Social media platforms come and go like the seasons turn, but you should take your time in deciding which channels are right for your business.
Since I've been using social media, I've lost count to the number of “next big things” there has been: Bebo, Myspace, Friendster, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and now Vine. Many of these platforms are either non-existent or a shadow of their former self. It is up to you, as a marketer to decide what platforms you and your business should invest time in and create a presence on.
There are a number of considerations that need to be made before investing time and money into a campaign and sometimes taking a second before you jump on the social media bandwagon can make a world of difference.
Identify the channels your audience are using
A core aspect of any marketing strategy is to understand your audience, their habits and where and how they spend their time and money. For whatever reason, the bright flashing lights of social media seem to cloud a marketers vision and force them to disregard this fundamental factor.
I've seen a number of businesses, especially B2B companies within my industry, that have a Facebook page, even though the technical nature of the industry means that there is just no demand for it on Facebook. You can actually see the time the company set up their page, after a month of two of fruitless efforts and only a handful of likes you can see the posts stopping dead. Then the page has stood dormant, doing nothing positive and should anyone find the deserted Facebook it will just demonstrate a lack of forward planning.
Each social media platform requires a different approach
The latest social fad that a lot of businesses have jumped upon without a properly thought-out strategy is Pinterest. Pinterest is ideal for businesses such as travel, food and cooking and design, where there is a huge emphasis on visuals and emotions, so unless these kind of businesses represent your business, chances are Pinterest is not for you.
That's not to say it can't work for some 'unconventional' businesses, General Electric show how it can be done well for an unglamorous industry.
The latest social media platform to come to light is the Vine app from Twitter. It is yet to be seen how businesses will best utilise this new platform but I can guarantee there will be many failed attempts by companies that just are not suited to this channel.
Know when to cut your losses
As I mentioned above, everywhere you look you can find derelict or fading social media accounts from small and medium enterprises, who jumped on the buzz but then quickly run out of steam. One of the toughest decisions as a marketer in general, as in digital, is knowing when to cut your losses and give up on a failing campaign.
But biting the bullet and accepting failure can benefit your business more in the long run. Although a un-updated social page may not overtly harm your business, it may have some small underlying affect on your reputation. Should a campaign fail, delete the page or remove the posts and make it a static information page. There is no point risking this possible damage for a slightly bruised ego.
Take a step back and make a plan
By the very nature of social media, it is quick and instantaneous, although this behaviour should not reflect on how quickly you make the latest social account. Utilising a social network early on can have its benefits, but sometimes it is better to take a second to breath, understand the platform a little better and have a well thought-out strategy to implement.
If you are investing too much time and money into a social media platform, for limited to no return on investment it may be time to pull the plug.
- Tags: Social Media