Social media icons with question mark - do you need them all?

Unless you are an expert, when you start a new business you have to experiment. On the marketing side, this frequently includes trying out different social media platforms and other listings as you work out the best way of getting yourself known by potential customers. When you create new accounts, you set up a profile and potentially pages to reflect your business as you see it at the time.

As time goes on, you refine your strategy and concentrate effort on the platforms that work. Your business may change and you may evolve different strategies. New platforms emerge which may (or may not!) suit your customers and your business.

Unless you are paying for an account, it is a lot easier just to stop using it rather than close it down (just in case…). The problem is that it is still there and may still appear in some search results. If someone follows the link, does it still reflect your business?

Delete or update?

Sometimes you know that you will not be using a platform for your business. It may not fit your customer base or you may not be comfortable using it. In this case, deleting the account is the obvious answer.

In other cases the decision is not so clear. You may have put a lot of work into your presence on the platform and it may cover an aspect of your business that is currently “parked”. In this case, you may prefer to keep it with updates it to reflect your current business. Alternatively, you can see if you can disable or hide the page. Check the small print to make sure your deactivated content will not be deleted without warning!

Note that if you totally delete an account, the handle will become available for anyone else to use. This in itself may be a good reason for maintaining your presence on the platform.

Account or page?

Depending on the platform, your business presence may be the account, as on Twitter, or a business page, as on Facebook. Please make sure you are deleting at the right level! You probably want to keep your Facebook account but remove an old business page if you have moved on.

Before deleting anything, download an archive of the data if you can (check the help for the platform or Google it). Save the archive file in a safe place in case you need to refer back to it.

Read the small print before hitting the delete button. Make sure you are deleting the right thing and nothing else. Companies such as Meta have close links between their various social media platforms. There have been cases where deleting a Threads account has accidentally removed the associated Instagram account.

Cooling off

Most platforms delete off accounts in two stages, giving you a cooling off period during which you can change your mind. Just do not leave it until the last minute if you do!