Squatting on Social Media Platforms: Good or Bad?
Maybe you have a small business that has yet to make a serious effort to keep up with social media. Maybe you have a business and want to try using social media to promote your products and services, but you don’t have an employee on your team who can devote the time to do so. Maybe you tried to use social media and found out it wasn’t for you. Whatever the reason you went on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn or any social platform and created that inactive account, you should know what the pros and cons are of being a squatter.
A good reason to create an account for the social platforms you may use is simply to secure your name. If your business’ name is “Bob’s Hardware,” think of how many “Bob’s Hardware” businesses there could be across the world. You don’t want the business six states over to secure the name first. If it does, you’ll be stuck creating a page with a name that doesn’t represent your business well. If you think your business will begin to use social media in a timely manner, secure the name.
The con to this is when you secure the name at the wrong time. Another business that is ready to devote the time to keeping up with its social platforms will be duped out of using the name and will be in the same boat you didn’t want to be in. Is that fair? If you think it’s going to be a year or two before you actually start using those accounts, don’t squat. If you do, that other business may complain to Facebook or Twitter or whatever platform you’re squatting on, say that the account you created is inactive and that it’s a waste of a good name. But, again, if you think you’ll be ready to put your social media into full effect in just a couple months, go ahead and squat.
A different scenario is when you join a group on LinkedIn and then don’t participate. You may think there’s no harm in squatting in a group, but with LinkedIn being the largest social networking platform out there, there is indeed an issue with squatting in these groups.
If you don’t have the time to be an active participant in a LinkedIn group, don’t join it. Potential employers or clients who look you up on LinkedIn could find out you’re squatting in a group and jump to conclusions. They may think you don’t want to make the effort. They could think you’re one of those people who joins a group just so it shows up on your LinkedIn profile (social media brown-nosing). It especially looks bad when you join 10+ groups and don’t participate in any of them. It’s pointless, it makes you look bad and it can harm your reputation. If you just like to read the articles and blogs that are posted in these groups, why not just bookmark those websites instead?
When choosing to squat on a social media platform, think about necessity, timing and reputation. Is this the right time for your business to devote several hours per week keeping up with all those social platforms? Are you going to contribute to that LinkedIn group or should you find the information on your own? Are you making yourself or your business look bad by having all these inactive accounts? Use your best judgment.