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Summary:

Bringing a stagnant social media channel back from the dead requires more than just posting to it again and hoping your connections didn’t notice your absence. Each channel will require different resuscitation techniques. Here are some steps to take to breathe some life back into them.

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We’ve all visited a social media channel for a company or organization we like, and all we get is the sound of crickets. There’s nobody there except friends, fans and followers who are either posting into a vacuum or who have stopped paying attention but haven’t yet unsubscribed.

But what if that dead channel belongs to your company or organization, and for whatever reason, you now want to bring your neglected social media presence  back to life. Can that channel be saved?

Trying to bring a stagnant social media channel back from the dead requires more than just posting to it again and hoping that your connections didn’t notice your absence. Each channel that you’ve neglected will require different resuscitation techniques. For example, if you are trying to revive a YouTube channel, you need a strategy for producing compelling video and video production will need to be part of your overall content generation strategy.

Trying to revive a Facebook Page can be a little easier because once you begin interacting with your fans again and re-establish trust, they may be willing to suggest your Page to their friends. Once new people start “liking” your Page, even more people will see that action and hopefully build some momentum. But if you’re not participating on your Page with thoughtful interactions and compelling content, you’re not going to get far with bringing your channel back to life.

Before I talk about what you should do to revive a dead social media channel, let me be clear about the wrong way to go about it:

  • Don’t post for the sake of it. There is a real temptation to just start posting frantically just to fill the void. Without some thought behind what you are trying to achieve with your social media channels, your efforts will either sound forced or empty.
  • Don’t “fishbowl” post. “Fishbowl” posting is when you post something to a channel then use a different account to make a comment, “like” the post, or retweet it or perhaps get someone else from your organization (or friends or family) to do the same so it looks like you’ve got some activity happening on your once-dead channel. While there is a community technique called “seeding,” it doesn’t mean setting up fake exchanges to look like spontaneous participation. Planning for a conversation is one thing. Faking it with people in your fishbowl is misleading at best, lying at worst.

Here are some steps to take to breathe some life back into your social media channels and to make them thrive:

  1. Map out a plan. Every good social media marketing campaign starts with a plan. Reviving a stagnant channel requires a plan for ongoing messaging, monitoring, management and maintenance. Your plan should include a social media calendar that incorporates all of your your content assets across channels as appropriate.
  2. Address your absence. Make a brief statement about what you’ve been up to and why you haven’t been participating in your social media channels. You have to regain the trust of your connections, and an open and honest statement will make a good start. Even saying something like, “Due to resource constraints, we had to step away from this page for awhile. However, we’re now back on track and looking forward to interacting with you” can go far.
  3. Start afresh. Treat your efforts to revive your social media channels the way you would if they were brand new, and you were starting at zero. Just because you have a few hundred followers or fans, it doesn’t mean they are paying attention or that they’ll do so just because you start posting again. You’re essentially starting from scratch so you need to work at it.
  4. Acknowledge fans and followers. Look back at the history of conversations within each channel, and identify individuals who were actively participating in the past. Without being spammy, reach out to some of them to invite them back for conversation and information.
  5. Post consistently and relevantly. Another aspect of gaining back the trust of your connections is to show a commitment to engaging in and updating your channels. Jumping in once every few months appears haphazard and careless. If you don’t show you care, why should anyone else?
  6. Respond promptly. If someone acknowledges something you’ve posted through a comment or question, make sure you’re monitoring your channels to be able to respond in a reasonably quick manner. If someone is going to take the time to reach out to you or reconnect, the least you can do is be present.

Before you start reviving dead social media channels, make sure you have the time and resources to make a commitment to them. You don’t always get second chances, but even more rarely will you get a third. Don’t blow it.

How have you revived dead social media channels?

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  1. There’s always the constant worry of looking “spammy” while trying to be relevant or constant. It’s a fine balance to juggle.

    1. That is so true. It feels almost like cooking. A dash of this and dash of that, but too much of any one thing and it fails.

  2. I’ve found engaging with others can almost be more powerful that posting yourself. Think of social media as a conversation. Be interested in someone else’s conversation, not only about yours.

    1. Absolutely agree. The broadcast model is dead. Or at least should be just a small part of a greater conversation and real interactions.

  3. I find it interesting that you advise not to “fishbowl” post, I sometimes wonder if that’s what most companies do to get any sort of traffic started on their pages. When following certain companies, I’m not sure who to trust and who not to trust. I definitely agree that the absent page needs to address their absence. It doesn’t make sense to the consumer when they disappear from their page for months and then start posting again as if nothing happened. This is especially true for television media and celebrity public relations. It is important to keep consumers informed, or else they’ll find something better to look at.
    Thanks for the read,
    Amber

  4. Erica McClenny Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Love this post. I have so may clients who come to me with this issue. Sometimes social accounts, blogs, profiles, etc are better off left dead.

    One key factor is formatting. Is that account relevant to the changes in the social landscape? If it was a Facebook profile that isn’t the best use for a business to communicate through…kill it off.

    All social needs to be social, sharable and consistent with your goals. Invite those long lost fans over to the next spot that you’re committing to participate properly on.

    @ericamcclenny

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