As a professional marketer, I have to be aware of all the new digital channels that are emerging. I recently wrote about BeReal, the new app that’s growing because of it’s promise of authenticity. And there’s always buzz about social media channels, whether it’s Elon Musk with Twitter or the meteoric rise of TikTok.
I wrote a blog post about TikTok as a marketing channel back in May 2021 and, after watching it’s growth, finally decided it was time to be on TikTok myself. Why? Because it met all the criteria that’s important for testing a new channel:
- My target market is there
- Competition is there and growing in their success
- I have a unique, new message to contribute
- My message will be found (it’s not to crowded or over-saturated yet)
The valuable part of this blog post is the list above. These are some of the criteria I use when I’m deciding, on behalf of a client or for myself, whether or not I should test a new channel.
First, we test
Please note I start out with a test because nothing is guaranteed. As I tell my clients: let’s dip our toes in the water and see if it works out. If not, we’ve not made a huge investment of time or money and we know that we should move on.
If we’re successful, we continue to try new messaging and formats to find the sweet spot. That means being open to trying new things and having the patience to see if they’ll work.
Most importantly, we test different variables. For example, what types of content work? Should we include music or not? What hashtags work best to find our target audience? Etc.
Next, we measure
I tell my clients that if we’re not going to measure our results, there’s no point in trying anything new. And I practice what I preach.
I review the analytics almost daily (yes, I’m that obsessed!) to see what content is resonating. In addition, I look over time to see if my followers are increasing gradually. It’s important to look at both short-term and long-term data, because they measure (and tell you) different learnings.
Finally, we decide to stay – or move on
After we try a few different tactics and see the results over a few months, I decide whether or not to continue on that new channel. Here are some of the criteria I use:
- Are we accumulating more followers, getting more reach, and honing our message? All these are important and each one, on it’s own, can be a game-changer if done well.
- Are we getting better over time? It can take a while to figure out a new channel so I look at this longitudinally. Nothing should be decided within the first three or four months.
- Do we have to be here competitively? Sometimes, new channels aren’t that great when it comes to overall results. But from a competitive perspective, it’s important to “be there” for the brand’s visibility and to be considered a contender among it’s peers.
The question I always get asked
Often, at networking events, or when I’m working with a client, they’ll ask me “if they should be” on a given channel – social media or otherwise. My response is typically a wet blanket for them because my answer is always “it depends.” No one wants to hear that – but that’s the reality.
To decide if one’s brand or company should be in any given channel, it’s critical to go through all the above steps and, if it looks like it might make sense, to test and see. For me, I’ve been on TikTok for just a couple of weeks and already two of my videos have over 250 views, with a total of 315 Likes.
Those results are enough to keep going for the necessary three to four months, honing in on the content that people like, and seeing how it goes. Let me know what you think about this and whether or not you’re ready to explore new areas for your brand!