How to Effectively Evaluate New Social Media Platforms

Elliott-KelleyBy Elliott Kelley, PR and Social Media Specialist

“Quick, 12 new social platforms just emerged. How do we set up an account?”

We field this question from our clients almost every time a new platform emerges.

With the cacophony of conversation around platforms like Parler, MeWe or—not too long ago—TikTok, your brand may be asking this very question.

While it’s great to be on the forefront of emerging technologies and trends, ask these questions before you create that account and start posting.

Is the platform viable?

Yes, there is a lot of conversation about new platforms due to geopolitical issues. However, conversation does not mean viability. Just as no one could have predicted the rise of Facebook, it is impossible to accurately predict platform viability. However, we can make several benchmarks.

  • What unique value does the platform provide?
  • What barriers to entry preclude or enhance the platform’s success?
  • What long-term investments are occurring to ensure the platform’s success?
  • How is the platform intended to be used and by whom?

ParlerLogo2_031521For example, Parler had not made long-term investments to ensure its success. Almost simultaneously, they experienced massive outages due to overloading their server and the platform was removed from Apple and Google stores. Only then did they start making plans to increase their servers. This also provides an example of a barrier as Parler’s content policy was in direct conflict with their host, Apple and Google. They didn’t have a smart long-term strategy.

Does the format align with our brand and capabilities?

TikTokLogo_031521While TikTok has seen a large following, not every brand can generate engaging product content in 60 seconds, nor will their target audience be on the platform.

(Check out our TikTok Advertising blog to see if the platform is right for your brand.)

For a more traditional example, consider LinkedIn and Instagram. Would your corporate press release that experienced high engagement on LinkedIn experience the same success on Instagram if using the same format? Obviously, it would not. If your brand is more hierarchical in nature, then traditional platforms and traditional formats may be better suited to your brand. The inverse would be true if your brand offers greater freedom and flexibility for content creation and approvals.

As is the nature of social media, platforms change constantly, as does platform popularity. Don’t assume that you must be on all platforms or that you should categorically stay away from new platforms. Ask yourself these questions, make decisions based on your brand personality and capabilities, and you will naturally extend across social platforms that make the most sense for you.