Through the Spyglass


Investing in a New Social Media Platform: 10 Questions to Consider

Image Credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg Image Credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg

New social media platforms spring up all over the place all the time. Because of this, it can be difficult to choose which ones to put your time and resources into. We wrote a prior blog post on determining which platforms to be on, and you can read that here.

But in this post, we wanted to help you decide when to invest in a new platform, potentially adding to your list of existing platforms. Below are some questions to ask yourself before you commit.

You may want to bookmark this page for future reference. We guarantee that a new social media service will pop up soon that everyone will be talking about, and your marketing department will wonder whether your company should open a profile there as well.

1. Is my target audience on this platform?

Different social media services attract different types of people: college students, professionals, millennials, Gen Xers, etc. Identify what type of audience is being attracted to this new social media platform and determine whether it's beneficial for your company to invest time and money into reaching that market. If your existing target audience isn't on the platform, or if you're not realistically looking at growing your market to include the audience using that social media platform, then you shouldn’t expend the resources to open and manage a profile there.

2. How engaged is my audience on this platform?

It's one thing for your target audience to be present on a platform. It's another thing for them to be engaged there. The reality is your target audience is probably on many platforms, but you should focus your efforts where they are most active. So consider whether your audience just has profiles on a given social media site, or if they are regularly engaging with their friends and other brands there.

3. Can this platform communicate my message in an effective way?

Each social media platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Can your company effectively communicate using the tools available through this new service? Or will you be so hindered by its weaknesses that your message will be lost? Consider your current resources and be realistic about your team's abilities. Perhaps this is a platform you might invest more in down the road if you're not really ready to dive in 100 percent right now.

4. Do I have capacity to effectively manage this platform?

Image Credit: Gabriel Rojas Hruska Image Credit: Gabriel Rojas Hruska

While we all wish that we had more hours in the day and more team members on our staff, we know we can't snap our fingers and make it happen immediately. Think about your team's current workload. Whenever you communicate on behalf of your brand, you want to make sure it's in line with brand strategy and that your message is crisp. If your team members are currently overwhelmed, then you should think about either removing things from their plate so they can handle the additional work of managing another social media account, or you should put the platform on hold until your team has more capacity.

5. Do I see long-term potential in this platform?

Social media platforms come and go. What long-term potential do you see with this new tool? Do the experts anticipate strong growth? Is your target market attracted to it, and are more people signing up regularly? Are new features being added to the service, further enabling you to communicate your brand's message? Invest with your eyes wide open about the long-term prospects of your activities on the platform. 

6. Is there compelling short-term potential in this platform?

In addition to long-term potential, what are the immediate gains that your brand might achieve getting involved with the new social media service? What benefits might there be to your brand for being an early adopter? If there are not many other brands yet active on the network, you could stand to achieve higher engagement from fans given the limited competition. 

7. Are there targeted advertising capabilities?

Often with new social media platforms, advertising capabilities aren't fully developed. But if you see strong engagement with fans and a large base of your target market, it stands to reason that advertising capabilities will follow. It's helpful to have an established brand presence before advertising capabilities develop. However, the more advertising capabilities a platform eventually has, the better chance your brand has for targeting your desired audience. This will enable you to spend your advertising budget well.

8. Will this platform benefit or detract from my presence elsewhere?

If you have limited capacity to manage a new platform, if your strategy for the new platform isn't fully developed, or if the platform doesn't have the capacity to communicate in a way that really drives growth for your business, these might all be reasons to not get involved at this time. You don't want to mismanage your brand's presence on one social media platform, and in so doing, damage the brand's reputation across the board.

9. Is your team fully on board?

When investing in any new marketing endeavor, it's very helpful to have executive buy-in. You're likely going to have a ramp-up stage where engagement and fan growth starts slowly and begins to increase over time. While you're in the early stages, your team needs to have patience and see the value social activity can create in the long run.

Also, you want to make sure your marketing and sales teams are integrated so that communication about the brand is seamless. Members of other departments need to understand your vision for engaging with audiences in a new way and support you by providing the information you need throughout the process.

10. What can this platform offer that other platforms cannot?

Perhaps you've noticed some limitations in other social media services as you seek to engage with your audience and drive growth for your business. Maybe your target audience isn't as active or present on the platforms that you're currently using. Or maybe the media options aren't what you would like them to be (e.g., ability to run video, chat, comment, connect with people, etc.). Think about what additional benefits this new social media platform has, and how you can utilize it to the fullest for your brand. Be sure to capitalize on these new opportunities rather than copying and pasting what you're doing on other platforms onto this new one. Use each platform to the utmost of what it's designed to do.