About a month ago I saw an ad on the back of Bloomberg Businessweek that made me stop. The ad was completely bright yellow. In the middle? The familiar ghost that represents the Snapchat logo. There was nothing else. No words. No CTA. Just a ghost.
It was a bold ad, and obviously the placement is meant to send a big message to the business world: Snapchat is here and your business should be using it.
Snapchat isn’t the first social media channel to tell businesses where they need to be next. And it’s no surprise that as Snapchat has grown in popularity, they too want a piece of your marketing budget.
Marketers are always trying to keep up with the latest trends. They want to be the ones to find untapped oil in a new platform that other brands, especially competitors, have yet to reach. They want another place to share their content. They want another place to find customers.
But are these channels where customers want to find you?
Regardless of the channel or the trend, you always have to stop and consider your audience. Don’t only think about where you’re most likely to find them, but whether or not they want to engage with you in that particular space.
Here are some quick considerations to help guide you in whether or not to move your brand to a new channel
1. Why this channel?
Whether it’s social media, email, direct mail, a paid channel such as PPC or remarketing, the first question you should ask is, why does my brand need to be on this channel? And notice, you’re asking “need”, not “want”.
2. How will you measure success?
Each channel you use should have its own metrics for defining success. By defining these from the start, you’ll be better prepared to create both a short-term and long-term strategy for every channel you’re on. You’ll also be able to set realistic expectations for both yourself and any other stakeholders.
3. How regularly will you communicate on this channel?
When new channels or trends arise, it’s up to the early adaptors to help establish best practices for frequency of communication. Start slow and see how your audience responds. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different forms of content or tones. And watch what others are doing on that same channel, particularly those outside of your industry, for inspiration on what your brand could do next.
4. What content will you need?
Whether you’re moving your brand to a new channel, or creating a new strategy for a channel you’re already on, you’re going to need content to support it. Content comes in many forms including videos, images, blogs, articles, etc. Think about the resources you’ll need and add them into your editorial calendar. Don’t have an editorial calendar? Before you even think about starting up on any new channels, create one. It’ll help keep you organized when creating new assets and tracking those you already have. (Here’s a great resource from Content Marketing Institute to get you started.)
Marketers love trying something new. They love to be creative. But don’t let your creative mind push you to a channel your brand has no business being on. Always stop to consider the benefits of following the next big trend and create a strategy that fits your brand both in the short-term and the long-term.
While a platform like Snapchat may be fun the first month you’re using it, if you don’t know how to sustain it 3 months, 6 months, or 9 months down the line, everything you did in that first month will be for nothing.
And sometimes, even with careful planning, you might find that a channel just isn’t right for your brand. In those cases, don’t consider it a total loss. Instead, think about why it wasn’t a right fit and consider what lessons you can take away from the experience to prepare you for other initiatives in the future. No matter what the channel or the outcome, there’s always a lesson to be learned.