Once in a while a campaign has run its course, and ever so often there's a social media strategy
connected to it. Many times there's one thing missing though: the Exit - a strategy for leaving the platform without undoing the work done.
Below we'll discuss a couple of the more frequent ones and also recommend which one to use for your case.
1. The Vanish - "Now you see me, now you don't"
Simply deleting the account or blog makes for a clean break, leaving nothing behind that can affect the company negatively.
On the pros side there's also that there won't be any new visitors feeling that the brand's inactive, but one big issue on the cons is that name squatters and negative campaigners can re-register your name and use it for their goals, affecting you negatively. Also, all the content created can no longer be found, and all backlinks are broken, so while highly efficient in slashing maintenance cost, it's unfortunately also brutally efficient in destroying a positive online presence.
Could be used for short-term campaigns, where there's a fixed and limited time in the public's eye.
2. The Full Stop - "¡Ya basta!"
The full stop is done by pulling the plug on the activity on the platform. Mostly, this is the default action of the campaigners but sometimes they even leave a farewell statement.
The good thing is that it leaves all the content up, still giving you SEO benefits, since it's of course quality content, and lets potential customers find useful stuff linked to your brand (and also with links to your homepage). A simple message on the profile page or the last post saying thanks for the time and linking to your homepage is a good way to let people know you think it was worth the time, but also that the time has come to move on to new exciting things.
Recommended for when there ROI of the campaign has been relatively low or there just isn't anything more to add, but there's still people interested in the content.
3. The Remembrance - "Fade to black"
This long term engagement deals with no new business content is added, but the platform presence stays up to help fans and followers keep the community they built around it going. With a strategy for a slow transition into oblivion the handling of the platform will add to the feeling of a company or brand that cares about its customers.
The cons are that this will still take resources managing it during the phase-out process, but the pros are that it retains the community, and thus it's recommended for long-term or hugely successful campaigns with a dedicated following - you never know when you might need to call on them again.
Set up milestones for the different phases of the exit to let the community know what's going on and when to expect the next change, and when deadlines for retrieving uploaded data are (for instance if they uploaded images for a competition).