I’m here to warn you about a very real and damaging action you aren’t taking and it’s inflicting a tremendous amount of damage to your brand. It’s channel abandonment. That Tumblr account you opened one weekend and put a ton of effort into and have barely posted on since. That Pinterest account you never even finished opening (no profile picture or description). The Twitter profile on which your last tweet said “I haven’t tweeted much lately but I’m back to it!” dated 3 years ago. Those channels are speaking volumes about who you are as a person or business. This is channel abandonment and feels like a desert wasteland. Your potential customers see this and leave, your current customers think you aren’t on the ball, and the vendors that want to work with you doubt your commitment.
How it happened
I get lots of questions at cocktail parties and events. “Kerry, should I be on Twitter?” is probably the most common. My answer is “No.” Why? Because that’s not the first question you should be asking. If you are entertaining the idea of using social media for anything other than personal reasons, the first questions I ask my clients are, “What are you looking for as your end result? Who are you trying to reach?” Once you have those answers, I’ll tell you whether or not Twitter (insert any other channel you are curious about) is the right tool for your needs.
I dig into the reasons I get that question again and again. I’ve learned it’s because the asker was harangued by a friend, colleague, or family member that just loves the tool. They were inundated with information about this amazing new/groundbreaking channel that everyone MUST be on or the world will pass us by. Panic or fear of missing out (FOMO) sets in and when this person spots me across the room they come looking for corroboration that their friend is right, that they must act now. They’ve often already taken the leap and opened that account. Then they’re at a loss for what to do with it.
You Leaped Before You Looked
Doing research on the channels is extremely important. There are so many options out there that you have to know what your desired end result will be and whom you are trying to reach if you want to be successful. I recommend using Pew Research Center to get in-depth information on your target demographic. I prefer to ask a specific question of Google and tack the word Pew on the end so I make the search engine do the heavy lifting (Pew’s site isn’t all that easy to navigate). One of my searches might be “teenage users of social media pew” and I’ll get all kinds of data on their preferences. Check the dates on the reports. The best are within the last year.
If you didn’t do the research before choosing your channel, that’s okay. Do it now! Learn about the tools you’ve chosen and make sure your current and potential customers like and use the platform. If not, take a look at your metrics to see how much engagement you’re getting. Does your audience like, share, comment, or otherwise engage with what you’re doing? There are two most likely answers to that. If they aren’t, they might not be using the channel. Refer to Pew’s data. The other possibility is that you aren’t doing it very well. Look at successful accounts related to your industry and compare what you are doing to their content. I call this Follow the Rockstar.
Time to Put it Out of it’s Misery
It’s not the end of the world. If you’ve done your research and your audience is there, maybe you need a lesson in content creation. Maybe you need to hire someone to do it for you. And maybe you just hate it. Maybe it’s time to let the channel go.
Google how to delete your account and do it. No longer will your customers judge you about your inability to manage it or post content. No longer will there be proof that you just couldn’t make it work. It’s like a dead limb. Lop it off for the health of the tree.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just acknowledge, clean up, and move on. It’s for the best.
Kerry is a Social Media | Technology Trainer | Speaker | Author based in Santa Rosa, CA. She offers consulting and social media training in the form of individual lessons, customizable classes, and is available to speak at your event. People and tech, together changing the world.