The Social Media Zombie Apocalypse: A Survivor’s Guide
The zombie – a soulless, shuffling ghoul, now famous for chasing a man in a cowboy hat through rural Georgia. I bring up zombies not just because I’m a horror film geek, but because that is precisely what your social media account becomes when you let it linger and die.
Social media is not easy to maintain — it takes thought, consistency and a steady finger on the pulse of trending current events. For this reason, people often find themselves in too deep with two or three (or five) social media accounts too many, subsequently lifting their hands in defeat. Though having a social media presence is important, it’s also vital to not bite off more than you can chew. Surrendering is OK, but only if you deactivate your forfeited social media account before throwing in the towel and pretending your experimentation with hypothetical social media newcomer Facebookstigram+(™) was all just a bad, bad dream.
Photo credit: Mark Lobo . via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND Photo credit: Mark Lobo . via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-NDCountless times, I’ve seen personal and business pages go by the wayside, their owners attempting to wish these pages into the ether that is the mysterious and wonderful Internet. That doesn’t happen of course — these accounts decay and die, only to return as the social media undead, often lurking in the shadows, hungry to steal away customers, clients, and friends that have the misfortune of coming across them.
How do these “zombies” attack your personal and business social media footprint?
The biggest pro and con of the Internet is that everyone has a soapbox. Anyone with a cell phone and Internet connection can now share ideas, information and opinions with, quite literally, the world. But with the reality of an interconnected world, we’re also inundated with noise more than ever. Anything you put out as either a professional, business or personal representation of yourself on the web should be current, accurate and active. If a customer accidentally clicks on an old, unused Facebook page, they may get an incorrect address or phone number, reach out for help where you’re not listening, or simply take the lack of activity on your page as a sign of slow business. By deactivating old and unused social media pages, you remove the possibility of this confusion, taking back control of your company or personal branding.
Attack of the Spambots
The most dangerous thing about not deactivating an unused social media account is the simple fact that you are no longer listening to conversations potentially being made in your name. One example that I’ve seen far too often is when a spambot takes over an under-used Twitter account, accosting all followers with offers for designer shoes and mail-order miracle pills. If the owner of this account no longer checks their Twitter on a daily basis, they’d have no idea that possibly hundreds or thousands of followers are readying torches and pitchforks in annoyance.
Don’t Give Customers the Cold Shoulder
Besides the possibility of hacking, simply coming off as ignoring your fan base is extremely bad form in the forum of social media. The phrase, “social media is a conversation” is cliché for a reason. Your social media page equates to something of a digital whiteboard — you have to expect people to write on it. Surely, some comments will be about how much they enjoyed your last blog post or how creamy your broccoli cheddar soup is. However, you better believe that people will also come to sound off about negative experiences in equal or greater measure. Believe it or not, it’s OK to get a negative comment or review, as long as you’re there to respond to it. It’s PR 101 to never ignore the negativity but, unfortunately, your zombie social media account may become a hub for ignoring clients, customers and friends without you even knowing it.
Breathe easy though, friends. This zombie outbreak is highly survivable. There is a cure, and it’s the “deactivate account” button.
“Zombies” by Flickr User Mark Lobo
Kmart Closing by Flickr User Nicholas Eckhart
Zombie! by Flickr User Daniel Hollister