We recently saw a suggestion to go back and clean up your social media — delete old posts on Facebook, for example. Is this a good idea?
Remove anything off-brand
Did you use terminology in the past that you regret today? Did you go through a spell of adolescent rebellion at your company and post things you aren’t proud of today? If you have the equivalent of wet T-shirt contest photos from the past, you should remove them.
On the other hand, if your past posts show your history and give a good sense of what your company is like, there’s no reason to remove them, even if they are not the same as what you post today.
One more thing to consider: if you delete old posts in bulk, enough to look as though you have no history, some people will wonder why you’re hiding your past. Just something to be aware of.
If your organization posts and reposts a lot — building up anticipation of events, for example, with multiple nearly identical posts about the coming event — then it might make sense to remove some of those posts after the fact. Your audience may need and value a lot of reminders, and people coming to check out your social media presence don’t need to see that webinar announcement 12 times.
On the other hand, make sure that you’re not confusing social media with advertising. Your ads need to be shown repeatedly before someone takes action, but lots of repetition in your social media feed may just be nagging.
Sometimes people want to delete old blog posts. Fortunately, we can check their analytics and show them that their old posts continue to get new traffic. They continue to rank for important keywords. In other words, they’re valuable. It’s usually smarter to update posts than to delete them.
You may not have that data for your social media. But social media content does show up in search. Removing the posts that do will reduce the visibility of your online presence.
Sometimes we see the suggestion to delete low-performing posts. If you expect to get X number of likes or shares, you could delete all the posts that got <X shares, giving the impression that you are more popular than you really are.
Think about your target market before doing this. Are you trying to appeal to people who are swayed by vanity metrics? If so, you might create a perception of higher prestige by doing this. On the other hand, if your target market is a savvier consumer, they will be more likely to see what you’ve done. The overall effect will be unnatural. Does your target market care about authenticity?
You know your customers, your tribe, or the people you want to appeal to most. Be aware of the impression you want to make, and the impression you’re actually making.