When it comes to deciding which social media tools to use, the selection process should be made easier by the guidance inherent in your social media marketing plan and your corporate marketing strategy. Nonetheless, it helps to be rigorous when evaluating alternatives and making choices. So, let’s take a look at five ways you can make smarter social media tool selections:
1. Start with your strategy: as you develop tactics and action plans, take note of what you have to do to accomplish your objectives. Use this as a starting point for identifying the functionality you need. Sketch out a few scenarios, and think about how you’d like the tools to work.
2. Know the universe: you won’t want to evaluate every tool on the market, but you should at least have a decent sense of what’s out there. Do plenty of research and find out best practices of your vendors, and their braggables with each of the tools.
3. Look at more than the tools themselves: what plans do you have in place to drive content? Do you have a Content Blueprint? Do you have a strategy around those tools? Who will run the program, and who will monitor? Remember the free puppy, sometimes is cute and cuddly and very responsive, but other times it is a beast. You don’t want that beast acting up at 3 am! Know your options.
4. Visit the pound: even if you have to pay a bit for trial access, do it. The investment you’ll make in ensuring that a social media solution meets your companies needs is worth it, and the cost of making a bad decision is far higher than the cost of avoiding one. If you can’t try before you buy, buy just enough to try.
5. Consider your users: in addition to thinking about how you’ll use a social media platform, put some brain power into who will be using it. You want to make sure you choose the right tools for both the job and the people doing it. If possible, involve your likely users in the evaluation and testing process.