To Follow or Not to Follow

If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?

Raise your hand if you've heard that line at least 100 times. People, and companies, often make choices because they think all the "cool" companies are doing it, without putting much thought into why they're doing it. Before you jump on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, AND Pinterest, just because someone said you should, we want you to stop and ask yourself one question:

WHY?

As you're considering how you can reach your customers and share your brand with the world, do you know why you're choosing Twitter over Instagram? Never do something just because everyone else seems to be doing it. Your strategy needs purpose. You should be able to answer us when we ask why you're on a certain social media channel or why you're blogging about a certain subject.

As you sit down to map out your strategy, consider the following:

Where do your peeps already hang out?

Check out these stats to understand some basic demographics across different channels. Are you trying to connect to an older (65+) demographic? You should probably focus more on Facebook, and less on Twitter or Instagram. How about younger women who like to shop online? Try Pinterest. When building your strategy, spend some time researching where your audience already exists, and start actually using the channels yourself so you start to understand the subtleties. 

Who do they want to be?

Companies succeed when they go beyond simply posting an occasional article on Facebook, and really understand what their audience wants. For example, think about GoPro and their use of Instagram. GoPro has more Instagram followers than Twitter followers or Facebook likes. They post a photo of the day from their users and encourage their audience to share videos with them to be featured. It's not just a hard sell, or non-stop photos of a Go-Pro camera; instead, they're showing what kinds of cool, creative, and adventurous people are GoPro users. The message here isn't necessarily "Buy a GoPro!" It's "Use a GoPro to be more cool, creative, and adventurous." And Instagram users tend to want that!

Test, measure, rinse, repeat

Don't be afraid to try things out. Have a catchy hashtag you want to try? Go for it. Do you think your audience will respond best to witty quotes? Try that out, too. Just make sure you track what is successful and what isn't, and then modify your strategy based on the results. You'll never know what works until you try it, and you'll never know what's NOT working until you measure it.

If you take nothing else from today's email, take this: Asking "why" is a popular and time-tested tactic for problem-solving and in Lean Start-Up methodology for good reason. Not sure where to start? Try out the 5 Whys Process to get in the right mindset.