Sizing up the latest social media platform
Sizing up the latest social media platform

By on in Strategy, Tech & Trends

Sizing up the latest social media platform

It happens every few months: A buzzy new social media platform captures our collective attention. Some have become the next big thing (TikTok), while others have fizzled (Threads).

If you’re involved with your brand’s social media marketing, you’re likely bombarded by news stories, social media screeds, and emails from colleagues explaining why you have to join this one.

It’s easy enough for someone to fire off an email or Tweet, espousing their views on why getting in ASAP is the right move. But there are countless reasons it might not be.

And since it’s your team’s time, money, and resources that will need to adjust to develop a presence on the new social app, it’s your professional duty to look before you leap.

So, what do you do when the next social media hype cycle begins?


Remember, Miss Cleo wasn’t really psychic (and neither are any of us)

Even if the hoopla makes a new platform’s dominance seem assured, remember this: The frenzy is perpetuated (at least in part) by the people who stand to make money on the deal.

Mark Zuckerberg made a video announcing Meta’s Threads, which the media covered endlessly. People flocked to register in the app’s early days. Less than two months later? Threads’ user base had fallen by about 80% from its initial peak.

The bullishness around Threads wasn’t unwarranted. X (fka Twitter) is in a weird era, leaving a void that Threads was well suited to fill. Meta has dominated the social landscape for years; why wouldn’t its new app take off? Plus, Threads made signup seamless for existing Instagram users.

These very rational arguments are well and good, but how often do crowds on the internet behave in logical, predictable ways?

Threads’ boom and bust is a reminder that even a call to the psychic hotline won’t tell you where a new social network is headed.


If early adopters of a new social platform align with your ideal audience, it might warrant a closer look.


Claim your handle

Going all-in on a brand-new social platform (even one that seems promising) may not be the best use of your time and resources, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

When signups begin on the new app, pop on over and at least claim your brand’s handle or username. If the platform starts to take off and you want to become active, you’ve already saved your spot. If it fades, at least you know no one is on there impersonating your brand.


Think about fit

Some social platforms lend themselves to a certain kind of brand. Others are always a bit of a square peg in a round hole.

For example, Instagram is a visual platform. If you run an architecture firm, it’s a natural fit. Who doesn’t want to see work-in-progress videos and beautiful visuals of your finished work?

An investment management firm, on the other hand? Sure, you can find things to post on Instagram, but you’ll have to work harder to generate a steady stream of content.

Whenever a new social media platform emerges, ask yourself: Is this a natural fit for our brand?


Consider your audience

You’ll also want to think about fit as it pertains to your ideal customer.

New social platforms don’t take long to carve out their identity. TikTok became a haven for Gen Zers who wanted to get in on viral challenges and trends. Clubhouse hosted entrepreneurs and thought leaders looking to speak to their followers.

If early adopters of a new social platform align with your ideal audience, it might warrant a closer look.


Compare notes

While it’s never wise to put too much stock in what others are doing, there is some value in taking the temperature of your peers.

Poke around on the new social channel and see which competitors are there. Are they actively posting? And if so, then are they seeing strong engagement?

Next, reach out to those in your network. If you attend an industry event or are part of a virtual marketing mastermind group, take an informal poll. How do they feel about the hot new social platform?


Dip, don’t dive

If all signs point to yes on trying the new platform, it might be time to do just that. But we all know social channels are a ton of work to maintain. They require constant attention and a steady stream of new content.

Be realistic about the time, resources, and energy your team has to give to a new social channel. You’ll have to scale back somewhere else to make it happen. Review your current marketing data to assess which efforts are bearing the least fruit, and consider reallocating those resources to your new endeavor.


If, at first, you don’t succeed…

Part of committing to a new social channel is giving your initiative time to succeed. You will not master a brand-new platform overnight, so don’t expect immediate results.

Invest in experimenting with different approaches, and don’t get frustrated after only a few months. It can take half a year or more just to find your stride in a new place–and even longer to get into a groove and start to thrive.

Remember to monitor your metrics along the way. Check in monthly to gauge the impacts of your work. You should compare your results month-over-month, plus scan marketing publications for industry performance benchmarks to see how you stack up.


Thank you, next

The final piece of the puzzle is knowing when to call it quits. If, after your initial “growing pains” grace period, your efforts still go months without producing meaningful results, or the platform itself is on a backslide, it might be time to move on.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing! I’ve written before about the Clubhouse boom and bust. At this point in its lifecycle, Clubhouse probably shouldn’t be your primary social channel. But in the early days of the pandemic, it became a lifeline for businesses that wanted to maintain their communities virtually.

If you got in at the peak of a social platform and saw some benefits for your brand, that’s great! But don’t let the memories of what you had together convince you to stick around even when things aren’t working anymore. Be ready to say thank you, next.

Social media is more art than science. No universal rules dictate where you should go and what you should do. But, establishing a framework to help you evaluate new social platforms on their own merits and their alignment with your brand is crucial to making more informed decisions.


Need some help sizing up your social media strategy? We’re here.