Unless you have been living in a bubble for the past 10 years, you probably understand the importance of having a social media presence for your business. Social media accounts are great tools for connecting with customers, marketing your company, owning your media, and improving SEO rankings.

This being said, did you know that, if not well-managed, your social media accounts could actually be damaging your company’s image?

You may think setting up a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat to claim your business name is a good move, but if you are not ready to actively maintain these platforms, they could actually be damaging your business reputation. We will explore the negative impact of inactive social media accounts on your business and what you can do about it below.

Three ways inactive social media accounts are hurting your business

1. Is your company even open anymore?

When someone who stays up to date with social media and is browsing for a local business in your field stumbles across your inactive or seldom-updated page, one thought to cross their mind will probably be that you must no longer be in business.

This false impression will immediately eliminate your company as an option in the potential customer’s mind, and they will move on to find a business that regularly updates their page with fresh content.

2. Damages your credibility

One of the main ways that social-media-savvy customers decide to try a new business is based on customer reviews on the establishment’s Facebook, Google+ or other social media page. If your social media presence is weak,  you most likely do not have customer reviews on your page, which is a turn-off to potential clients.

Users want to feel a sense of online community and to know that your business is a trusted part of that community.

3. Makes your company look incompetent

Even worse, a poor social media presence with inactive social media pages makes your company look incompetent to potential clients. An inability to stay on top of your account pages makes it look like you are unable to follow through on your commitments and complete tasks.

If you cannot take the time to keep your page up-to-date, your potential clients will wonder how you will stay on top of your obligations to them.

Three ways you can fix your social media presence

1. Create attainable goals for your company’s social media presence

Yes, it would be great if your business could have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and whatever the new buzzed-about platform of the week is. But, is this really a realistic goal?

Keeping up with this many accounts, and publishing fresh and relevant content to these platforms will be extremely time-consuming, and will most likely result in ill-managed pages, inconsistent posting or inactive accounts.

Instead of trying to “have it all,” sit down with your team to determine what platforms you can reasonably manage. Take it further by considering which networks will best serve your company. Are you an accounting firm? LinkedIn should probably be a top priority, due to its professional networking possibilities. Are you a small design studio? Pinterest might be a more optimal way to connect with potential clients.

Once you have figured out what platforms will result in the best results and customer gain for your company, set up just those accounts and come up with clear-cut posting goals (e.g. one tweet every day and three Facebook posts per week).

2. Consider a social media management tool

If time is the issue, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a social media management tool. There are currently a wide variety of platforms like Hubspot, Hootsuite, and Buffer that will allow you to schedule posts in advance, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to do so during your hectic work week.

By planning ahead with one of these tools, you can eliminate some of the key issues that may currently be holding you back from a thriving social media presence.

3. Consider a third-party company to manage your accounts

For a small business, it can be difficult to find a staff member that has the time to commit to managing your social media presence. If this is the issue for your company, you could always consider enlisting the help of an outside party.

There are marketing firms and social media managers that you can hire to manage your accounts, eliminating the stress of keeping your accounts up-to-date from your staff.

Too late? What you need to do to make it right

If it is too late and you already have more social media accounts than you can keep up with don’t sweat it. There are still a few things you can do to remedy the situation.

First of all, do not, I repeat, do not delete your inactive accounts. By doing so, you will be throwing away valuable information like your connections and previous content that can be useful should you decide to actively engage with the platform in the future.

Instead, compose a thoughtful exit post, so that your followers know that you will no longer be active on the account. This will keep your clients in the loop, and also help you avoid the pitfall of making potential customers think that you are no longer in business. You can also use this opportunity to let them know which accounts they can find you on, redirecting them to your active pages.

As you can see, it is better to have no social media presence at all than many inactive accounts. However, by creating a clear-cut strategy, cutting back on the number of accounts you dedicate your time to, and considering management tools, you can use social media to your advantage.

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