​​Why you SHOULDN'T be on social media

You've all been there before - Stakeholder #1 sends out a panicky mass email announcing the top competitor is on Snapchat (or whatever else the cool kids are doing these days) and before you know it your Community Manager is stuck checking on 7 twitter accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn and a plethora of other platforms before they get their strong latte of a morning. But instead of jumping on board and immediately adding a new line to the old passwords_2016.xlxs doc, we need to stop and ask, why? 

Social media for the sake of social media is not only pointless, but a drain on finances and resources.

The days of social media as a free playground for all your digital content have long since passed. Any Community Manager worth their un-collared shirt will be able to show you the direct link between declining reach and increasing spend. In the good old days when everything was rainbows, lollipops and free, it made sense to spread your content across as many platforms as possible, after all, why not? But the year is 2016. Believe it or not, every platform within the social media sphere has a slightly different purpose, audience and alternative fan club user base, and they all cost money.

So, how will you know if a social media channel is worth having?

1. Business Objectives

Smart brands are using their social media to fulfil their business objectives. Whether that's a hankering for more hipsters purchasing overpriced coffee-scrubs, or a need to establish your CEO as the bees' knees of technological thought leadership. Whatever your business is aiming to achieve this quarter, year or decade, your social media guru should be across this.

2. KPIs

Forget likes, comments and shares. Your social media guru should be creating a unique set of KPIs to measure how successful social media is at meeting your businesses' objectives. Whether it's CTR, impressions, or share of voice - measuring the success of your social media channels should never fall back on simply reporting how many followers you have.

3. ROI

Once you know what your business is trying to achieve and how you're going to measure success, then you can narrow down and look at each of your platforms in detail. How does Instagram help you sell your latest line of super-food flavoured water? Can you measure that? Is it worth the 7 hours your designer spends each week making flat lays of your product conveniently pilled in amongst an array of artfully arranged makeup items? If the answer is yes, then how many leads did you drive through Instagram last quarter? And how many do you plan to drive this quarter?

By all means, if this latest channel can show an ROI or a positive impact on brand awareness, go forth and snap, weibo or tweet. But the unfortunate reality is, as digital marketers we all too often cave to lure of reacting to our competitors instead of focusing on own objectives.

Social media is fun, it should be reactive (just look at the New Zealand police force) and it's fast moving, but that can only be true as long as you have a strategic foundation to work from and a Community Manager who isn't on the verge of a nervous breakdown.