The idea of stale social media accounts — i.e. accounts that have been created or registered, but remain unconfigured or unused — is not inherently bad or risky. In fact, many businesses establish a presence on various social media platforms for defensive reasons to prevent others (e.g. cyber criminals, counterfeiters, competitors, etc.) from using certain domains or social media handles. While these defensive measures are a smart strategy and a best practice, it’s important to monitor these stale accounts.
For every business that has a clear and updated awareness of its active and non-active Points-of-Presence (POPs), there are many more that do not know the size or scope of their social media footprint. Some companies could have hundreds (or thousands) of stale social media accounts that are not serving any defensive purpose. Instead of managing their digital brand footprint, they may be contributing to some or all of the following major risks:
Stale Social Media Accounts Can Trigger Customer Confusion
McKinsey notes that the 3 C’s of customer satisfaction these days are “consistency, consistency and consistency.” However, when customers come across stale social media accounts, this consistency is halted because the messaging and visuals they engage are out-of-date, incomplete, misleading, or incorrect.
Further, if a customer has a problem and is asking an unmonitored social media account for help, the lack of assistance can leave them confused or even angry with a non-response, which can escalate to a PR Crises or at minimum a dissatisfied customer
Stale Social Media Accounts Can Cause Brand Damage
When visitors come across stale social media accounts that have never been configured or set up — i.e. they still have the default messaging on them — they may see it as a sign of carelessness or neglect on behalf of the business. It goes without saying that these are not qualities and characteristics that any business wants associated with their brand.
In some cases, visitors may even mistakenly think that the business is in the process of shutting down or going bankrupt due to a lack of information!
Stale Social Media Accounts Can Kill a Sale
Customers have no idea that a social media account is stale — as far as they are concerned, if it exists, then it is active. As such, some of them will try and contact a business through these accounts. However, since the account is unmonitored, the sales-related message — which could be anything from a request for information to an order — will not be received or acted upon.
While some of these customers may try to get in touch through other channels (e.g. corporate website, phone, etc.), there will be others who get offended and irritated — remember, they have no idea the account is stale — and will therefore head to the competition.
The Bottom Line
If your business has stale social media accounts, or you suspect that this may indeed be the case, download our eBook “7 Critical Steps to Tame Your Brand Presence”. In this eBook we discuss why a social media and web audit is your first step to sound social media governance. Plus you will learn the importance of assessment and inventory while reading tips about how your team should work together to manage social media access.