Test driving new online marketing platforms

By Tim Priebe on November 24, 2015

By Tim Priebe on November 24, 2015

The world of social media platforms is constantly evolving. Platforms seem to go from obscurity to being used by major corporations in a matter of weeks, if not days.

The catch? Not all of those platforms are good for every organization. Sure, you don’t want to be left behind when one takes off. But you also don’t want to waste time and money on a platform that isn’t going to help.

To help you figure that out, here’s a guide for test-driving these online marketing platforms to see if they’re a fit.

When you take this test drive, there are four things that you should be keeping in mind;

  • Comfort: Is the platform easy to use? Are you comfortable using it every day?
  • Audience: Is your target audience using this platform and are they engaged?
  • Capabilities: Does the platform do what you need it to do to reach the audience?
  • Culture: Does this platform and its audience fit your company’s brand and culture?

With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide to testing a new platform. Thanks to Mike Koehler over at Smirk New Media for sharing the basics of this approach with me when I interviewed him for a podcast.

1. Create a personal account and explore the platform features

If you aren’t certain that a social platform is going to work out, it doesn’t make sense to go full steam ahead and commit your business. Instead, create a personal account that allows you to explore the features and capabilities of the platform. Make sure to see what types of content other users are posting, and what type of interaction is happening.

2. Network with other local people and organizations using the platform

Find other users in your area and network with them. Ask them what they’ve liked about this social platform and what troubles they’ve had. You could discover some difficulties with using it, or you may find that it has gotten similar companies very good results.

3. Participate on the platform

Now that you’ve got an idea of how it’s used, begin having a conversation. Find the right tone for you and your comfort level with the platform. Be sure to get an idea of how much time it’s taking you to post and engage with your audience.

4. Set up an account for your business or non-profit and trial the platform

If it seems like your business could gain some value from using this tool, set up a business account and start using it on a trial basis. Make sure that you set a definite time to take a look at what your work has yielded so far. If it doesn’t look like this platform has been a good idea after all, don’t take the trial any further.

So the next time you really want to test out a new social media platform or tool, try this method out before you waste a lot of time. Let us know how it goes for you!

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