I had lunch last week with my friend and former NAFCU colleague John Zimmerman, who showed me a clever 6-second video he made on Vine—a social media app that has gotten a lot of attention lately but one that I hadn’t yet examined.
Just when I thought I had social media under my belt, along comes a new one I need to pay attention to. So I downloaded the app, and I have to admit these little continuous-loop videos can be mesmerizing. But how do I know if Vine, which debuted in January and by June was the #1 download on the App Store, will last?
It often seems with social media that we’re chasing down the latest fads or hoping not to miss out on the next big thing. It reminds me of high school when the details of a party were a closely guarded secret—unless you were one of the cool kids. Nerds like me never seemed to get the word. We just heard about how great the party was on Monday. That seems to be my plight with new social media.
Yet, as much as I want to be hip about cutting-edge technology, I’m skeptical about spending a lot of time on something that may not show any return on investment, make sense for a client or even be around in a few years.
So how do you separate the flash-in-the-pans from the ones that are built to last? How do you evaluate whether a new social media network is right for you or your clients?
Among the basic questions you should ask:
- Who is using the new media, and do they include your customers or potential customers?
- What kind of content is being shared, with whom is it shared and how likely are they to influence your target audience?
- How would you integrate the new media into your current mix of channels? Can you use it to cross-market your content?
- How much time and resources will it take to invest in the new media and then maintain a consistent presence in that network?
- Is there a way to measure results? ROI?
For a good checklist on how to evaluate new social media, see “8 Questions to Evaluate if That New Social Network is Worth Your Company’s Time” by Tom Demers.
Here’s some good advice from #7 on Demers’ list:
How much time and resources are required to participate in this social network?
Do you have the time to devote to embracing a new social network? Many business owners or marketing directors are already overworked and adding one more element to the daily grind may just be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. You also want to avoid spreading yourself too thin. The more networks you belong to, the greater your total investment and the more likely you are to post only sporadic content across each. You’ll achieve a better ROI by selecting a few key networks that are right for you and putting the necessary effort forth to really utilize the full power of social media. Knowing your required investment in advance may make it a little more palatable.