Not feeling the social media love? When to change course (or even abandon ship)

Unplugging an electrical cordRob was at the Inbound conference last week in Boston, joining thousands of communications professionals sharing experiences and ideas on using content to engage audiences.

When do you pull the plug on a social media channel?

That’s the question that faced Copyblogger, a service that’s all about communicating through social media. Yet they decided to leave Facebook — the single biggest gorilla in the social menagerie.

Graph in front of Facebook logoIt was actually a simple decision. Copyblogger was getting likes and shares, but very little engagement. Or, as their Chief Content Officer Sonia Simone told a packed room for her session The Intersection of Content and Social Media, “We didn’t love Facebook.” And great content, she added, is about love.

Copyblogger wanted a thriving community on Facebook, not just a presence. And if they were only participating reluctantly, that lack of enthusiasm would probably be picked up by their followers, and damage engagement.

They turned comments off on their blog for similar reasons.

English: Comment iconMany of the comments were low-value “Good post!”-style responses… along with a ton of the usual spam. And while they were also getting longer, more engaged comments, Copyblogger decided that — consistent with the company’s mission of promoting great written content — those conversations would be more powerful happening on the commenters’ own blogs.

Both decisions allowed them to focus their resources where they’d have the most impact, and engender the most productive engagement. Because the often-overlooked truth is that even “free” platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a cost to them: the time and attention they require you to spend to keep them fed with content, take part in conversations and uproot whatever weeds poke their heads out.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you should ditch Facebook; you almost certainly shouldn’t.

But it’s worthwhile to give every platform a hard look now and then, and ask yourself: What do we intend to accomplish here? How are we measuring it? And how are we doing? And based on the answers, lay in a few course adjustments.

Those probably won’t be as drastic as shutting off blog comments or bailing on Facebook. But they can help ensure you’re making progress instead of spinning your wheels.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply