Social media is fast.
We’re talking what’s hot this week might be old news next week fast. New social networks, tools, software, and strategies pop up in our inbox, newsfeed, and Twitter stream constantly.
Sometimes I seriously just stand up and walk away from the computer to take a breath, you know?
Working in social media means falling down the rabbit hole a lot. And to be honest, that is not always bad.
Spending 5 minutes here or there learning about new networks, tools, and strategies can be helpful. Spending 5 days on something unproven however? Well, there we run into an issue.
Last week we started a series of webinars featuring our Social Fresh WEST speakers, as we lead up to the conference on September 27-28. One of those webinars was titled Stop the Social Media Shiny Object Syndrome (recorded and on demand).
In an industry that moves so quickly, it is important to stay educated, to be informed about the tools available to us. During the webinar, we outlined an 8 step process for reviewing social media shiny objects.
1. Have Patience
Yes, this is a very simple step, a no brainer for some we might think. And yet it is the probably the most important.
There is rarely a need to rush in to any of these new social networks or tools. If a new social network launches today, you likely will not miss out on anything if you wait a few months to see where things shake out.
Similarly with new tools and software, take your time. Put the thought and research in before investing hours of your time.
2. Test Personally
Before we dive into a tool or social network with our brand name on the line, always test with a personal account. Learn the ropes, the culture (if a social network), get your feet wet.
This type of simple personal testing does not take much time and allows a few people to pass along personal lessons to your ultimate brand use, if you decide to move forward.
3. Land claim
It’s ok to grab your brand name on a social network. This usually takes very little time and has almost zero downside. Occasionally setting up your brand name on a social network could invite comments and a customer service need, so be sure to think through how visible this profile will be.
But for the most part if you are worried about missing out on that next big thing, at least getting your brand name setup will take away some of that pressure.
4. Research professionally
Early adopters can tell you a lot about a new social network or software solution. Befriend this tech and social vanguard. Learn their secret handshakes. Or at least buy them a whole meal of food once in a while. They can help you get front line research on the next great thing.
Also look to your industry peers, survey product demos, check out any reviews you can find, and try to gather first hand human intelligence on your shiny object of choice. Try to keep an eye out for those that are a little less enamored by hype but instead focus on business use.
5. Compare value
Value the opportunity of a new tool or network compared to current solutions. This should not always deter you, but it will prepare you with a better understanding of next steps.
What is the value of the current solutions you have. How much time and money does it save/make? What is the potential value of these new tools? The less unclear the value of a new tool, the more patient you should be.
6. Replace or augment?
Can the success you see on Pinterest replace what you have been doing on Facebook? Or are they two different audiences for your brand? Can Argyle Social replace Hootsuite for your needs, or will you need to keep using both for different features?
Knowing whether a new social network or tool will replace an existing one or augment it, helps you define exactly what resources will be needed to invest in them.
7. Define Investment
You now know the potential value, and how a given shiny object matches up with your current investments. So sit down and write out exactly what you are willing to invest in this new tool.
It should be dollars and man power, over time.
This could be zero mind you. You may decide that now is not the right time for your company to be on Instagram, if ever.
Or you may decide to hire one new community manger for a 3 month trial to run the new brand Pinterest account. Or maybe Billy from marketing will now spend 20% of his time over the next month switching over all our social account to Argyle Social.
Define how you are going to use this new tool for an initial investment. And what your goals are.
At the end of that defined investment period, reassess. Were goals reached? Were assumptions confirmed?
And if you decided to just be patient, and wait a few months to see how things shook out, reassess whether it is time to make that first investment or not.