While Vine was once known as a hot video sharing platform, it is now on the verge of extinction. How can marketers identify which platforms are best for their purposes and audience?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Focus on Your Home Base and Extend From There
Social media platforms come and go. This is inevitable. Your online presence needs to start with your website, always. Then, you can work outwards from there. We forget this because of the inordinate focus on social media. Instead, try a pilot program. Give yourself six months for a couple of social platforms. If they don’t work out, move on and test others.
2. Expect and Adapt to Constant Change
Marketers have to have a mind shift change to realize that things are always adapting. Act in a way that is more agile and responsive than ever before. An 18-month-old marketing plan just doesn’t work when Vine goes away within the period of that time. Develop shorter-term experiential marketing plans, try and learn new things, and be keenly aware of where your audience is.
3. Find Your Audience
I think it’s important to find the platform where your audience is and make yourself known there. With my golf brand, I’ve been able to build a really nice following on Instagram by highlighting golf course photos and stories. I’ve found the people who follow me are engaged and I can chat with them right there in the comments.
4. Know How to Market Your Product
For all businesses, it is important to know “how” to market a product. Instagram is the best marketing tool for us because it’s used to post photos and videos. It’s easy to catch our customers’ attention through Instagram because most of our customers have an account. Since people are used to scrolling through photos and videos, we definitely have a successful marketing plan using interesting and educational photos.
5. Remember No Platform Is Going to Stick Around
You shouldn’t be focused on picking and mastering any platform. Instead, you should be working on having a team and process in place designed to capture all profiles that might be important. That doesn’t mean a big investment. Just add your general information and relevant details, and don’t bother logging in again unless the platform kicks off. You can choose to do more for the trendy ones.
6. Identify Your Goals Before You Decide
Identify what your goals are first in order to make the right choice. For example, Facebook focuses more on building brand loyalty, while Twitter is best for sending out timely informational updates. Pinterest works great for showcasing your product line.
7. Stick With Facebook
Facebook has nearly two billion monthly active users. Facebook provides tools through its Facebook Ads platform to target anyone, anywhere in the world. The targeting capabilities make Facebook an extraordinary place to exclusively focus your resources on growing your business. If marketing doesn’t work for you on Facebook, it’s highly unlikely to work anywhere else.
8. Conduct Quick and Painless Tests
You’ll never know what’s possible until you try, so budget a little resource each month to pilot new marketing programs across emerging platforms. And while the statistics may show that your audience probably isn’t on a particular mobile app or social media site, you may be surprised by the results after you initiate a small marketing campaign there.
9. Read Reviews Carefully
People are always talking about the latest and greatest platform somewhere online. Read those reviews carefully and see how the company responds to their feedback. If the company is interested in making changes to their platform to enhance usability or the customer experience, they’re willing to change and grow to meet market demands. Those who aren’t willing will inevitably fall by the wayside.
10. See It at Face Value
It’s important to not get overly caught up in what a platform could become. See a platform for what it currently is, and utilize it if there’s potential for your brand at that particular moment in time. Don’t get caught up in predicting the future. Focus on capitalizing on the present.
11. Navigate Toward the Platform Used by Your Niche Audience
Let your consumers do the work for you. Whichever platform your target audience is using will be your go-to platform for consistent, fresh daily content. You could hit all platforms with each post with the push of a button, or your could simply hone in on your client base and observe their online movements to select your choice platform.
12. Always Have a Solid Monetization Play
Something many of the “fast-growing” social and mobile platforms had experienced problems with is monetization. Once a monetization method is in place, it’s much easier to grow, promote and seek the attention of new audiences. This is something Facebook Mobile and Snapchat struggled with in the beginning, but look at them now. At the same time, it must not interrupt user engagement.