A client of mine sent me a new social media site and wondered what I thought of it, if it was a right fit for them. I’d never heard of it. That doesn’t mean it’s not valid or is not going to become wildly popular in the future. But the fact that I’ve never heard of it is part of the reason I told her that it probably wasn’t a great fit at this time.

Social media sites are starting up all the time, and while you may be lauded for your vision in jumping on the bandwagon early on–yes, my friend Tara knew Facebook was going to be a thing before I did–I think it’s better to see which ones are actually popular and utilized before investing your business in them.

I haven’t even created a Google Plus page for this particular client because I don’t think the site is utilized enough to be worth it at this time. For now the dominate social media platforms for this client’s use continues to be Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

That may change, of course, but the broad buy-in to those platforms is what makes them effective, so brands and even individuals will be reluctant to abandon their audiences (friends, followers) unless the audience abandons them first (which certainly could happen).

The effectiveness of social media is often hard to quantify, particularly when you’re not a retailer. Coupons, sales, etc. can be gauged much more easily than it can when your product is content. I think it’s important for content producers to have a strong social media presence–it drives traffic and builds brand awareness–but I don’t think it’s prudent to chase technology and new platforms so much as harness them to enrich your own business vision.

Ultimately, social media platforms are a tool. They shouldn’t drive your business (unless they are your business). They should enrich your relationship to your customers, which will end up driving your business. There’s no need to chase it or be an early adopter if there is no compelling evidence that it will enhance your bottom line.

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