Close That Underperforming Social Media Account

Social media platforms have defined purposes, but when an account no longer aligns with the institution’s goals, it may be time to allocate resources elsewhere.

3 minutes
By: Jon-Stephen Stansel

Here’s the situation. You’ve got a social media account for your department. It could be a Facebook page, Instagram account or any other social media platform. Maybe you created it a few years back—maybe it was an eager student worker—but it’s just not performing like it did. Growth has stalled. Engagement is low. No matter what you do, it’s just not really doing much of anything. When do you decide to cut your losses and get rid of it?

This is the case for many smaller departmental accounts on university campuses and even much larger ones. There comes a point when we have to decide to let an account go and focus on other things. If you find yourself in this situation and are unsure if you should close a social media account, here are a few items to consider.

  1. Is it helping us achieve a goal?
  2. How much time does managing it take?
  3. Who is actually engaging?
  4. Can we merge it with a more active account?

Is it helping us achieve a goal?

Every social media account should serve a purpose. What is the purpose of your underperforming account? Is it still fulfilling that purpose? Have the goals of your department changed? Revisit the reasons behind having the account. If it’s not helping you achieve your department’s goals, it’s just getting in the way.

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How much time does managing it take?

We often think of social media as free, but it’s anything but. We seldom consider the time costs for the person running the account. How many hours a week are they spending building content for this account? Could that time be better spent elsewhere? Maybe, they would be better utilized working on another account that is performing better.

Who is actually engaging?

“But every post we make still gets a dozen or so likes!” Yes, this might be true, but who is providing those likes? I’ve seen so many smaller university accounts where the only engagement comes from other university employees. Are they really your target audience?

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Can it merge with a more active account?

One of the biggest concerns when closing a social account is how will you get information to your audience without one? As a social media manager, I’ll be the first to tell you that social media isn’t the only way to communicate, and there are other accounts at your university that can help you share your information. Consider closing your departmental account and working with the overall account for your college to communicate with all audiences. There’s a good chance you’ll actually reach more of your target audience that might not have been aware of your smaller account.

Social media isn’t the only way to communicate, and there are other accounts at your university that can help you share your information.

Closing a social media account you work on isn’t easy. We often get attached to the account, and it can be hard to let go. It’s important to remember that closing a social media account isn’t a sign of failure. Perhaps the account was once thriving, but students moved on to another platform, or changes in the platform have made the account less useful to your department’s goals. Just remember it’s okay to say “This isn’t working anymore and we need to try something else” or “We thought this would be helpful, but we’ve discovered it really isn’t worth our time.”

Closing an underperforming account just means that it’s served its purpose, and closing it allows for you to move on to something even better.

Jon-Stephen Stansel

Jon-Stephen Stansel


Jon-Stephen Stansel is the Digital Media Specialist for the University of Central Arkansas and is a social media professional with almost decade of experience managing and creating content for higher education, small business and government social media accounts. He has worked for Texas State University and the Texas Department of Transportation, as well as consulting for many small businesses. In addition, he has taught courses in social media management and presented at many national and international conferences. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Radio and Television Production and a Master’s degree in English both from Arkansas State University

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