follow you back. You should check to make sure you aren’t violating your agency’s policy on endorsement, but even if you can’t follow them you can ask these entities help extend your reach.

The rest of the Social Media Spring Cleaning challenge will focus on cleaning up and dusting off the official accounts you discovered in Part 1. Before we sign off for the week, take a quick look at that list of official pages and compare it to the list of accounts currently connected to your archive. The easiest way to do this is to view this report (you will to sign in first). If any are missing, complete this week’s challenge by adding them now.

That’s it! Join us next week when we do a deep dive into permissions, passwords, and best practices for keeping your accounts secure.

Let us know what you think!