What Happens When the ‘Hot’ Social Network Turns ‘Cold’?
We have all been there. What seemed like a trend two months ago is dying down already. This is a common occurrence with clothing, food, technology and in the world of social media. Think about how social media has transformed since it was first introduced. First there were Xanga and Myspace, then we were introduced to Facebook and Twitter followed by the likes of Instagram and Pinterest. So what happens when your favorite network for connecting is replaced by a new and improved platform?
I come from a background of public relations, and part of the PR wheel is about reinvention, because no one person or thing stays at the top forever. Social media is having one of those moments right now. Years ago, social media started as a buzzword. It was introduced as a way to connect and share life experiences with friends, family and acquaintances. Over time, it spiraled into something bigger than ever imagined and was soon embraced as a marketing platform for brands of all kinds.
So, if you are a business and want to reach consumers through social media, what happens when your go-to platform dies off? It is easy to capture customers on social media in the beginning. You sign up for a profile, upload pictures and promote content through brief blurbs of text. This is the time when likes, follows and shares pour in as your brand goes viral. You are reaching more consumers than imagined, and your brand is continuing to grow. Your social media site may stay like this for a few months, but then, all of the sudden, you plateau. The likes and shares start to wear off, and those who were once engaged by the content on your Facebook or Twitter page are dropping off. Suddenly, your posts are not reaching as many individuals as they used to, and there are no new fans/followers in site.
How do you cope? Leave the page as is and hope that new fans find you and stay engaged? Deactivate the page because it no longer serves as a helpful resource? This is a difficult question to answer in a world where time is money and making the right branding decision is crucial for your business and bottom line
In my opinion, it is important not to abandon all hope. While this may serve as a time for your brand to reevaluate the current tools being utilized and discard those that are not benefitting your business, it is important not to give up completely. Time and consistency are what build great brands, so offering your customers both of these will reward your business with success.
Marketing is a competitive industry. There is always going to be someone or something in line as the ‘next big thing’, and social media is no different. Ten years from now we will be talking about tools that have not yet been discovered, and the networks that are valid today will not be known by our future generations.
To stay on top of what is ‘cool’ for your brand, I recommend monitoring the market. Read news about what is happening in the world of social media. Has your favorite platform altered features or been purchased by another organization? If this is the case, then it may be time to reconsider your strategy with this particular tool if it does not fit with the mission of your brand. If this tool still fits with the mission of your brand, then wait before making any major decisions.
When your favorite brand begins to cool off it is time to perform some PR and have a reinvention of your own. Take the time to clear content and accounts that no longer benefit your company and put your time and energy to good use. Encourage loyal Facebook fans to become engaged as followers on your Twitter account if this is the best decision for your business. Leverage your connections and convert them into new social relationships. At the end of the day, social networking and social media platforms will continue to transform the way we connect, but the way your brand is positioned on social media will stay the same.