You Don’t Pick the Platform, the Platform Picks You

You’ve launched every social media channel you’ve read about and added all the accoutrements to your website. So why aren’t they all performing the same? You’ve committed time, budget and energy. What’s missing?

The answer might just be nothing.

Does your business need to be on Pinterest? Is your business missing out on huge opportunities by not using Instagram? Are you missing out on revenue because you’re not using Facebook, or Twitter single-sign on for your e-commerce site?

What’s the right answer? What’s overkill? Which social media platform(s) should you pick?

There are three simple questions that can get you on the path to understanding which (if any) social media platforms make sense for your business:

  • What are your goals?
  • Where are your customers?
  • What resources can you commit to support the effort?

Let’s address these one by one.

Where are your customers?

This is not something that you can assume and it’s probably not something that you will immediately know the answer to. It requires a bit of listening and a fair amount of analysis to figure out. At Make Me Social we typically start engagements with upfront Benchmark Analyses that allow us to dive into the world of your customers, to understand them and then to identify them in the social world.

We start by creating a customer profile. From there, we move into the identification process. Using keywords and interests, we filter through the millions of mentions across the social web to pinpoint living, breathing representations of the customer profile. We then start to match back what social networks they use and most importantly, how they use them.

We analyze their behavior on the networks, from how often they post to the language used and the emotions expressed in their posts. Finally, we take a look at where and how they engage with businesses. We try to understand their expectations and desires from businesses using social media.

There are plenty of listening platforms out there, and some that are working toward automating more of this work. The software is not 100% capable of overcoming challenges posed by semantics, which is why we employee analysts to review the automated results. Just as financial analysts read data to determine what the automated reports really mean, we blend brain work with technology to reveal the most precise social data and analytics available.

What are your goals?

What is your business trying to accomplish? What revenue goals have you set? Are you looking to recruit new talent? Build more partnerships?

We are firm believers that any and all efforts undertaken by a business should support the overarching goals and objectives of said business. That’s how businesses grow.

By identifying those goals up front, they can be examined alongside potential social media platforms and strategies.

Using this information in conjunction with the analysis gives us the ability to provide direction and inform recommendations around budgets and staffing.

What resources can you commit to support the effort?

Planning for execution is the best strategy. All of the strategy in the world means nothing if the plan isn’t executed well. Because social media is always on, the management can get overwhelming. It can be a full time job just reading the data when your audiences start to really explode and engage, and it’s one that requires a high degree of specialization and a broad scope of experiences and skills – from psychology to technology.

There are agencies that provide support throughout the execution part of the plan. This is something that Make Me Social focuses on. We’ve found that when our clients are free to focus on the intricacies of their business, we’re in an excellent position to guide the integration of social into the overall communications plan.

Managing your social media efforts is not something that you should try and automate or fit in. A post every week when you have the time or remember is not enough to sustain success.  For brands working with agencies, managing conversations requires an agency that thinks (and works) differently. We’ve found that social works best when it’s a truly integrated team effort between the client and the agency. If your agency is too focused on interpreting your voice to speak with it, you should consider looking at additional resources to support any social media efforts.

Looking at the resources that you have available will ensure that your social media plan is structured in a way that is manageable for you. What’s wonderful about social is that it’s scalable and always evolving, so as your resources change, you can always build upon the existing strategy.

So…should your business be on Pinterest?

Only after looking at your customers, your goals and your resources, will you be in a position to begin to answer that question.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys painting and pinteresting. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

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