Social media is an industry where the vehicle is always changing. The need to communicate online is here to stay, but the platforms that we use will change. As a social media manager it can be difficult to decide whether or not to jump on a new platform. It’s important in our industry to be innovative and ahead of the curve, but on the other hand, it’s important to be strategic and make sure we are using our most valuable resource (time) wisely.
Eventually, as new platforms emerge and a brand rides the wave, their social media presence can grow fairly sizeable. In fact, the average large company has 178 social media accounts (according to Altimeter). This stat does not include employee personal accounts that they would take with them if they left the organization. When you add it up, that’s a lot of accounts.
Considering the fickle world we live in, and the fact that any new platform is a drain on resources, it’s important to be smart before you activate on a social media platform. Below are four questions that can help guide you before you take on the next big thing:
1. Can the platform help accomplish social media / organizational goals?
Only 17% of companies identify their social strategy as mature (resource here). This has to change, and social media needs to grow up to start adding real value to organizations. If you use your goals as a foundation and guide for every action, then you will be able to demonstrate real value.
If a new platform, campaign, etc. is not helping you reach a goal, then there’s no point in investing time, money and resources no matter how great the idea is. If you are looking to start a new platform, ask yourself this question. If the answer is no, then you need to move on.
2. Is the audience there?
When embarking on any kind of communications, you need to understand whom you are trying to reach. Take the time to understand the audience you are targeting before you activate on a new platform. Then, do your research to know if they are there. There’s no point in jumping on a new platform if you can’t reach the appropriate and intended audience.
3. How will the content vary from other platforms?
I think it’s extremely important to have a platform strategy that differentiates how you will use each social media network, keeping in mind the demographics and the habits of the users on the platform. A good platform strategy should spell out everything from tone, engagement, content and measurement of success.
What type of content you will share, in my opinion, is one of the most important things you should consider (aside from goals and audience) when activating on a new platform. The content on each platform should vary to some degree for two main reasons.
First, if you are sharing the exact same content on every platform it will get extremely redundant and people will stop paying attention. Second of all, it is important to craft content that works for the platform. You want your content to be as genuine to the platform as possible, so think about how users are using each platform and mold the content appropriately.
4. How will success be measured?
I’ve read that an astonishing 53 percent of social media marketers do not measure ROI (source Awareness Inc.). If we want social media to be seen as a real value add, we HAVE to change that. Period.
Before you activate on a new platform, you need to understand how you will measure success. Measuring success will help you evaluate and make changes as needed to be even more successful in the space. Tracking analytics will also help explain the value of social media to the organization and others outside of your department.
What do you think? What are the questions you have to have answered before activating on a new social media platform?