We’ve all seen them.

The discarded social media accounts. The ‘latest news’ pages last updated in 2006. Facebook pages never touched by original content. The LinkedIn page that everyone in the company has forgotten.

And if we’re guilty of creating these relics, we can smile as we recognise how our good intentions could not compete with our workloads, which don’t allow time for managing social media accounts.

But in this post we’re going to consider just how damaging these social media drop-outs can be for your organisation.

Firstly, let’s consider the two types of social media drop-outs; the never-signed-up and the never-planned.

If you never signed up to social media, you might think you’re in the clear. You didn’t want to do social media, so you never signed up. And while this is preferable to creating something that you never update, your lack of presence on popular channels is far from ideal. If you’re not even there, your potential customers might choose someone who is.

If you created social media profiles, but never planned how you would manage social media, then you’re unintentionally making people wonder if your business has ceased trading.

Social media is a big endeavour. Many organisations only realise how much work is involved after signing up. The accounts soon fall neglected. Dust gathers.

You either need to have an employee who is trained to manage your social media accounts, or you need to outsource. You need to have a plan for creating content, monitoring replies and responding promptly to queries.

You can’t leave these things to chance – unless you want people to think less of your company.

Why social media is important

Social media isn’t just a way to share photos of your cat or your lunch (or your cat’s lunch). Social media has become a popular way to research products, companies and suppliers. People want to ‘peek behind the curtains’ and get beyond the carefully crafted messages on your website. People are looking for clues about your company. They want to know if you’re reputable and genuine. They want to see what people are saying about your company. They want to know if you’re likely to be around in a year’s time – or if you have any outstanding warrants.

The internet and smartphones makes this kind of research incredibly easy.

With this in mind, what kind of picture will someone get if they go digging around to learn more about your brand? Will they get a sense of a lively, thriving and engaging company? Or will they be left wondering if you’ve shut up shop, given that you’ve not tweeted in eight months?

These little details are impacting your reputation, and they could be losing you customers. They are certainly not helping you win customers. Nor are they helping you keep up with conversations that others are having online.

Does your company use social media? Is it an effective part of your marketing? Or a forgotten relic?