Is the next buzzworthy social media platform right for my client?

Annie Pham

My career in social media has spanned from programming artist MySpace profiles, explaining “tweets” to puzzled clients, introducing Facebook pages to brands, to testing Google+ Hangouts for colleagues. This rapid influx of buzzworthy social media sites can be overwhelming to everyone, especially to our clients.

From time to time, there will be a social media platform that stands out above the rest and our first instinct is to immediately tell a client about this new discovery to be the frontrunner in social media trends. However, before doing this, it is important to take a step back to evaluate whether this social media platform is really right for your client by asking yourself the following questions.

1. With this new platform, who is your main audience and does this audience match your target demographic?

Understanding who is using this platform before recommending it to a client is imperative. If members of your target audience are not active on this new platform, then your brand profile will most likely be out of place.  A good example of this is Pinterest, a platform with a majority of females as members. Although the number of male pinners are growing slowly, it might be a good idea to have Pinterest’s male membership evolve a bit more before recommending it to a client that targets both genders.

2.  Who will maintain this new profile and what will be the protocol?

A huge selling point for most new social media platforms is that they are extremely easy to get involved in with huge viral returns. However, to be effective in social media, constant and consistent engagement is the key to being successful. Therefore, it is important to think about how the maintenance for this platform will work. Will the client need to approve every entry? Will this mean an extra amount of time added to your day for research to maintain this account? Will this platform invite spammers and negative comments that will need constant monitoring? Even though a new platform can seem exciting and trendy, it may end up being counter-productive to join if it means taking away attention from existing platforms that are already active and successful.

3.  Does this new platform have staying power?

Remember Google Buzz? iTunes Ping? Before jumping the gun and getting your client excited about a new platform, it is important to find clues on whether this platform has staying power.  Not only are expert testimonials and competitor profiles ways to judge a platform’s staying power, but also personal experience. The easiest way to evaluate a new program is simply by seriously joining this new platform and being active within it. If you find a platform boring, hard to navigate, or invasive, then this platform is most likely not worth recommending to your client.

Like trends and fads, these platforms will come and go, but in the end, social media is constantly evolving. As PR and social media experts, it is important to evolve with social media by keeping an open mind and being prepared for the next big thing.

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