Sure, you know about Twitter. But what about Chirp, Chirpify and the rest of the 200 or so channels out there?
It’s not your imagination. New social media channels really are popping up every few months. A study by Experian predicts that “Deeper functional[it]y, combined with a lower technical barrier to entry, will result in new leaders in social media being created, accepted and used within a matter of days.”
So how do you select the right channels for your organization? As with marketing communications generally, there’s a strategic as well as a tactical answer to that question.
Start with yourself. That’s the advice of Catherine Parker, author of 301 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Your Marketing. For example, if your professional product is highly visual—or text-heavy—choose your channels accordingly. “Know your business’s strengths and weaknesses,” Parker advises (Tip 2).
Just as field guides help birders identify the hundreds of avian species in the USA, the “conversation prism,” reproduced here, guides marketers to the social media environment and its native inhabitants.
Social media guru Brian Solis, developer of the conversation prism, places “YOU” at the center of the social universe. In order to choose the right channels, Solis suggests, first consider your vision, purpose, value, commitment, and transparency with regard to social media.
“Social is not a silo or a function, it is a way of business. It is intended to mature business perspective from a command and control mentality to that of engagement and openness.”—Brian Solis
Next, identify your priority audience segment(s). This is partly a demographic exercise: who are they and how do they prefer to communicate? It’s also a functional exercise: what task are they trying to accomplish at a given time? What’s their strategy for engaging with social media?
With a little research, you’ll be able to identify your segments’ “native habitat” in the social media environment. Using the outer rim of the conversation prism, you can then make tactical choices to convey your message through the channels your audiences will appreciate.
As a bonus, you’ll be better prepared to create relevant and meaningful content. Information, entertainment, and applications can take different forms, depending on the channel you choose and the audience you plan to engage there. (We’ve written elsewhere on “value” and values in social media.)
Happy birding! (LA)