Beginner Guide

5 questions to ask before starting a new social media account

I’ve had a lot of conversations with social media managers about strategies and best practices for the social platforms they’re working on. But I often feel that the conversation should have started earlier. The missing conversation is whether they should start a new social media account first.

When starting a new social media channel, hitting “Create Account” shouldn’t be the first thing. This should be the last. Here are five questions you should ask yourself when considering a new platform.

1. Are you creating an account because it’s the “shiny new thing” or can this platform help support your mission and goals?

Often a new social media account is started because a manager or an executive asks the question, “Why aren’t we on this kind of platform?” Or maybe there’s just a general enthusiasm to jump right into the newly emerging platform. But instead of being intentional about it, the account is opened with a little thought. Once the channel is done, then what? It’s not ideal to just stick to it on a new social media platform.

If you know what your mission and goals are, evaluate whether the new platform can help you achieve those goals. If your goal is to provide a private digital space for an internal community, Twitter or Instagram may not be the best fit.

2. Do you have the resources?

This includes not only the right kind of content, but a steady stream of it along with the right tools to create content.

For example, let’s say you have decided to start a TikTok account. TikTok is not just another platform on which you can share your existing content. The content creation process is completely different from Twitter or Facebook, and the learning curve is steep in my opinion. Do you have the right people to create content for the new platform and how regularly can you post content to it? If you don’t currently have the right resources, how much effort are you willing to invest in doing it right?

Millions of posts are shared on social media every second. Posting what you have available, no matter what platform it is designed for, is not going to reduce the noise.

If you want to start an Instagram, but don’t have access to a photographer or a library of original photos, your starting point is not to think about strategy. Your starting point is to figure out where you are going to source the images. And Instagram may not be a viable option at the moment if you don’t have an immediate solution.

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A post shared by MIT (@mitpics) on

For us at MIT, we realized we had the staff and content to regularly post to Instagram feeds and Stories, but lack the assets to support the reels. We decided to leave the reels as long as we felt it was an essential tool to support our social strategy and had secured the necessary resources from our organization to do it at the level required.

3. Is your audience on this platform?

It is necessary to do a little research about the platform beforehand. What is the primary age demographic of users on the platform? Do you want to reach the audience there too? For example, if you’re trying to reach the Chinese market, Twitter or Facebook won’t work. It would be better if you start an account in WeChat or Weibo.

See if your peers and competitors are on stage at the moment. If they are and their content is not getting any engagement or if they have very few followers, it may indicate that your audience is not active in that space. The quality of their content may be a factor, but if the industry isn’t on the platform in general—or gaining a lot of traction on it—it’s telling.

4. What will be your content management process?

Gone are the days when we used to throw something on our social media channels. The manufacturing process and management of each platform has become much more sophisticated and specialized. It is good to know the steps of how to write the formed ideas, positions and who needs to approve them. You can always make adjustments along the way but it’s good to have a plan before you start.

5. How will you track your progress?

It is helpful to identify what you want to measure before you begin. Again, it’s okay to change your mind or make adjustments along the way. But if you commit to seeing one or two metrics on a regular basis, it shows that you care about whether your work is resonating with your audience.

Posting content just for the sake of posting content is what I call “box-checking social media”. I see people doing this all the time. They keep posting the same content that never seems to have any engagement—likely people scrolling right past it. It’s as if the person is crossing something off their to-do list and is not at all interested whether or not the content has been seen. I always think, “What’s the matter?”

At MIT, we started a Snapchat account back in 2016 backed by a strategy of student “takeover” (my favorite word was “host”). It was a proven strategy that worked for our Department of Student Life (DSL), so we thought if it worked for them, it would definitely work for an institution-level account.

The main metric we focused on was followers. However, after being on the platform for several years our follower growth slowed down and our followers total was not where we expected it to be. We learned that although this was an effective strategy for DSL, it did not work for us. If our viewers can find this content on a DSL account, why would they want to follow us? That’s why we stopped posting on Snapchat. Nobody really remembered it.

keep it simple. If you’re trying to grow your audience or you’re just experimenting with content types, engagement is a great place to start. Set goals to see how you are progressing. If your best-performing post of the month got five likes, double down on what you think made it a success and see if you can get six or seven likes next month. Keep experimenting and if it doesn’t seem to be gaining any traction, reevaluate or consider stopping altogether.

Before You Hit “Create Account”

It is important to have a clear goal, the right resources and a management process before starting a new social media channel. Identify the metrics you want to track in advance so you can measure your progress and make adjustments along the way. If any of these factors are in question before you hit “Create Account,” take it as a clear sign that now’s not the time to expand—realizing it early can be a win in itself. Is.

Looking for more guidance for your brand’s network strategy? Check out this framework to determine which social media channels are a good fit for your business.

5 Questions to Ask Before Starting a New Social Media Account first appeared on Sprout Social.

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