Breaking Up With A Social Network


By: Joe Patti


Hey is your organization on Peach? What about Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Whatsapp, Slack, Periscope, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Flipboard, Snapchat, Myspace… (Myspace?! Okay, now I am just gratuitously listing social networks.)

As new social media sites emerge, we are often faced with the question of whether there is any value to the organization in becoming involved with the trending service. Equally as important is the question of whether the organization should stick with the social media platforms with which it is already involved.


Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good recently wrote about how she was deciding to scale back or discontinue her involvement with a number of social media services. In the process, she provides guidelines for making the decision for your own organization.

4 Signs Your Nonprofit Should Quit a Social Network
1. There is very little trackable return on investment from using the social network.
2. There are other social networks that need your attention.
3. You don’t have the time or desire to use the social network anymore.
4. Research reveals that the social network isn’t a good fit for your social media strategy.

She expounds on each of these points in her blog post so it is worth further reading.

One word of caution I would inject is to become aware of the limitations of whatever you are using to measure return on investment. For example, Twitter shares can no longer simply be tracked via the share buttons on your website.

Likewise, changes Facebook made to their API mean that social media management tools like Hootsuite can no longer display what other people are saying about your organizations. Don’t mistake the apparent lack of discussion about you on Facebook for an actual lack of discussion and decide to abandon your efforts there.

Around the same time as Mansfield made her post, Brian Honigman made a similar post regarding when to decide to quit a social network. However, he takes a slightly different approach generally advocating that you invest sufficient time and effort into the social network; not treat every social network the same and vary the content accordingly; and finally clearly understand your goals for the social network. If the goal is to raise awareness, don’t jettison a network because it hasn’t increased attendance and ticket sales.

His approach is slightly more analytical than Mansfield’s: allocate sufficient time, set goals, test different messaging techniques, evaluate, try something different. After sufficient time has past and a network clearly isn’t helping you attain the goals you wish, then you leave it.

His post is a reminder that social media networks are part of an overall strategy and not something to be assigned to a random employee uninvolved in the conversations about the larger goals.

Joe Patti
Joe Patti
In addition to writing for ArtHacker, I have been writing the blog, Butts in the Seats ( since 2004. I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. ( I am currently the Theater Manager for the Rialto Theater in Loveland, CO. Across my career I have worked as the Executive Director at The Grand Opera House in Macon, GA, at University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College, University of Central Florida, Asolo Theater, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center and numerous other places both defunct and funky.
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