Unmasking Marketing - Dormant Social Media Accounts: Deactivate or Reactivate? Part 1

Social Media on Phone

A dormant account is like a building with a broken window. It gives the impression of derelict abandon – not the image you want to be giving out.

Reviewing the Situation

The first port of call when you're restarting a marketing effort or redirecting it is to review the existing content. At Arkom, marketing was never anyone’s specific responsibility (before I joined the team) so the content was fragmented and inconsistent - completely typical of most small business’ content output.

It seemed like, at some point or another, we’d tried every avenue possible social media wise.

So how do you analyse and determine, if you’re in a similar situation, whether to do or ditch; and having made that decision, whether to rescue or restart your social media accounts?

Break the profiles down into three filters for analysis:

  1. Time Since Last Post
  3. Content
Let's look at each one in more detail.

1. Time Since Last Post

This is the least important factor to consider if you plan on rescuing your profile.

But it’s worth considering if you are planning just to let it sit there as a vanity asset. (“look how many twitter followers we have!”)

Especially as the longer you’ve been posting content, the more credible you’ll seem. People are resistant to newer businesses because of the frequency of failure. Depending on the nature of your business, this could be more or less crucial.

As long as you post enough to push the post from 5 years ago out of your recent newsfeed, you will be far better off than you were.

Managed and ongoing services, or higher-value products and services (like custom-build websites) are a lot more likely to be purchased from a company which the buyer believes will still be there in years to come. Content that is years old can help to show your age. Just be careful you don’t look ‘mad ramblings of a grandparent’ old.

Part of the benefits of having an active social profile is that you’re seen as active and up-to-date.

Stay active. Stay fresh.

A social media profile that hasn’t been used in years indicates to people that you either can’t organise yourself or that you aren’t actively trading anymore.

You might still have things going on inside the business, but on the surface, what people are seeing is inactivity. This isn’t a good first impression. It’s better to deactivate your account. Giving no impression is better than giving off the wrong impression.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. When you think about this, you’ll do things differently.” Warren Buffet.

Ask Yourself

Are you going to be consistently growing and working on the platform? If not, will it do more harm than good whilst it remains inactive?


Building followers can be daunting and hard work, especially if you plan to do it organically.

The quantity of followers can be a superficial measure. How many followers you have doesn’t count for much in of itself (though we’ll look at its value later in the article.)


(Pied Piper - illustration by Kate Greenaway - Project Gutenberg eText 18343 - labelled for reuse from https://bit.ly/2WpBoUb)

However, if you have the right followers, a good, engaged audience that trusts you, this is worth its weight in gold. The chances are, if you have this, you aren’t even truly considering starting from scratch. Stick with that instinct.

Ask Yourself

How many followers or connections have you got on the platform? Is that market your market? If you’ve grown it organically, there’s a good chance that you will have a relevant audience. Sometimes people buy followers - this is an absolute minefield of spam and fake accounts. Steer clear of this.

If you have an account that has purchased followers, start again because that market is not your market. The amount of likes you get on things is then distorted and you can’t tell if it’s your market that’s engaging with the content, or just random irrelevant people, fake profiles or bots.

3. Content

“Content is King.” Bet you’ve never heard that before. It’s new. I think I just made it up. It definitely wasn’t Bill Gates in 1996.

The most important thing about your Social Media Profile is what does your content look like? You should be able to tell immediately at a glance what the profile is for, who it is and what you’ll get by following it.

If you have a brand-new inspired plan for Content Marketing and previously all you’ve ever done is stab in the dark with random, sporadic content, then it might well be time to start again. This doesn’t necessarily mean deactivating your account – you might be able to just rewrite, repurpose or delete the content.

Irrelevant old content isn’t the worst thing in the world – provided it isn’t embarrassing (I mean, how often do you go rooting through people’s old content?). But if someone is getting a feel for whether to work with you or not, there’s a chance they might go through all your content – if you’re off message - it can look bad.

Ask Yourself

Does existing content match with the content you’re creating for your current campaign? If it doesn’t, you should probably update, hide or delete the content as it will end up looking disjointed and lacking direction.

How important is consistency of tone to you?

Has the same author written the old content as will be writing the new? You might be able to rewrite old content to fix this problem. (I will be blogging on our case study for this process later in the series.)

How often do people check through your old posts on social media?

1. If they don’t, there’s no point in having it there.
2. If they do, and the content isn’t good, it’s better not having it there.
3. If they do AND you can revise the content (if you’ve got time) AND you can push it, that’s your best-case scenario.

N.B. If your content is kept on your website rather than a social feed...

There’s a good article from Yoast (SEO software providers) on what to do with your old website content.

You're welcome.

If you want to see this theory in practice, read part 2 of this article to see how I applied the thinking to our own social media accounts.