HomeBlog Catching Up With Runaway Social Media Accounts

Catching Up With Runaway Social Media Accounts

January 13, 2014|Julie Ogilvie

Social account proliferation is becoming a big issue (especially on Twitter), so it’s important for the social operations team to have clear guidelines about the process for setting up new accounts. We’ve heard from clients that the risks of out-of-control account proliferation are starting to rise to the level of a corporate governance issue.

Most of our clients struggle to get their organizations to truly embrace social media. Arm-twisting and bribery are two common tactics employed to get the blogs, tweets and updates flowing (these are not SiriusDecisions best practices, just observations).

At the other end of the spectrum are clients whose efforts have taken off like a high school party thrown when Mom and Dad are away for the weekend: New accounts are popping up left and right, and they’re scrambling to shut down the revelry before the neighbors call the police.

Social account proliferation is becoming a bigger issue (especially on Twitter), so it’s important for the social operations team to have clear guidelines about the process for setting up new accounts. This must be explained so that people understand why a smaller number of well-maintained accounts is more effective than dozens of separate accounts with only a few followers and sporadic activity. Requiring a business case for opening a new account is a good idea to prevent willy-nilly account creation.

This is not to say that social media should not be supporting the needs of business units, product groups, campaigns, events and all of the other “special interests” out there. This is why hashtags were invented. Explain how setting up hashtags for topics and using them consistently within a corporate account is a better and easier way to get attention than striking out on your own with a new account like @nobodyreadsthis.

We’ve heard from clients that the risks of out-of-control account proliferation are starting to rise to the level of a corporate governance issue. Risk officers are concerned that it’s too easy to lose track of who “owns” accounts and their passwords. When employees leave their jobs, their accounts are abandoned or, worse, abused.

Here are a few ideas for identifying accounts to close and making a graceful exit:

  • Use the SiriusDecisions Social Account Audit Framework to identify accounts with relatively few followers and low levels of engagement.
  • Let followers know that the account is being consolidated. Change the profile so it points to the new account that will replace it.
  • Tweet the news of the account being closed for two to four weeks. Consider running a Twitter ad (promoted tweet) targeting followers or users with similar interests.
  • Monitor the account for any negative comments. If followers are upset by the change, or confused about what has happened, reach out to them directly.
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    Are you dealing with issues of account proliferation? Let us know how you handled it.

    Julie Ogilvie

    Julie Ogilvie is a Senior Research Director of Strategic Communications Management at SiriusDecisions. She has held a variety of leadership roles in marketing and communications in her 20+ year career, for both B2B and B2C companies. Follow her on Twitter at @julieogilvie.

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