Social media is no longer a ‘nice to have’ for small businesses; without a presence on the big four networks, your business will fall behind competitors, and customers may look elsewhere.

Not only are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn useful for keeping your customers up to date on new products and news about your business, but they allow you to connect to the whole world, and find new customers around every corner.

On top of that, it can help improve your customer service, increase brand awareness, humanise your brand, increase traffic to your site, generate leads, promote your content and help your products go viral.

If for whatever reason, you’ve fallen off of the social media waggon and left your profiles to sit and collect dust, you may be wondering the best way forward.

One option would be to start from scratch with new profiles, but then you’d have to delete old posts and your follower count.

Below, we’ve put together a guide to reviving an abandoned social media channel; in no time at all, your accounts will be fighting fit and jam-packed with new followers and engaging content.


Refresh your avatar and header image

Whether you’ve been away from social media for a few weeks or you’ve abandoned your accounts for years, there are lots of things you can do to stand out.

One of those is to refresh your logo and header image – especially if your company branding has changed since you last posted on social media.

Find a high-quality version of your logo to use as the avatar on social media, and create new header images for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Think about your branding and being consistent as much as possible – use your company colours to keep things flowing.

  • On Twitter, the ideal header image size is 1,500px x 500px
  • Facebook recommends a 820px x 462px image for Page headers
  • Google+ requires an image at least 1600px x 900px in size
  • LinkedIn: 1536px x 768px images for company pages, 1584px x 396px for profiles

You don’t need to hire a graphic designer to create a header image for your social profiles.

Save some money and use a free online graphic design tool such as Canva, which has hundreds of premade social media headers to choose from.

You can edit and manipulate your favourite to match your business identity and keep your channels looking fresh and unique.

You can create great-looking social media headers for free using Canva


Update your biography

As well as giving your channel artwork a lick of paint, you should also update your biography to reflect changes in your business.

Keep your biography short and sweet, and include a call to action if you want to get people to click through to your website or get in touch with your staff.

We’ve put together a four-point checklist to creating the perfect social media biography.

  • Be concise: Users follow hundreds of brands on social media, and they don’t have time for life stories. Define your brand and explain what you do in less than 100 characters.
  • Be unique: Stand out from the crowd and create a biography that people will want to read. Don’t use buzzwords or jargon, and avoid hashtags. Think outside of the box.
  • Be searchable: Make your account easy to find. If you sell hats in London, include hats in London in your bio to optimise your profile and increase organic click-through rates.
  • Be human: People want to follow people on social; they don’t want to read corporate jargon. Use colloquial language in your biography, be fun and consider adding an emoji.

Once you’re happy, press save and see what happens.

The length and style of your biography will depend on the network, but you can copy and paste and make subtle changes on different social networks once you’ve crafted a biography that you’re happy with.


Post something as soon as possible

It doesn’t matter what you post – posting something is better than nothing. As soon as you log into an old account, post and remind your followers that you’re still alive and kicking.

Share a link to one of your new products, post an article about your industry, or just say hello.

Algorithms on social networks are complex, but it’s believed that accounts that have not posted in a long time won’t have as high an organic reach than an account that posts consistently.

Therefore, posting as much as you can in the first few days can help; the more engagements and interactions you receive from your followers, the wider your organic reach will grow.


Review who you’re following – and follow new people

Before you abandoned your social media account, the chances are that you were following lots of other users. Customers, other brands, your suppliers, and so on.

Go through your list and make sure that you’re only following people that are relevant to your business – and unfollow those who don’t meet the grade.

You can use a tool like iUnfollow for Twitter and Twitly for Instagram.

If you were following thousands of users, then you could even unfollow everyone and start from scratch – but beware that this might lead to users unfollowing you, too.

Once you’re happy with the people you’re following on Twitter and Instagram, target new users who you think might be interested in your products.

You could follow users who already follow one of your competitors, or you could target people based off of hashtags or interests.

See also: How we grew to 20,000 followers in less than a year

There are lots of tools that automate following and unfollowing users on Twitter and Instagram, but these go against the social networks’ terms and conditions and could result in your account being banned.

Instead, follow manually or consider running an advert if you want a quick boost.


Create a social media strategy

Now that you’re back on social media, it’s time to put a strategy in place that will help you find new customers, drive more traffic to your website and boost brand awareness.

The key to all of those things is creating content that people want to share and interact with, so get started as soon as possible and develop a strategy that speaks to your target audience.

See also: When is the best time to post new content on social media?

One of the best ways to get started with a social media strategy is to sign up for a social media scheduling tool, that will automatically send out new content as and when you want it to.

Then, you can populate your account with new content – like images, links to articles, posts about your new products and services – and the tool will post your content at the right times.


Spread the word on other channels

If you want to revive your social media account as soon as possible, then one of the best ways of doing so is spreading the word through other avenues.

If your company blog is popping, add links to your social handles in a call to action, or write a blog post about your return, giving reasons for your absence and telling followers what to expect.

Or, if you’ve maintained an Instagram account but you abandoned your Facebook strategy, then a quick post reminding people to go like your page should suffice.

Make it as easy as possible for people to find you online – use the same handles on all of the major social networks, and add links from your website and newsletter to let people follow you.

If you’ve done all of that and you’re still struggling to generate any traction, then you could look at paying for advertising or running a competition or giveaway to get new followers on your side.

Giving away £50 worth of old stock can be a great way to celebrate your return to social media – and you’ll be surprised at how many people will follow you for the chance of winning a freebie.


Analyse and review your progress

Many small business owners adopt a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to their social media.

When you use a scheduling tool, it’s easy to log in, add new content to your calendar, and then forget about your Twitter and Facebook accounts for another week or two.

But if you want to use social media to find customers, you’ll have to put in more work than that.

Now that you’re back online and you’re posting content on your channels, make sure that you review your progress and check to see what content is performing best.

If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and you’re only seeing good things from Facebook, you could consider cutting down and focusing only on the networks that work for you.

All of the major social networks offer insights and analytics as part of business profiles, so bring together all of the data on your accounts and develop a new strategy based on your findings.


Promise you’ll never abandon it again

Whether you’ve been too busy to work on social, or you’ve simply not had the interest in keeping it updated, it’s time to rethink your strategy, and promise you’ll never abandon it again.

Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll soon realise that it takes no time at all to schedule content using a tool like Buffer – you can fill up a week’s content calendar in a couple of minutes.

And the truth is, abandoning your social media channels looks bad on your business, because:

  • Followers won’t be in the loop on changes to your business; they’ll expect to see content from you, because they chose to follow you, and instead they’ll be met with radio silence.
  • Potential customers may think you’ve gone out of business. If they Google you and see that you haven’t posted anything on Facebook in six months, alarm bells might ring.
  • You’ll lose followers. If you’re not posting content or interacting with your audience, then your existing followers and audience will pull the plug and head to other brands online.
  • Customer service will suffer. 72% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within the hour. If you’re not checking channels for weeks, that’s not possible.

As well as subscribing to social media tools, add a reminder in your diary to create new content for your channels at least once a week.

Link your company profiles to your smartphone, and enable notifications so that you can respond to customer comments as soon as possible.

Oh, and if you’re really against working on a social strategy, then hand it over to someone who is more socially savvy, or outsource to a company offering social media management.


Wrapping up

Marketing a small business on top of all of your other responsibilities can be tough, but social media is an essential part of your online presence.

Abandoning an account can damage your brand’s reputation and make people question your loyalty and passion for your business, so it’s important to post new content every day.

The tips we have offered in today’s post should help you keep on top of your strategy and enjoy the success that can come with it. Good luck, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help.