How Do You Assess if a Social Media Network is Right for Your Brand?
Maintaining a social media profile requires dedicated time and effort, so it’s imperative you choose to engage on the platforms with the greatest potential to help you achieve your marketing objectives. From audience profile to projected growth, the network needs to be a fit for your brand. Read on for tips on how to evaluate new social media platforms.
1. What Is the Network’s Audience Profile?
Social media networks do not all attract the same audience. Due to its broad reach, Facebook reaches the general population while Instagram skews younger (though that is in the process of changing). LinkedIn is the professional network and Pinterest is predominantly female-focused. Before you spend effort building out your brand’s presence on a specific social media network, make sure your audience is there.
2. What Is the Network’s Project Growth?
As of September 2017, there were 105 “leading” social media networks according to Practical Ecommerce. They can’t all become the next Facebook. Unless a social media network scales to a relevant size, you could find yourself spending significant effort to engage relatively few consumers.
Research a site’s projected growth when determining your marketing strategy for the platform. If the site doesn’t have potential to grow, you’ll want to save your resources.
3. What Types of Content Are Popular?
Even when the audience profiles are comparable, content types and formats can differ greatly from one social media network to the next. For example, Instagram is visually based, with users sharing photographs and videos. Meanwhile, Nextdoor is a social platform designed to help neighbors share local event details. Imgur, a newer social network, lets users vote and rank photos. And Tinder centers on location-based connections.
A social network’s content format and objectives should map closely to your marketing style and objectives. If you don’t see immediate alignment, walk away.
4. What Type of Brand Engagement Exists?
Are brands similar to you on the new platform yet? How do users react when brands post or advertise? Before you engage, monitor the experience to make sure you’ll be a welcome participant.
On larger social networks, like Instagram, almost every imaginable brand, from celebrities to retailers to service providers, has an account. Instagram users are familiar with brand engagement and appreciate brands that participate in the conversation. But users of smaller networks can be more resistant to branded infiltration, feeling it dilutes the authenticity of the platform.
5. What Types of Advertising Opportunities Are Offered?
Most social media platforms launch and scale before they monetize. When they open to advertisers, the tools can be initially clunky. Even if a social network has the right audience and the right content, the time involved to effectively advertise might be too intensive. In order to achieve their current scale, Facebook launched advertiser tools that allow for easy campaign setup, granular targeting and streamlined reporting.
6. How Much Does It Cost to Advertise?
Most of the larger social networks allow advertisers to pay on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions basis. Price is typically based on advertiser demand. Networks with large audiences and robust targeting capabilities (like Facebook) typically attract more advertisers, driving up advertising cost.
Media spend should always be evaluated based on the return on investment (ROI), so higher media costs are acceptable when tied to higher conversion rates.
When analyzing any marketing opportunity, it’s essential to review all the details before jumping in with both feet. People love the new and shiny, and marketers fear letting their competition get ahead. But spending significant time and effort to chase a fad rarely delivers on your objective.
Be bold by making intelligent strategic moves forward, not by striving to always be the first.