What to do when your social media tools disappear

Panic
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Last week, I got the email no social media marketer ever wants to read. Argyle Social, my social media publishing, monitoring and analytics tool is being discontinued as of the end of May. The news put me into a frenzy and I immediately dropped everything to look for a replacement.

All of my data, my history, my publishing calendar – gone. I spend a good chunk of my day inside of Argyle, either writing or publishing content, analyzing data or reviewing old content for new inspiration. What will my day look like without it? When will I reach that level of comfort again with another tool set?

I’m deeply saddened by the loss of a great company, but that email was a wake up call I think we all need sometimes. We’re part of a brand new, fast-paced and constantly changing industry where complacency can never be an option. We will only survive if we’re ready to adapt at the drop of a hat, or the “ping” of our inbox.

Wake up call #1: Everything you love could disappear tomorrow

I know it sounds harsh, but if you’re part of the industry you have to understand and be ok with it. While my experience with Argyle is extreme – changes, both favorable and not, happen all the time. It can be something as minimal as a (seemingly weekly) Facebook algorithm update, or as severe as the overhaul of an entire platform. Whatever it is, we have to expect it. And we have to be ready.

What’s true today could be false tomorrow. You need the confidence in yourself to wake up every morning knowing that surprises are probably in store. It’s the most terrifying and most exciting part of our job. Your resourcefulness is more valuable than your knowledge. 10% of your job is knowing things. 90% is knowing how to know things.

Wake up call #2: Your relationship with your social media tools is like a relationship in real life – it works best if you don’t define yourself by it

You know that couple who, as individuals, would literally stop functioning without the presence of the other? Don’t be that couple with your social media tools. It might feel good when everything’s working between you, but one small snag (an argument about where to spend Thanksgiving, an API bug) and your world collapses around you.

Relationships are strongest when each party has a strong sense of self outside of the partnership – and the same is true in your relationship with your social media tools. You can still get the full use out of your tool set without being completely co-dependent.

Make sure you have a solid social media strategy that’s focused on delivering quality and engaging content. Your content comes first, your vehicle for delivery comes second. As long as you’re confident in your ability to consistently provide top-notch content to meet your networks’ demand, you’ll be able to overcome any technological road bumps.

Wake up call #3: Always know what’s out there

Do I wish Argyle weren’t closing it’s doors? Yes. Am I annoyed that I had to drop all of my other responsibilities to shop for a replacement? Of course. But there’s an upside – I’ve learned a ton about the state of the social media industry in the last few days because I took the time to do it.

Since I started using Argyle I stopped paying attention to what else was out there. I was happy and my needs were fulfilled, so why would I waste the time? I consistently turned away demos and ignored emails concluding that my time was better spent on projects with deadlines.

In retrospect, that was a bit of a mistake. I had no idea what the standard pricing models looked like, which features were now standard offerings and which were just on the horizon. I had to start from scratch, but you don’t have to as long as you make the effort to stay in the know.

While dedicating hours and hours to researching and demoing tools you have no intention of purchasing is never a smart idea, it’s good to peek your head in the door every once in awhile, so a big change doesn’t blindside you. And when it happens, you’ll know exactly where to start.

Wake up call #4: Always, always, always have a plan B

Being part of a new industry often means flying solo. Many of us social media marketers are running one-man shows. That means when we get the flu, social media gets put on hold until our bowels are back in tact. If news breaks while we’re out of the country, well that news will just break a little bit later on our social networks.

While we can’t just go around hiring understudies with our often limited budgets, we can prepare for the worst. If you woke up tomorrow morning and your platform had disappeared, what would you do?  Which free tools would you use in the interim? How much additional time would you need to be back up and running, and which tasks would take a backseat until you were able to do so? Are you consistently exporting reports and saving them in a secure place? Knowing the answer to these questions will be your key to sanity in the case of an emergency.

At the end of the Argyle era, I wish the best for the company’s founders and employees. In many ways, their functionality was top of the line, so I’m hopeful they can bounce back quickly and disperse their knowledge elsewhere in the social media industry. I hope Argyle’s customers are not as frantic as I, and if they are, that they find a speedy replacement.

And for you, I hope something like this never happens. But if it does, I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes and be ready to take on the world industry.

One thought on “What to do when your social media tools disappear

  1. Pingback: From friendster to facebook social networking dos and donts | Sociala medier och digital kommunikation

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