The proliferation of social media platforms can be overwhelming for individuals and businesses alike. The opportunity to become an early adopter and leader on a platform can be great for your business, but only if the platform’s capabilities and your marketing objectives align. Every new social widget isn’t necessarily right for every business.
Ask yourself these five questions before you join a new platform:
1. Do your clients, customers and strategic partners use ShinyNewSocialWidget.com?
If your target audience isn’t interested in the platform, it will be challenging to build a community and get a return on investment. Before you join a new platform, evaluate who’s on it and how they use it. Something as simple as a three-question e-survey can provide valuable data to answer this question.
2. Who will maintain ShinyNewSocialWidget.com?
For many businesses, a social media manager is a luxury. Consider which employees have the time and skills necessary to establish a consistent presence on the platform. Since social media is most effective when it is part of an integrated marketing communications program, it is unlikely one platform will justify draining key resources.
3. Is ShinyNewSocialWidget.com compatible with your existing communications program?
If your business has few photo-worthy moments, the latest photo-sharing platform isn’t a logical place to build a presence. It’s new and shiny, yes, but don’t get distracted. A platform that isn’t conducive to your content won’t positively impact your bottom line.
4. What unique capabilities does ShinyNewSocialWidget.com offer?
Many platforms offer similar capabilities. Consider whether this latest platform has services that are important to effectively market your business. If the answer is yes, consider whether it’s better than one you already use.
5. Does ShinyNewSocialWidget.com have staying power?
We all remember Google Buzz, which came and went before it ever got off of the ground. Before you invest time and resources into a new social media platform, evaluate its staying power.
While there isn’t a metric or formula available that will guarantee a platform will stay, consider its intended audience, whether it has unique capabilities, and how user-friendly and secure the interface is. This will provide some insight into how much people will like it and want to use it.
As new platforms appear and companies expand their social media presences, the time it takes to maintain a social media program will only grow. Before you succumb to the allure of the latest platforms, carefully consider whether they are the best use of your resources.
Danielle M. Cyr is director of social media and senior PR account manager for Co-Communications. A version of this article first appeared on the Co-Communications blog. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleCyr.