How can my business keep up with new social media channels?

For many the growth of new social networks, online channels and apps can be hard to keep up with. Worse still is figuring out how to make the most of them in your communications and marketing.

There is a neat clip from an obscure film The 13th Warrior that sums up the best approach to communicating in new networks.

Listen, learn how to communicate and adapt to the community.

But that’s jumping ahead into getting a flavour for community norms. A first step would be to ask is it worth it? Some top level questions I ask about new networks are:

  1. How can this network or channel reach my target audience?
  2. Is there something uniquely different about it, compared to existing networks, that I can take advantage of?
  3. How quickly is it scaling?

There are various other questions I’ll ask about: frictional costs to support a new channel; content requirements and support; and  risks. But the above can give a traffic light view on the initiative.

A channel that have been exploring recently is Snapchat. If I ask the above three questions I get:

  • A large demographic of younger users on this network.
  • Messages that only exist for 10 seconds at the most.
  • User growth that is surpassing Facebook and Twitter at a similar age both globally and here in New Zealand.

At first glance it’s a tool that doesn’t fit with my main online plans. Content marketing is about creating long tail ever green content for clients to find on search engines. Creating content that disappears in seconds sounds totally wrong.   But what it does support is hyper focused moments with your audience. A chance to excite and delight. A chance to have fun.

Snapchat takes you from the real world and into your phone where you’re focused in case you miss what’s happening. With that in mind it was a great tool to connect with students online and drive interactions in real life. At Vodafone we’ve used it so far for orientation weeks at both the Otago and Canterbury University campuses.

While I wouldn’t say it is a large step change from our existing channels, it has allowed us to gather a new targeted audience / following in the local geographic area.

We’re listening and learning for now, adapting our messages as we go.  I’d love to hear of any unique new channels you’re using or hacking of existing ones.

3 thoughts on “How can my business keep up with new social media channels?

  1. I would really enjoy to experiment more with social channels. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance yet to try Snapchat. Just from reading articles I have the feeling though that brands tend to use it for giveaways; to send vouchers or redeem codes. Is Snapchat all about gifting?

    1. Thanks for the leading comment! I think good social media always is about giving. Giving what the audience is after. I talked to the business development team at Snapchat and there were a few other cases they mentioned. But as it is so new there are very few brands to follow so far and very little social proof. Bands (celebs) and brands have used it a lot to gift things, but also to give insider content. Scrumpy (the local cider company) sent people on scavenger type hunts to get VIP tickets to the Rhythm and Vines music festival. Fashion brands are sharing passwords to brand ambassadors and behind the scenes glimpses. It’s a chance I think to have fun too. Show what it is like behind the scenes at a brand and their human side. The people behind the brand. It is a hard channel to measure though and the mechanics for sending messages is very clunky.

I would love to hear your views!

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