Brands often face the decision to retire or sunset certain social media accounts. Whether it's due to shifting audience preferences, resource optimization, the uncertainty of platforms (such as TikTok or Twitter), or a realignment of brand strategies, the process of sunsetting a social media account requires careful planning and execution.
Sunsetting a social media account can be a daunting task, as it involves more than hitting the "delete" button. It requires thoughtfulness, consideration, and a plan to minimize any potential impact on your brand's reputation and maintain positive relationships with your audience. PRNEWS sought the expertise of two seasoned social media professionals, Meghan Donovan and Tiffany Rivers, to shed light on factors to consider and strategies to employ when sunsetting a social media account.
Evaluating Alignment with Brand Values and Target Audience
According to Donovan, Director of Digital News and Social Media at Northeastern University, sunsetting a social media account often arises when a platform's policies, practices, or user base diverge from a brand's core values, as we’ve seen recently with Twitter. She emphasizes the importance of protecting a brand's reputation and avoiding situations where audience perceptions of brand values are challenged. Donovan asserts, "Protecting your brand's reputation should be a key consideration, and proactive action is critical."
Rivers, Senior Director, Social and Influencer Marketing at Media Cause, highlights the significance of audience relevance when leaving an underperforming platform. She emphasizes the need to assess whether the target audience remains active and engaged on the platform.
"If a platform is no longer reaching your target audience or helping you meet your business goals, it may be time to sunset your channel(s)," Rivers says.
Understanding Platform Dynamics and Resource Allocation
Staying up-to-date with platform changes, algorithms, content moderation, and privacy policies is crucial to maintaining an effective social media presence. Donovan advises, "Once you are active on any platform, it's imperative to stay up-to-date with changes to algorithms, content moderation, privacy policies, and a variety of other factors so that you can act quickly if need be."
Rivers emphasizes resource allocation. She suggests evaluating the return on investment (ROI) for each platform and considering the sustainability of maintaining a presence.
"If you have a lean social team, be sure to assess the sustainability of your presence on that platform and the results that align with your business goals," Rivers says.
Putting the Audience First and Diversifying Presence
Understanding and prioritizing the audience is crucial in social media strategy. Donovan stresses the significance of your followers, and meeting them where they are to ensure brand relevance.
"I can't overemphasize enough the importance of considering your audience first," she says.
Rivers also advocates an audience-first approach. She advises evaluating key metrics for a specific platform.
"Evaluate sales, leads, earned mentions, and even donations (in the case of nonprofits) coming from that channel to see if you should sunset that channel," she says.
By aligning brand values with platform choices, staying informed, prioritizing the audience, and maintaining flexibility, brands can navigate the sunsetting process effectively while protecting their reputation and building stronger connections with their audience.
"Sunsetting a social media account will have a ripple effect throughout your organization and will have direct business implications," Donovan says. Therefore, it is crucial to involve key stakeholders and engage in cross-departmental discussions when making decisions regarding the sunsetting of social media accounts.
By incorporating the insights shared, brands can approach the sunsetting process with confidence. This will ensure that their actions align with their brand vision, audience needs, and the evolving social media landscape.
Tai Nichols is event content manager for PRNEWS. Follow her: @SathiyyahN