When to Throw in the Social Media Towel

Most social media advocates spend their time trying to convince others ways to overcome adversity and beat the odds when it comes to being heard as a lone voice in a social media avalanche. I’m certainly not one to call it quits when things get tough, and I would definitely call myself an optimist when it comes to taking a chance. But sometimes hope and optimism aren’t enough, and the odds ARE stacked too highly in your favor.

When this time comes, you’re faced with a choice. You can either keep pushing against the inevitable or you can throw in the towel. It’s a tough decision, and one that never sits quite right with you. But in the long run, it may be the best option.

When to Fold

Social media can be like a poker game. Most of the time you have a good shot, so you want to play. After all, what’s just around the bend if not potential for a totally different hand?

But at some point during a poker game, you have to sit back and realize there’s literally no way to win. If you’re playing with four other people and you have a 2, 4, 5, 9, and 10 of mixed suit in your hand, statistically somebody in the group will have beaten you no matter what you do. If that’s the case, what’s the point in losing all your money? It’s time to fold.

So how do you determine this when it’s your company’s social media campaign at stake? When things are stacked against you to where there’s no other move to make, it’s time to throw in the towel. Maybe it comes from bad luck, maybe it comes from something you did; but if the numbers are totally against you and it will actually do you harm to continue, wipe the slate clean and start anew.


One of the easiest ways to tell if it’s time for you to call it a day is if there’s been a tremendous backlash against your company. It seems every week or so there’s a brand new debacle that hits the Internet airwaves where some company or person decides they can get away with going crazy online. But it never ends well.

A few years ago, a cooking magazine called “Cook’s Source” tried to steal a blogger’s material, saying it was “free because it was on the Internet.” When the editor in chief was called out, they insulted the blogger and said they were keeping the material.

When the Internet at large heard about this, it was all over for Cook’s Source. Their Facebook was flooded with angry ‘net denizens. The magazine went out of business.

What would happen to your company if a wayward employee accidentally angered the entirety of the Internet? What if the insult was so bad every word you type is answered by a thousand angry responses? After a while, you may realize there’s nothing left to do – the odds are stacked against you and you have a terrible hand. It may be time to fold and wait for the next hand to be dealt.

How long should you give it after a major debacle before throwing in the towel?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three ebooks, including My Facebook Formula, a free report on Facebook and why you should be using the largest social network for your business, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html

It’s important to realize that things will be said about your business (positive or negative) whether you do or don’t have a social media presence of your own. It’s best to have your own avenue to share your side of the story in order to try and diffuse the situation.


In every case I have seen the sooner you ‘fess up’ online and say, sorry, we goofed, the sooner the whole thing is over. It’s important for any company to have a disaster plan for when things go wrong. But it’s just as important to be present and honest when unpleasant news get out.


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