Answer These 6 Questions to Evaluate Social Media Channels for Your Business

In today’s social media world, we now have more choices and channels to choose from than ever before.

Now instead of simply focusing on the big three social networks – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – there are now dozens of new social media channels where you could spend your time.

This year, it’s Vine – Twitter’s 6-second mobile video creator. Last year, it was Pinterest. And before that, it was Instagram and Google Plus.

It’s absolutely dizzying – especially for smaller businesses who are strapped for time.

Yet, whenever a hot new social network bursts on to the scene, it’s tempting to rush out to see how it could work for your business because we don’t want to be left behind. But, spreading yourself across so many networks can be an absolute disaster.

So, with all of the choices out there, how do you determine which social networks are right for your business? Which new social media networks should you try?

To help you figure this out, here are six questions you should answer to help you evaluate social media channels and determine which ones make sense for your business:

1. Does this align with our business goals and overall strategy?

With everything you do with social media, it has to come back to this question. One of the big reasons people struggle to get results with social media is that they don’t have clear goals for their efforts or understand how social media will integrate into the company’s overall strategy.

Take the time to think through the benefits of engaging in a new network and how it can help you reach your business goals – whether that’s driving leads, increasing sales or strengthening customer loyalty.

2. Is our target audience spending time there?

Sure, Vine might be really hot right now. But, if your people (customers, prospects, influencers, etc.) aren’t hanging out there, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to invest time into the social network.

To discover if your audience uses a social network, you can survey your customers. Use research and reports to see statistics and demographics for each network. Or, you can try Google’s consumer surveys tool, which offers low-cost way to get information from your target demographic.

3. Do we have content that we can share there?

Before diving into a social network, you must determine what content can you share that will resonate with the audience on that network.

For instance, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Vine rely heavily on compelling images, while Twitter and LinkedIn are great venues for sharing blog posts and premium content.

If you don’t have content to share on the network, start building a plan for developing the content first. Then, you can use social media to promote it.

4. How are others using it?

To help you get ideas for using a particular social network, it helps to see how other businesses connecting and sharing content there.

You certainly don’t want to copy what you’re competitors are doing, but looking at how businesses in similar industries are using different networks can help get your creative juices flowing and understand what’s working well for others.

5. Do we have the resources to handle this channel? Who will manage it?

Jumping into a new social network sounds like a great idea until you think about the time it will take to manage it.

Before you diving into a new network, think through how much time it will take to manage it to reach your desired goals. And then, determine the staff needed or budget required to get the job done.

If you don’t have the resources on staff or the budget to bring in help, you might need to pass on adding the network to the mix. After all, I would rather see businesses invest heavily into using one or two networks really well than spreading themselves too thing across several networks.

6. What does success look like?

Answering this question is integral to whether or not a network should be adopted for the long term.

Think about what you want to see happen within three to six months of adopting the social network. If the results don’t measure up, it makes it much easier to let go of the effort after your test period is up.

How do you evaluate which social networks make sense for your business? Have you ever abandoned a social network after trying it out?

Image credit: Oberazzi

About Laura Click

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based integrated marketing firm. In addition to being the lead blogger on the Blue Kite blog, Laura is a proud Mizzou alum, avid runner and dog lover. You can connect with Laura on Twitter at @lauraclick, on LinkedIn or Google Plus.

  • http://twitter.com/02809Photo 02809 Photography

    It is one of the constant things I evaluate over and over is which social channel is beneficial to me and what channel do I enjoy and build the best quality relationships with, it is not very hard to get lost in the social trap of wheel spinning.

    • http://flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      I think we all struggle with this from time to time. And, you bring up a good point – even if you’ve been using a social network for awhile, it makes sense to go back and evaluate whether it’s still worth your time. Our time is precious, so we need to make sure we use it wisely!

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