Exorcise the Ghosts of Businesses Past

Companies don’t always go out of business because they have failed. Sometimes, an owner wants to retire and there’s no one who wants to take over the business for them. Sometimes, an owner has simply found or been offered a better opportunity.

Unfortunately, former or potential customers don’t always get the memo that a business no longer exists. The internet has a long memory – especially if the company does not delete its social media presences.

Often, Facebook pages or Twitter accounts remain and stagnate. Former or potential customers are unsure if the business is gone, or if it is still around and just inactive on social media. Some businesses establish a social media page and then never update it at all, which adds to the “Are they out-of-business, or are they just not active here?” confusion. These ghosts of past businesses are frustrating for customers.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve switched businesses, be sure this change is noted on the website and former social media channels for your previous business.

* Update the website homepage with a notice, or delete the website completely.

* Pin a notification of the business closure as the top post on all of the profiles for your business’s social media channels.

* If you have a Facebook page, disable the ability for visitors to post on the page. This will prevent a proliferation of unrelated advertising posts if spammers discover they can post at will on your page because you never check it.

Notifications pinned on your social media networks are helpful in the first several months following the closure of your business. It serves to let folks know what happened and/or where to find you now. After several months, it’s a good idea to completely delete these profiles, and keep the internet free from ghosts of businesses past.

Bernadette Geyer provides writing, copy editing, and translation services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and writers. She also leads online workshops on a variety of topics for small businesses and writers. Geyer likes being a small fish in a big pond, and enjoys helping others move to bigger ponds themselves. Subscribe to her monthly news from the big pond if you’re interested in professional growth.

Geyer’s No Time Guide series of online guides for small businesses offers simple, jargon-free guides to small business owners and nonprofits who want to grow, but don’t have a lot of time.