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Are You Harbouring a Social Media Zombie

Chris Burdge - Jan 7th, 2017

Social media channels come and go, they rise (and fall) in popularity. Do you remember Ello, the “Facebook killer” that was going to save the world.  Did you create an account? How about Google+? Yeah, I thought so. 

After nine years of helping companies develop and maintain their social media strategies we’ve seen our share of social media zombies. You likely have one or two. Confession: don’t look at our Pinterest account. 

And who can blame you. Small businesses feel pressure to be everywhere online. You’re tempted to sign up for an account so you don’t miss out. However many quickly find that with limited resources staying active on multiple platforms can be exhausting and overwhelming. Some inevitably fall behind and are left with a social media zombie account – they’re mostly dead, but cough up the occasional post or like. 

When we work with clients we always start by conducting a Social Media Audit of their digital presence, that includes any digital properties or content that they own:

  • all social media platforms 
  • all websites and web properties 
  • website analytics 
  • email marketing  
  • online advertising 

We often uncover accounts that clients have completely forgotten about or didn’t event know they had. Google seems to be pretty good at creating multiple accounts without really informing you.   

There’s certainly nothing wrong with having multiple accounts as long as you have a strategic plan and the resources to manage them. Even with a good plan and proper resources, you’ll see some channels providing more return on investment than others, at which point you’ll want to take stock and start trimming. 

Start by looking at usage metrics to determine the value of each network:

  • how much energy and time are you putting into it
  • how much revenue are you generating 
  • what other returns are you seeing that matter to your business e.g. community, awareness 

Then kill everything the doesn’t meet this criteria, because as a small business, you just can’t afford deadweight. Would you keep an employee that wasn’t performing? 

SOURCE: 2016 CANADIAN SOCIAL MEDIA MONITOR

Is it a good fit for your company?

Before you start killing off social media channels, here are some things to consider. Each of the major social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn) attract a distinct demographic of users and offer different ways to communicate.

Analyze each channel and focus on the platforms that are the best fit for the customers or clients you’re trying to reach. Some channels make more sense than others, depending on the industry you operate in, type of content you generate, your resources to maintain these channels and where your customers are. You definitely need to know where your customers are and then fish where the fish are. 

Monitor your time and resources 

Small businesses can spend hours properly maintaining their different social media channels. Track your time to determine where your efforts are being invested. We use FreshBooks to track our time. Measure your investment against the returns that each channel is generating in order to make an informed decision about the value of that social media channel and whether or not to kill it off.

Capture and measure data

Analyze the data that each social media platform provides, being careful not to over-track, over-think and over-analyze. Stick with a few key metrics that truly add value to your business.  Focus on two or three key performance indicators (KPIs) and ignore the rest. Good KPIs can include:

  • qualified website traffic 
  • revenue and sales 
  • newsletter subscribers 
  • conversion rate
  • average order value 
  • cost per lead 

Stay away from metrics like followers or the dreaded website “hits”. I can’t believe that in 2017 I still hear people using this term. Measure for relevance and value rather than size and scale. 

Move in for the kill

If you have a fair number of followers on a particular social platform it may not be easy to pull the trigger. But if it isn’t achieving your objectives and you don’t have the resources necessary to maintain it, it needs to go. 

It’s fairly simple to delete a social media channel. Most of them will keep the account in a “deactivated” state for a period of time (about 90 days) in case you decide you want to bring it back to life. If the platform allows you to message your followers, you may want to let them know you’re closing the account and invite them to connect with you on another channel. If they really want to find you, they will.

Let focus and value be your touchstones in 2017.  Ultimately, what customers want is a great product or service, and a channel where they can find and engage with you. 

What has your experience been with deleting social media accounts? Leave us a note below.

Chris Burdge is the founder of bWEST Interactive. His passion & profession is helping clients leverage social media to create genuine and lasting relationships with their target audience and customers.

One Response to “Are You Harbouring a Social Media Zombie”

Fiona Prince

Thanks for this timely article. I started cleaning up my social media zombies in 2016, but I know I have more ‘killing’ to do. You’ve given me the motivation (without the guilt) that I needed to put the ‘mostly dead’ accounts and sites out of their misery. Next time one of them coughs, I’ll ‘pull the trigger’ 🙂

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