Let’s say you are a global social media manager for a multi-national business, looking to build an audience and remain relevant. It is hard enough to ensure a clear, concise, and authentic social media strategy that, reflects the tone, style, and most importantly lives the brand is embedded in every social platform.
So, are they now supposed to create a new plan or strategy for the latest platform that has captured the imagination?
The answer is yes and no.
When the first social media platforms launched it is hard to imagine that any of them could be as large as they now are, in terms of physical size, the volume of activity, and influence on the wider economy and our everyday lives.
We have seen several of them come and go, such as Bebo, MySpace, Friendster, Vine amongst others. Others struggle for relevance, have we already forgotten Vero and Ello? And some fail to monetise (something Twitter has done for years). So far in 2021, we have seen the rise of social platforms, with Clubhouse on the tip of many a tongue. As a result, an increasing number of marketers are busy exploring how they can be successful or pivot to follow the latest platform with attention arbitrage.
This is not uncommon and is something that we have seen happen several times before as marketers either independently or under the direction of the board or senior management are asked… “Why aren’t we on [insert the latest platform here]?”
As you can see from the data, there is a huge amount of choice for marketers and even more so for consumers.
Let’s start with the audience.
There are times when you absolutely should double and triple down on the latest app or platform. There is a key element that will dictate this, which also should dictate all your social media marketing, and let’s be honest, marketing in general… audience! Audience is paramount.
The question ‘is the new app’s audience likely to match YOUR target audience’ is paramount before making any decisions about investing time, money, and effort into building out a strategy and account. The audience that you are trying to reach, your potential, and your existing customer. If you understand where they are, how they engage with technology, apps, platforms, and other people, your strategy and channel selection become clear.
Think about what motivates them. Which channels are they most active on, both in terms of volume of people and engagement? Which channel are they least active on? A lot of people may say, “well everyone is our customer”, and whilst this might be true, remember that within a larger audience, there will be a smaller, more engaged audience that can drive the business more than any other group.
Reviewing the audience is a point at which you can review your current activity. As the graph below shows, there is a huge crossover in in-app usage. If you have fans on Facebook, there is a pretty big chance those same people will be active on Instagram, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or even Clubhouse.
Think about the purpose of this new app, the features it has, and the external factors that may result in huge success for your brand’s marketing strategy. At the same time, ask yourself if your brand is already on an existing app that does what the new app may promise to do. If this is the case, it may not be worth putting the time and effort into it.
If you can answer these questions with conviction you can (A) confidently pursue a new app or channel that can have a positive impact on your overall marketing strategy and (B) not run for the latest app or channel that is popular if the data does not back it up for your target audience or market.
Engagement and traffic are key.
As was the case with many marketers, there was much excitement here at LEWIS about Clubhouse (and also Vero when that was in the media) and its potential use… primarily because we are social media marketing geeks and also because we are always interested in seeing what is possible and what opportunities exist for our clients.
But if you aren’t driving optimal engagement or traffic through any of the active channels you already have, what makes you think creating a new channel will help you fare any better? Your audience may well be on this new platform, but there is a good chance they are active on any other social channel you are running, and a chance you aren’t optimising or better still, maximising these channels.
This isn’t to say that brands and businesses should only stay on one channel or two, or even three channels, and never look to grow beyond these channels. It just makes sense to evaluate what you are doing on the channels you have already invested time in and optimise where you are today rather than go on a journey akin to a digital snail trail of unfulfilled social media accounts.
Don’t put all your eggs in one digital basket
This is one comment that really stood out as a reason why you should investigate the latest app, and why you shouldn’t just take a leap of faith and abandon all other channels.
It would be easier and a lot less eventful if we could do just that, and we often get caught up in the idea that there is a Social Media Panacea, a magical place where overnight success and viral content lives… from experience there is no such place. There are not many, if any, overnight success stories on social media.
You may be successful with your efforts or strategies on the latest and greatest new platform or app but remember you don’t have to be on the latest app or platform to be successful. Understand where your audience is, what motivates them, and then focus on getting your existing channels right, as opposed to running to the next platform with a buzz around it before moving to the next platform with the right level of hype.