Inactivity: the silent social media killer

September 13, 2019

“Have you heard of Twitter, Fred in marketing started one for us…”

“We should have one for customer service.”

“What about a Twitter handle for each region, team—and maybe even products and services should have their own unique accounts!”

Fast forward a few years…

“Have you heard of Instagram, John in communications created an account for us…”

You get the point. New platforms emerge all the time and businesses of all sizes rush to be early adopters, to secure their brand names and evaluate the business use through testing. Enthusiasm is at an all-time high, teams are dedicated, and the presence starts to grow, slowly but surely.

social media marketing 2019

Then the next platform comes along (TikTok, Caffeine, Lasso) and everyone rushes to the shiny new toy. But what about the previous accounts? Resources are finite and there are only so many hours in a day. Something’s got to give.

What happens is that we’re left with several inactive and abandoned accounts that haven’t posted, pinned, tweeted, uploaded, responded, or engaged in several days, weeks, months and eventually years.

Is this detrimental to your brand? Let’s explore the impact:

1. Loss of followers: the accounts that you spent time building up are now losing followers due to the inactivity. The time, effort and money you spent on building a following is lost. Not to mention the community, loyal followers and potential brand advocates are now being ignored.

2. Loss of credibility: customers, prospects, employees, and potential employees will often search for your business on social media, if they’re greeted with an inactive account the perception is not favourable. Companies are judged on their social media presence, their dedication and willingness to engage with consumers. An inactive presence does more harm than good.

3. Customer service: if you no longer monitor your social media accounts, have you told your customers that? Are there customers tweeting at you for support? Are there issues going unanswered? Social media is a two-way conversation, and you’re not engaging back. Not exactly building positive word of mouth or cultivating brand fans, are you?

4. Governance: do you know how many social media accounts are attached to your business? Do you know who has access to these accounts? In the era of social media and fake news, one tweet from the wrong account and your reputation could be jeopardized. Do former employees hold the keys to these accounts? As a baseline, community managers should be changing platform passwords once a quarter and within 24 hours after someone with access leaves your organization.

What can you do if you find yourself or your business in this situation?

  • Double down: revamp the channel with new energy, resources and strategy, and most of all commit to being consistent.
  • Channel strategy: don’t make the same mistakes twice. Before starting up a new channel, determine if this approach is going to yield ROI for your business, are your intended audiences on this platform? Do you have the resources to sustain a presence? Align your channel to your business goals and pull together a plan for a successful launch and consistent cadence.
  • Housekeeping: conduct a social media audit and take note of all accounts connected to your business. Are they following best practices? Are they active? Is there an ability to consolidate multiple channels under one account? Once you’ve got a lay of the land, delete the accounts that are no longer active or needed. If you can no longer access these accounts, you’ll need to work directly with the platforms to regain access.
  • Communicate: if you’re going to shutdown social media accounts, communicate that to your audiences. Let them know that the channel will be “sunset” as of a certain date and provide them with alternative platforms to follow. This will ensure that you’re migrating any existing fans and customers over to the new and consistent channels.

Before you jump on the next social media bandwagon, be sure that you have a plan in place, enough resources and a commitment from the team to uphold the strategy and presence. Don’t be afraid to shutdown and consolidate social media accounts. It’s better to have a great presence in a few places than a poor presence across multiple platforms. If you’re unsure with how to proceed in this space, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Jarrad Blyth is a Senior Manager, Digital in the Toronto, Canada office. Jarrad specializes in social and digital media strategy, but has a particular passion for all things analytics, measurement and insights.