Reminder: It’s OK To Break Up With an Underperforming Social Media Channel

By Sarah K Perlman
September 9, 2021

You may love using social media to promote your business, but is each of your channels worth your love?

In a 2018 article, Time magazine outlines How to Know When It’s Time to Let Go of Someone You Love. I find the advice they give to be directly relevant to a business relationship with a social media channel! Call me crazy, but these red flags are clear indicators that a channel—whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.—isn’t the right place for you anymore.

Time’s indicators for ending personal relationships double as reasons you should ditch a social media channel that just isn’t working out.

Your needs aren’t being met

This is a clear cut reason to stop using a social media channel. Your analytics can show you how much engagement you’re getting, and usually who it’s coming from. If these numbers and sources don’t line up with your KPIs and target audience, it’s a definite red flag. Every social media channel you are using as part of your content strategy should be a key player. If one isn’t pulling its weight, it could be time to pull the plug.

You’re seeking those needs from others

Are all your other channels performing well and reaching your intended audience(s)? If so, it’s another strike against the lagging channel. If not, well I hate to say it, but maybe your content strategy could use some work. Take a step back and analyze your plan to see what might be missing the mark. And if you need an outside opinion, I’m happy to take a look!

You’re scared to ask for more from your partner

Admittedly, this one doesn’t translate as well to social media channels. I will say if you’re unsure of how to use it effectively or spending lots of time trying to figure it out, that channel may not be worth your time.

Your friends and family don’t support your relationship

You need buy-in from your leadership and your marketing team to be able to devote the necessary resources to maintaining a consistent presence. Without this support, you’ll have a hard time getting the results you need for the channel to be effective and worth your time. If it’s a channel that you truly believe has potential, present all the reasons behind your conviction. If you think your business could really benefit from having a presence on Snapchat, it’s your job as a marketing leader to present the facts. If you can’t get buy-in and approval to devote resources to a channel, you’re better off sitting this one out.

You feel obligated to stay with your partner

“I want to quit Twitter, but we’ve already put so much time into it!” Maintaining the status quo is never a good reason to continue. “This is the way we’ve always done things” is a morale killer! Separate your feelings from the data and make an informed decision on whether to continue.

You’ve been working on your relationship for more than a year

It’s true that content marketing takes time and requires patience. But if you’ve been putting the right amount of time, effort, and strategic intent behind a specific social media channel and you’re not seeing improvement after a year, this is a red flag. I don’t like to suggest looking at the competition, but general benchmarking for similar industries can be a good measuring stick to see if the channel is living up to what’s expected.

You don’t like your partner

You might think, “well obviously—if you don’t like it, don’t do it!” Sounds pretty simple, but when you’re answering to a Board of Directors or other leadership who insist on hopping on a social media platform just because it’s trendy, it can be difficult to push back. If you truly don’t like it, take a moment to figure out why. Is it difficult to use? Is it difficult for those engaging with the platform to use? Is it a mismatch to your brand’s voice and message? Figure out what it is, and build your case with the powers that be. Analytics will likely back you up if it’s truly not a good fit.

Your partner is abusive

Some people will likely disagree with me on this one, but I believe that if you are constantly being trolled on a certain channel and not others, it’s best to just let it go. People are weird, man. If some band of not-so-jolly trolls has decided to use your Twitter feed as a punching bag, take the high road and sever those ties. Responding to negative posts is a delicate endeavor and I almost always recommend not to engage. (I will caveat that if you are facing trolls on ALL your channels, your business needs a stellar PR campaign and a new image! Call me—I know some people.)

Bonus: How to break up

If you’ve checked off more than a couple of these red flags, it’s time to shut down an ailing social media channel. But how do you give it a proper send-off? Your first instinct might be to preserve what’s there and leave the account alive. “We don’t want to lose all our hard work!” First of all, we’ve already established that you’re not reaching enough of the right audience on this channel. Second, very few people will go back and look at past social media posts. It’s all about living in the now!

So let go of the idea of preservation and DO NOT leave a social media account idle. (Excuse me while I take my own advice and delete my defunct Twitter account…) An idle social media account will look like you’re simply unengaged and hurts your brand’s reputation. Shut down any two-timing, no account channels and make room for those that are showing you the love!


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