What do broken windows have to do with social media?


In 1982 social scientists James Wilson and George Kelling introduced a criminological theory called The Broken Windows Theory. Today we’ll be applying this theory to managing social media accounts and figuring out what broken windows have to do with social media.

An example of the theory in action is provided in the original article:

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Wilson and Kelling go on to suggest that fixing problems like broken windows, litter, vandalism and public drunkenness will have an effect on more serious crimes. They propose that the atmosphere of order and lawfulness perpetuates itself (with some help from the law). Simply, fix the first broken window and you won’t have to rebuild the building.

What I propose is that this same idea can be applied to social media.

So what are the social media broken windows and how do you fix them?

Negative comments

The first broken window is negative comments. Legitimate customer worries that needs to be addressed or trolling that needs to be shut down both come into this category. Basically you can’t have negativity sitting on your profile and not deal with it. We’ve spoken in more detail about dealing with negative comments before.

Incomplete profile

This one is really, really, really easy to fix. Make sure your bio describes what you actually do, make sure you have a profile picture and that it looks good, and if you should have links to your website put them up too!

No content

If people arrive on your profiles and find a wasteland they won’t be sticking around so make sure you keep your page updated! As a general rule original content posted at least one week is a great start, but at the very least you could curate content from other similar brands and post that. Basically, make your page look active.

Rubbish content

You can post until the cows come home but if it’s not quality your audience won’t hang around and they definitely won’t engage. So take the above bit of advice and add this caveat: what you post needs to be relevant to your brand and audience.

Fake followers

Maybe you think having loads of followers is better than having real followers, but that’s not the case! The higher the number of fake followers the lower the engagement your posts will get. Take some time to weed out your fake followers, it’s an important part of social media caretaking.

If you take these actions you will see increased engagement as well as new followers.

Your broken windows are fixed and crime is going down, well done! Remember that it only takes one broken window so keep up with these points, they’re not a one-time-fix!

Don't miss out on the latest social marketing knowledge, news and trends!
Sign up for the Beautifully Social newsletter now!
We'll even throw in an infographic full of social media marketing tips, we're nice like that.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>