Most social media advocates try to convince others how to overcome adversity and beat the odds when a crisis hits.
I'm certainly not one to call it quits when things get tough, and I would definitely call myself an optimistic chance taker, but sometimes hope and optimism aren't enough. Sometimes the odds are stacked too high against you.
You have a choice when this happens. You can keep pushing against the inevitable, or throw in the towel. It's a tough decision but, in the long run, it may be best to throw in the towel.
When to fold
Social media can be like a poker game. You have good odds most of the time, so you want to play. After all, the potential for a totally different hand is around the bend.
But at some point during a poker game, you have to sit back and realize there's no way to win. If you play with four other people and you have a 2, 4, 5, 9 and 10 of mixed suits, statistically somebody in the group will beat you no matter what. If that's the case, what's the point in losing all your money? It's time to fold.
How do you determine when to fold when your company's social media campaign is at stake? When the situation is against you and there's no other move to make. Maybe you had bad luck or did something wrong, but if the numbers are against you and you will cause harm if you continue, wipe the slate clean and start anew.
One of the easiest ways to tell it's time to call it a day is if there's tremendous backlash against your company. Every week it seems there's a new debacle on the Internet where someone decides to go crazy online. 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 someone called out the editor-in-chief, the magazine insulted the blogger and said it would keep the material.
When people on the Internet heard about this, it was all over for "Cook's Source." Angry Internet denizens flooded its Facebook page with comments. The magazine went out of business.
What would happen to your company if a wayward employee accidentally angered everyone on the Internet? What if the insult was so bad a thousand angry responses answered every word you posted?
After a while you may realize there's nothing left to do—the odds are against you and you have a terrible hand. It may be time to fold and wait for the next hand.
How long do you think you should wait before you throw in the towel?
Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel
, where a version of this article originally appeared.