A new social platform "worth trying out" launches every month. While that may be exciting for many social media managers, it also comes with a big challenge: deciding whether to invest time and resources into experimenting with something entirely new while not diverting too much attention away from your existing audiences.
That said, understand that changes can - and perhaps should - be made incrementally. What's more, you may not even realize it, but you've already done much of the work needed to see if something is truly a smart investment. So if you're looking into a new or niche social channel, such as Periscope, consider the following advice, which could save you a whole lot of time and stress.
Do Your Research First
First and foremost, ask yourself the following question: Is there a purpose for my organization to experiment on this new or niche social network?
To help decide, read articles, observe how others are using the channel and refer to reputable studies. You might even considering speak with a consultant or agency if you have one on retainer.
Whatever path you choose, be sure to work your way through the following checklist:
By answering these questions, your team will be able to make a smart decision as to whether it makes sense to dive into testing the latest and greatest social media network. Of course, it's important to convey to your team and others that this exercise doesn't guarantee 100% success; it just gives you an idea of how viable your options are.
Repurpose Existing Content
Once you've determined that a new or niche social channel is worth testing, use your time wisely by understanding the features at hand and by having a solid grasp of what kind of content the network's audience prefers.
Repurposing your content is a good start. For example, you can distill a blog post into a Tweet or package several Facebook posts into a larger infographic. This ensures the information your business has spent time producing reaches the widest audience possible. It also just makes sense when it comes to trying out an entirely new channel. See if content designed for one platform in any way resonates on another.
As seen above, Nasty Gal repurposed content from its Twitter and Instagram accounts and shared it on We Heart It, a social network with 30 million active users - mostly teenage girls. Of course, as a largely visual network, 'We Heart It' appears to have been an easy investment for Nasty Gal when it comes to repurposed content.
In a similar way, by not reinventing the wheel, your brand can mitigate the risks associated with taking a new or niche social channel out for a test drive. At worst, you've probably just gotten your already existing content out to a slightly broader audience.
One important note: When repurposing content on social media, treat each channel differently; do not simply copy and paste. It's essential to understand the nuances of the network. With that in mind, think about how you might vary the text, image or video in each post, even if it all relates back to the same original content source.
Set a Timeline for Testing
Lastly, set a limit for how long your brand will test out a new or niche social network to see if it's driving results. A a general rule, three months to a year should be reasonable to gather enough data and insights to make a sound business decision.
Just remember: Generating awareness is an important goal to have, but the use of a social network needs to impact the engagement, sales and affinity your audience has for your brand - otherwise the effort isn't worth your investment.
This article originally appeared on the Sprout Social blog.