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How to Determine if a Social Network Is Right for Your Brand

How to Determine if a Social Network Is Right for Your Brand

WhichNetwrok_blogHow do you know when it’s time to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon, get started with Instagram, or make establishing a solid presence on Wanelo a priority for this quarter? What research do you need to do to determine whether joining a network you’re not active on is a sound business decision, and will resonate well with your brand’s audience and industry? 

Here I’ll take you on a step-by-step exploration of some key analyses and factors you need to take into consideration before investing in another network. If you’re going to dive in, it’s good to know what you’re diving into.

Step 1: Choose one thing you want to get out of your social media efforts.

What are you not getting from your currently active social networks?

Maybe you’ve checked out your Google Analytics reports and you’re not seeing the kind of traffic from social sites that you’d like to see.

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This chart from the Simply Measured Social Traffic Report shows the correlation between total visits to a brand’s site, visits driven from the brand’s social networks, and the percentage of overall site visits that came from social.

Whether it’s lack of website conversions, follower attrition, or something else entirely that you’re struggling with, choose a specific goal and make sure that goal matches up with the strengths of the network you’re thinking about joining. For instance, Instagram would be the ideal network to join if you want to give people a more visual, intimate sense of your brand. But, Facebook would be a better bet if you’re looking to reach people who know nothing about your product but fit into your target demographic.

Step 2: Determine which content is working.

Which content is working hard for you? Which content is hardly working?

I’d be willing to bet that, right this minute, you’re enacting some kind of functional and even successful social strategy on your currently active networks. To know which kind of content is resonating with your audience — and thus which content you should be cross-promoting or modifying for your new network — you’ve got to take a good hard look at the posts and figure out why they’re being received so warmly.

That means it’s analysis time, folks.

Look across all your active social channels and see which content type is seeing the most engagement on each channel and overall.

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This chart from the Simply Measured Cross-Channel Social Performance Report shows which brand posts are driving the most engagement by channel and content type.

This will help you decide which content types your new social network should enable.

Next, check out your t0p posts by total engagement on all your active networks.

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This chart from the Simply Measured Cross-Channel Social Performance Report, shows Sephora’s top ten posts by total engagement from 8/1/2014-8/17/2014.

This tells you which posts have worked best in any given period. I recommend pulling this information for the past six months, which will give you a broad overview and enviable depth of understanding about your social media wins.

Now take a good hard look at their most engaged-with posts. Come up with a list of the strengths of each post, and optimize your content on your new network keeping these strengths in mind.

I also recommend thinking about which content could be recycled or repurposed for your new social channel. This will help you leverage current content or use current content in a different way to make the social network addition easier on your social media team, while also maintaining content consistency from your newest channel to your oldest one.

Step 3: It’s time to look at your competitors.

Take a gander both qualitatively and quantitatively. First, see if your competitors are active on the channel you’re thinking about. Take a nice, qualitative overview of their feed/account for the past month or so. If your major competitors are inactive on the network you’re thinking about, you can see it as an opportunity to be the first at bat, or you can decide to leverage your resources by investing more deeply in networks you’re already active on.

If you see that your competitors are active on the network you’re eyeing, you need to do two kinds of analysis. First up is a competitive analysis. Look at your competition’s engagement comparison on a trended, over-time level.

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This chart from the Simply Measured Facebook Competitive Analysis shows how Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar Energy stacked up engagement-wise over a two-month time period.

Then get your hands on a list of the most engaged-with posts for the time period you’re interested in.

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This chart shows the most engaging posts, from largest to smallest, between Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rock Star from April-May 2014. Click to zoom.

Make a similar list as the one mentioned in step two, noting what the most successful posts among your competitors have in common.

Next up, take a magnifying glass to the brand who’s most successful by whatever success means to you — follower count, follower growth rate, engagement levels, engagement types, etc. This is an easy way to come up with benchmarks as you embark on your new social network adventure. What’s an appropriate follower growth rate you should seek to match and eventually surpass? What’s the natural engagement ebb and flow for a brand of your kind? Consider the research your map, and the journey yours to define.

Step 4: Ask your current followers.

Ask your current followers one of these questions:

  • What should our first post on Insert Network Here be? Winner gets Insert Prize Here!
  • We’re expanding to a new social network soon. Where do you want to see us?
  • If we were on Insert Network Here, what would you want us to post most?

Don’t just take answers — make it a dialogue! Crowdsourcing is an incredibly effective (and engagement-driving!) way of giving your audience what they want. It also means, since they’re spending the time to give you feedback, they’ll be more likely to actually follow you on the new network you’re joining.

Step 5: Don’t let the foundation wither. 

This is less of a step, and more of a reminder. Don’t let your excitement over a new network and all its possibilities blind you to the social goodness you already have. Keep your OG networks strong and healthy. It’s like your brand is a family, and your social networks are your children. You don’t neglect your first child because you have a second, right?

Where will you go?

If you could expand your brand presence to one network, which would it be? Why? Let us know in the comments, and for help with cross-channel measurement and more tactical advice, click the button below to download our full guide.

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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