|Edward M. Yang|
What’s your social media strategy?” It’s a common question that companies will ask agencies. And agencies, wanting to look like they’re up-to-date on the latest digital strategies, will talk about the usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Maybe they’ll mix in TikTok to seem even more trendy.
But assuming this is the correct path without a deeper analysis can lead to two problems. The first is that it can make an agency feel good but without actual results. After all, you’re posting every three days, you have an editorial calendar laid out all neat and tidy. You’re doing what you’re supposed to, right? But take a closer look at the visibility and engagement of your posts. Data shows that both these metrics continue to remain low, shockingly low in some cases. Facebook has, for years, been focusing on nudging businesses to spend on Promoted Posts or Sponsored Posts, at the expense of organic reach. Research shows organic reach at only five percent for Facebook, at best. It’s not uncommon for your month’s-worth of posts to barely reach any followers.
|This article is featured in O'Dwyer's Nov. '21 Technology PR Magazine
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The second problem is that the large social media sites may not be where your key buyers and influencers actually frequent. If so, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to engage people at an authentic level where they’re truly congregating. Here are some places to consider exploring, keeping in mind that the nature of a B2C or B2B business will also dictate the types of platforms your potential customers visit.
Reddit has grown tremendously over the years, with an eye on a large IPO in the near future. Its strength lies in the various engaged community groups, so much so that Reddit is one of the most visited websites in the world. Indeed, it was the Reddit investment community that pushed “meme stock” prices up, demonstrating the collective power of Redditors. There are numerous industry and interest groups in Reddit. But as with most groups, they don’t look kindly upon obvious promoters or spammers. Instead, engage in an authentic and honest manner. AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a popular means of live engagement, which can be hosted by any Reddit community.
Once synonymous with finding answers to questions on the Internet, Quora’s sway has lessened in recent years. There are numerous reasons given, but in summary Quora isn’t as powerful as it once was. That said, there are certainly media relations opportunities on Quora, primarily due to how well it ranks on Google. Quora recently launched a formal partnership program to help amplify the voice of individuals or brands. It’s certainly worth exploring as a way to cultivate a new avenue to interact with communities.
You can be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Discord. Its origins started as a way for gamers to communicate. But like many areas of emerging technology, Discord has grown beyond its gaming roots to now become an effective way for communities and groups to collaborate. One advantage of Discord is that it’s easy to set up and free to use. This makes it naturally attractive to groups. Emerging technology fields such as blockchain, cryptocurrency and others are particularly active on Discord.
Ah Slack, the symbol of the power and pitfalls of corporate communications. Slack is the tool that far-flung remote teams can’t do without. But various Slack channels have also sprung up catering to very specific interest groups or professional groups. It has become a popular way to share information in a free-flowing way and receive quick feedback on queries. The general public usually won’t know about these Groups, likely because they aren’t displayed on Google search results. Rather, members find out about it by word of mouth, which increases the quality of members.
Message boards / forums
The humble forum has an origin that goes way back to the original Bulletin board system (referred to as BBS), which had as one of its features a message board. Today, despite the advances in technology, message boards and forums still thrive. There’s literally a message board for every personal and professional interest you can think of. Many of these boards are moderated by experienced influencers, and it’s still an effective way to engage in depth with people.
Clubhouse debuted with a bang, and coincided with the pandemic shutdown. The novelty of speaking and listening to key influencers was intriguing, and users flocked to the app (aided by a common viral technique of requiring someone to invite you to join). But as quickly as it has risen, Clubhouse has seen its download rate slow dramatically. Still, there’s no debate that it has created a new category of engaging with people through audio conversation, which lends a degree of intimacy that few other formats can match. It’s no surprise that a flurry of copycats has emerged: Twitter Spaces, Facebook Hotline and Live Audio Rooms and Reddit Talk.
As technology evolves, this list will change. New sites, apps or communities will emerge. Think virtual reality, in game communities or the upcoming “metaverse.” Staying on the cusp of new community gatherings will help ensure your clients are reaching people where they truly are.
Edward M. Yang is Managing Partner at Firecracker PR.