Even for those of us who work in social media, it can feel like constantly trying to catch a bucketful of sand to figure out precisely how many exist in the ‘mainstream’.
How do you even go about defining it: Should you bother considering former giants such as Myspace (the answer is almost certainly no), can email be counted as social, what is the size of user base before businesses need to take a first furtive glance and think about potential use? There are plenty of questions, and even when there are answers these are likely to transform well before any blanket statement can be issued.
It’s for that reason that being innovative in social media can ultimately end up diluting your message. Too much time can be spent considering best practice for a platform which is only being used by a small minority of your audience, with not enough energy then being put into those which are much more relevant – and which won’t be going away any time soon.
© Statista 2018 (find here)
If a business has a single message, it still needs to be adapted to best suit the platform, just as you wouldn’t put the same ad in a tabloid newspaper as you would in a prestigious broadsheet. That will take time to shape, and ideally needs to be figured out right at the creative planning stage so assets are optimised. It can also get complicated when a small team are trying to seamlessly push out countless versions of the same creative to each platform, even before you begin thinking about when is best to publish and the different targeting and paid options that exist.
It’s for this reason that it is best to be selective in your use of outlets. Whatever social platform your audience finds your content on, it needs to both provide value to their experience, as well as feel distinctive and compelling enough to make for a substantial impression which lasts more than a few seconds – and which helps you achieve your defined goals.
It should feel like a natural fit, and that depends upon knowing who your audiences are, and being aware where your presence will make sense. Focussing on a select number of platforms, and targeting specific segments within that, means that you can invest more time in providing a considered, high-quality experience. And whatever it is that your target audiences are interested in, that’s the least they deserve.