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Q: When should I join a new social network? It seems like there is a new social media network every few hours. At what point is it worth trying to get our brand on these new platforms? Should we be the first to join or sit back and let others explore first before dedicating time and money to the untested platform?
– Socially Overwhelmed
A: New social platforms are always really exciting. This is a new way to connect with others, and you never know when you’ve got the next Pinterest on your hands.
But when it comes to spending your professional time and money, first isn’t always best. The last thing you want to do is dedicate your hard earned budget to a platform only to realize that you aren’t reaching your target audience.
The catch-22 here is that you won’t know who is using a new platform unless you explore it yourself. Lets take Ello for example. This is a new social platform that is billed as a social network that will NOT show you ads or sell your data. It’s a stripped-down, anti-Facebook if you will.
To start, this description of the platform as an anti-Facebook could give us a pretty good idea of who is using Ello. Theoretically we could say that the user base will be people who are sick of Facebook and other ad-laden social platforms.
This should lead you to the question: does your audience like Facebook? Would they be drawn to a network without ads? Or would they rather avoid making that change and instead stick with their established profiles – ads and all?
While you can develop a theory about who is/isn’t using a new platform, ultimately the only way to find out is to explore the platform yourself. While people have done demographic studies on established platforms like Facebook and Pinterest, new platforms are usually too young to have that data. Which leaves you to do the digging yourself.
My recommendation is to explore new social media platforms on your own time. Poke around to find out who is active on the platform and how they use it. Then take that information back to your personas. If the two seem to align, this could be worth your professional time and money.
But keep in mind that it can take some time for a new network’s user base to stabilize. There is usually a rush to check out the hot new platform, but ultimately you’ll want to know which users will actually stick around and engage.
Don’t be afraid to explore on your own time, but when it comes to your professional time and money, wait until your audience has made up their minds about the network before you invest.
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