The social landscape today looks a lot different than it did last year ... or even last month. As soon as your figure out a successful strategy on one channel, another one shows up and begins to demand your attention.
For a lot of marketers, determining exactly where and when to spend your precious resources (read: bandwidth and money) can be a challenge. That’s why it helps to have a plan in place for considering your options.
At HubSpot, we've developed a series of questions to help folks determine if it's really time to create a new social media account. So if you're struggling to figure out whether or not you're ready to expand your social presence, take some time to run through the list below. We've got a feeling it'll help.
9 Questions to Ask Before Creating Another Social Media Account
1) Is my persona on this network?
Different social networks have different user bases -- even the major ones. For example, 72% of adult internet users are on Facebook, while only 25% are on LinkedIn, according to Pew Research Center. Each of those networks attract users for different reasons, and cater to different user behavior.
Just because a network is hot right now, doesn't mean you should be using it. The key is to figure out where your personas are engaging on social media and figure out a strategy for connecting with them there. (Don't have personas yet? Check out our persona templates to get started.)
Note: Keep in mind that the personas you're targeting might differ between departments. For example, your recruiting department may be looking to engage with different folks than your marketing department.
2) Will this account fill a need that is different from one of my other accounts?
If you have a social channel for your company already, you likely already have an audience that's interested in receiving your content and updates. Congrats, that’s hard work.
When you start a new account, you are building that audience all over. Don't do the work for nothing. Unless there is specific content that your audience cannot receive in the original area, or there is a need to serve a new user base, there might not be reason enough to create another account.
In other words, don’t create a need for a new segment if it isn’t already there. Creating a new account should be to drive a business need, not to create one from scratch.
3) Do I have the time required to build an account?
If you are going to have a handle represent your brand it is important for that handle to be meeting the expectations of the customers. Most commonly that means building a sizable following and consistently posting to the account. Otherwise, the handle can look inconsistent with your other handles -- or worse, dormant.
That being said, it takes time to build and publish to a new account (multiple hours a week for several weeks). This is a laborious process that requires a big time commitment in order to be successful. Before committing to your new account, take a look at the calendar and see what your team can realistically handle.
4) Do I have the time required to monitor the account?
This is the one that surprises most people. When you open up a direct channel of communication, your audience will use it. Being able to monitor an account is imperative for a good brand experience. This expectation of service can be great if you’re looking to start a support account, but trickier if your account has primarily a marketing function.
Keep in mind that expectations will be different depending on the network you're considering. On Twitter, 70% of surveyed users expect a response from brands, and 53% want that response in under an hour. Brands that don’t respond actually hurt their brand reputation. Facebook is also encouraging faster responses by giving brands who respond to 90% of messages within 5 minutes a “very responsive” icon on their pages.
While you may have a slightly longer grace period for brand comments (like on Facebook or Instagram), when people are reaching out to you directly on an account, they are doing it because they want a rapid response.
This may be the most time-consuming part of your social strategy, but some (myself included) would say it’s the most important. Content is what will keep your social channel front of mind, and it’s also what will bring in the views, interactions, and leads. Suffice to say, when creating a channel you should have a plan for sustained content creation.
When thinking about your new social channel, consider where you will be getting the material and how you’ll be able to sustain this to create multiple posts a week. Remember, this content should also serve a unique function from your existing accounts.
6)How many posts/week am I able to commit to this account?
Posting consistency is key. Once you have a content plan, be sure that you’re able to keep up a consistent posting schedule as well. After all, your accounts aren’t doing much for you if you’re not posting from them. Dormant accounts also can give off the impression that you don’t care, or can’t commit to brand followers.
Exactly how often you post is dependent on network and industry, but you should plan to have at least 1-2 Facebook posts a week, and 4-5 on Twitter (if not more). For some of the quieter networks with less links to click (think: Snapchat, Instagram, etc.), you can manage posting a couple of times a month, rather than weekly.
7)Do I have budget to help build/scale this account?
Money talks on social media. This is an unfortunate truth we are seeing more and more often. While you don't really need budget to build out an account, a little spend can go a long way for boosting posts or putting yourself in front of new followers -- especially on algorithm-dependent networks such as Facebook.
If you choose to put your money behind advertising in social, watch it carefully. Define goals beforehand, and put it into a network that is really worthwhile for you. Each network has a slightly different way of handling paid advertising. For more on how to navigate paid social advertising, check out this free guide or click on any of the respective links below:
(Note: Snapchat ads can be quite expensive. You may want to consider an on-demand geofilter instead).
8) What is the goal of this account? How will I know if it's successful?
When you’re launching any initiative it’s important to know what value it will bring you, how you know you should double down on your efforts, or when you may want to cut and run.
Whether your success is measured in leads, applicants, or share of voice, knowing your goals can help you prioritize your time and report your wins back to your team more effectively.
9) Why is time spent on this social account more valuable than time spent doing other marketing activities?
If you’re feeling good about the questions above, you’ve hopefully determined that creating a new social account will take you a healthy (but totally worthwhile) amount of time. Now you have to ask yourself: Am I best spending my time creating content for this specific channel, or should I consider other marketing tactics (running experiments, optimizing emails, hosting events, etc.)?
At the end of the day, it comes down to you and your team. Specifically, to whether or not you can create and sustain a new account to a degree that feels worthwhile to your company. If these questions have you planning a run for the hills, perhaps a new account is not the right fit. At least not right now. On the other hand, if they have you feeling excited about the content you’ll post with this account, or the goals you’ll be trying to hit, sounds like you have some creating to do.
How many social accounts does your company have? Which ones are most effective? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Originally published May 26, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017