Choosing social media

By Louis Eksteen

The range of social media options is increasing at pace. Brands need to constantly evaluate new platforms to figure out if their consumers expect them to be there. But with a dizzying array of options, which social media will give the most uplift?

I believe there is no right answer to fit all brands. The question should really be in two parts:

  • Which social media are right for me and my brand?
  • Which social media are used by my target consumers?

In other words I believe there is, firstly, a place for doing something really great on your own terms on your own chosen platform. This means not blindly following consumers to the platforms they’re already on, but doing something amazing and true to yourself. The consumers that find you there will be rewarded with excellent content and engagement. Then you can look at what potential and real customers are doing on social media.

Build it and they will come

Take fashion as an example. Small, bespoke brands, retailers and quirky image bloggers were quick to recognise the value of Instagram for niche buzz. Since fashion brands found Instagram, consumers have sought out the best fashion accounts to follow themselves. This world is far removed from a relentless pursuit of likes.

The result is a lower quantity of followers, but a higher desirability evident in the followers your brand attracts. Of course this strategy works well for fashion, but amazingly not all fashion brands are even aware of the power of Instagram. Or Pinterest.

A strategy of being on a specific social platform or two can draw the core fans, because they feel they found you, without you having to entice them with all sorts of marketing gimmickry. Post it and they will come.

Follow the cat to the brewery

On the other hand, using a specific platform because your influencers are there already may work too. Social media for pets is becoming a major trend. Quaintly still called “communities” at Dogster and Catster, pet lovers can act out their pets’ social lives in communities who care.

Imagine if Hill’s were to create a deal with Catster to participate on the network (which is still primitive, basically a cross between an old-school forum and a community chat group rather than a social media network), to bring a brand page or two to life. Commercialisation is obviously frowned upon, but the rewards for first movers, if you get it right, should be a treat.

Also try the unusual Untappd, a “mobile social check-in and discovery network specifically for beer enthusiasts”. This fun brewery and beer lovers’ social media network is business-savvy, offering marketers a host of interesting ways to interact with beersters.

So what is the moral of this tale, the spin of the plot, I hear you ask? Simply that social media is what you make of it, not what it makes of you.