How do brands determine which of the multiple social media platforms available today are actually relevant to them, was one of the key questions posed by Elizabeth Canon, founder of Fashion’s Collective, at the first in a series of new workshops called FC Labs hosted in New York recently.
It’s all too easy to get swept up in the buzz of something such as Pinterest, but does that mean every brand should be there? What about Instagram? Tumblr? Even Twitter? And then beyond those, the yet newer ones again. The sheer volume of choice is overwhelming, even amid media hype for certain in particular, so how as a brand do you figure out whether to jump on board or not?
The most important thing, explained Canon, is to consider each platform’s purpose. She referenced the importance of understanding from the off what each site is actually about to be able to factor in your own place within that.
This includes user behaviour, so literally how consumers use and interact within the space. And equally of course, functionality; in terms of what each site actually lets you do. It’s worth spelling out that Twitter for instance in its most basic form is about short form text, communicating directly with consumers via the @ sign, joining in external conversations via trending topics and the hashtag, linking out to images and videos and so forth.
Canon emphasised that in understanding those things first and foremost, you’ll be able to better understand your own brand purpose on that platform. Or more importantly, whether what you’re setting out to achieve can in fact be done. “The two have to align to be successful,” she explained.
She urged for brands to step back and really think about whether they should be on a new platform or not. In pushing for a vetting process, she highlighted five key areas to consider; assessing each platform based on a series of factors relevant to fit with your brand content (the distinction variable in the equation):
- Appearance. It does matter. On many platforms like Twitter or Facebook for instance, you’re very restricted on how much you can make your ‘page’ look your own. Tumblr on the other hand enables you to customise the design as much as you want.
- Affinity. Everyone wants to be wanted, so are your customers actually already there? Some platforms even amid media hype, are still only being used by the early adopter set. Are those your target market?
- Expansion. Making friends is a core part of social media. Does this platform allow you to build new connections and spread your customer base? Functionality is important again here, so does the platform also facilitate sharing so as to enable this growth?
- Management. Do the resources you have allow you to do what you want to do? Everything from time commitment to whether you have the skills available to create the content you want, needs considering, not to mention of course where the budget is coming from.
- Distinction. Is this platform different to the other ones you’re on. It’s important to weave the same story across numerous, but it needs to be done in different ways or it risks becoming too repetitive for your consumers.
Find out more about FC Labs at: fclabs.fashionscollective.com