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In this week’s episode, Katie and Chris discuss what it takes to get started on a new social networking platform. Interested in Tiktok? Want to up your YouTube game? Listen in for their tips on how to get started, from trialing the platform to audience analytics to qualitative research in order to make the most of the time you have. Missed our Social Networks 2020 paper? Get it here.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn
In this week’s In-Ear Insights on the heels of our social networks, 2020 paper, which you have, if you haven’t gotten it, go to Trust insights.ai and get your copy now, we did an event in New York City recently with our colleagues at talk Walker about the findings of the paper. And some of the follow up questions from that event, were very straightforward questions like, okay, I hear you on discord, or Slack, or Tick Tock or this or that. What do I do? Like, what, what is the thing I should do? And so what we’re talking about today is, what are the steps that you need to do in order to understand a new network, because we all know, there’s going to be a lot more of these as the media space fragments. And we also know, based on the research and the Price Waterhouse, Coopers survey of CEOs, we’re not going to have unlimited amounts of time and budget and personnel to chase down every rabbit hole. So we need to be able to assess a network quickly decide, is this for us or not? So let’s talk through the steps today of what it takes to learn a new social network. And I think probably the number one thing that if we’re talking about being efficient with our time and see if you agree with me on this, Katie is is our audience, even there?

Katie Robbert
Yeah, um, that’s exactly why you would be exploring any new platform or social network, I mean, first things first, create an account, sign up for the network, if you don’t already have an account, just so you can sort of see, you know, what’s going on inside of it. I mean, I’ll be honest, I don’t have a tick tock, or a discord or a, you know, I mean, you listed a bunch of other things. I don’t have accounts for those apps. But I also know, fairly confidently through, you know, my own auxiliary research that that’s not where my audience is. And so, you know, your question of, well, where is the audience, so, sign up for an account, take a look at it. But, you know, there are a lot of articles written about these new social media platforms, but also the social media platforms themselves tend to have a lot of their own research information, or just general information, you know, start there, if you haven’t started there, then that’s where you’d want to begin your investigation into whether or not this is where my audience lives. A lot of times, these companies, when they’re creating these social media platforms will sort of, you know, self categorize themselves. Like, it’s the number one gaming, you know, social media platform, or it’s the number one platform for, you know, developers. So that right, there should be a clue for you. So if you make, you know, fuzzy pink sweaters, you probably don’t need to be on the developer platform. You never know. I mean, and I’m not saying don’t, it’s not a fit, but sort of, you know, proceed with caution.

Christopher Penn
It occurs to me to that, uh, one thing that not enough marketers do and when we talked to this, talk about this with various attendees is just go out and ask people like, you have the oldest social network in the world in your pocket, right, which is your email list? What was the last time you ran just a simple survey to the people who you already know, asking them? Hey, where do you spend your time online? I’m constantly amazed how few companies ask that question and just hit leave an open ended? Like, yeah, if you’re lyst, assuming I have one says, Oh, I spent all my time, you know, arguing angrily on Facebook? Well, that’s where they are.

Katie Robbert
And, you know, that’s really I think that’s a good point. Um, you know, we were working with a client recently that were they were trying to figure out, you know, are the people who follow our social profiles the right audience, you know, and we also have this email list of a few hundred thousand people who are the right audience, but we don’t know if they’re on social media. And you’re absolutely right. Like, why didn’t they just ask? Yeah, you know, and so I think that that’s a really great place to start is with your audience, your built in email list, ask them what social media networks do you use. And you may be surprised the results who may not it depends on you know who your audience is. But, you know, there is nothing beats literally just signing up for an account, you can always delete it later, and just sort of checking out the platform for yourself. Now, on the side of data and analytics, you may need to sign up for a business account in order to get that information. But you know, you can keep it real. Public, you know, but there should be for any good social media platform, there should be some developer documentation, sort of in the you know, about us, or the frequently asked questions that tells you, you know, do we have an API? Can you export the data, here’s the kind of data that you can export.

Christopher Penn
Yep. When it comes to serving another option that I think people forget about is, if you have a website, you can run a survey on your website, and doesn’t just have to be like, Hey, you know, does our site work or suck? With Google surveys? For example, for a penny per response, you can run a custom survey to anybody who comes and visits your site, and it pops up in the lower right hand corner, it’s got a question you asked. So if you want to know the answer to that question, and you don’t have a great email list, but you’ve got a good website with lots of traffic, simple and straightforward, run a survey pop up on there, and see what people answer for the people who are visiting your site, especially if there are pages where, you know, it’s your people. So again, Katie, to your point, we have one client that is a large membership organism, it would be trivial for them to run a survey in the members area only and not have it be available to the general public saying, Hey, where do you spend your time online? If you want to make it super low cognitive load on people make it a multiple choice question, you know, which of these social networks do you use at least once a day? And if the answer is never the, you know, a network like, tick tock, for example, then, you know, yes, explore it and set it up just for your own learning and growth, professional development, but maybe don’t set up a company account there.

Katie Robbert
Well, so that’s an interesting question that I was going to bring up is in in a question like this, you know, you sort of have talked about a couple of different kinds of survey questions. One is, where do you spend your time online? Which from my perspective, is different from which social media platforms do you use? And then if you’re asking, do you leave it open ended? Or do you give them a multiple choice drop down now, if I personally would probably leave it open? Because I don’t feel confident that I would capture every social media platform that’s out there, or that I have the same idea of what a social media platform is, compared to my audience, you know, so we’ve talked about communities such as slack and discord, and people will raise an eyebrow and say, well, that’s not a social media platform. That’s a productivity tool.

Christopher Penn
Absolutely. No, you’re right. And maybe boxing it just to give people some context, like, what are the three social platforms or whatever that you spend the most time on each day, there’s there are to your point of many, many different ways to slice that onion, and find all these different answers. The other thing that again, falls in the bucket of ask people is if you don’t already do, spend 30 minutes on the phone with your best customers, once a quarter, you should be doing this anyway. But spend 30 minutes on the phone with your best customers once a quarter is asking them? Where do you spend your time? You know, what frustrations Are you had? Where do you go for advice? What courses or things are you taking? What are the topics you wish you had more time to learn about? You will get a treasure trove of information. And this is where you can ask us questions like where do you spend time on social media? When you use Facebook? What do you use it for? If you find out for example, I’m just on Facebook to look at, you know, pictures of the grandkids? Well, okay, that’s probably not a place them that you want to spend a whole lot of time thinking about doing business. Ask them how to use LinkedIn, is it just a resume site for you? Or do you participate in the different groups, there’s a lot that you can get qualitatively from a focus group that you can then turn into quantitative stuff for surveys. What’s really what’s been your experience running focus groups, you’ve done focus groups and panels and stuff professionally, in literally life, death matters.

Katie Robbert
This Yeah, thank thank goodness, I don’t do that anymore. That was very stressful. Um, you know, I think that there’s this notion that you have to be a professionally trained, you know, interviewer or researcher in order to run a focus group, it helps, but it’s not necessary, especially when we’re talking about things like social media platforms. You know, it’s not a clinical trial, it’s not a pharmaceutical trial. It’s a social media platform. So if you wanted to, you know, put together a coffee, you know, morning happy hour with some of your best customers who are local, or, you know, some prospects, whoever, that would be a great way to get people together and just sort of like, casually start asking them like, Oh, you know, so we’re thinking about our social media strategy for next year? What kinds of social media platforms? Do you expect a business like ours to be on? Or how do you use social media and, you know, it’s, it’s sort of does two things. One, it gets you the information you’re after about social, but to it gives you an opportunity to connect with people who may become long term customers and start to build those relationships, because ultimately, a social media platform is a relationship building mechanism. And so why not sort of do that in person, and then they can start to really trust you. When you have keyboards and computers between you.

Christopher Penn
If you already have a community to you should be doing this within your community. So one of the things you did this morning in our slack group was asked people kind of what, what they do for their their end of quarter reporting, which by the way, if you want to hear more about end of quarter reporting, go, we’ll put a link in the show notes, we did a episode back in July on what to do, and of course, but it’s one of those things like if you’ve got the community in some fashion or form, there’s no substitute for asking them no matter. And I say this with, with, with all love and adoration for all the data science and machine learning tools I have at my disposal, there is still no substitute for asking people because you will not get the nuance, you will not get the insights. And you will not be able to ask people the most important question of all, which is why why do you do something? Why do you use Facebook Like this? Why do you spend your time here? No amount of data gathering, that is not asking somebody to get you there? So we’ve gone through, we figured out okay, there’s this thing we signed up for the account. One of the worst things I’ve seen most marketers do with us a new social network is immediately jump in and start just spewing marketing, where when you go to learn a new environment, when you go to a new event or anything, what are your steps? How do you set out your mental plan of how I’m going to integrate into this community in a appropriate way?

Katie Robbert
Well, you know, even if you can even sort of think about sort of like the core social media networks that people typically tend to think of your Facebook’s your Twitter’s Instagram’s, LinkedIn, those four networks alone are vastly different in the way that people use them, and why they’re on there, and the audiences that are there. So when you start to think through all of the other, you know, literally hundreds of other, you know, niche social media networks, you can’t just sort of drag and drop and say, Well, I do this on Facebook. Now I’m going to do this on Tick tock, or I do this on LinkedIn. Now I’m going to do this on Instagram, it’s not a one to one. And so if I’m thinking about, okay, we need to enter a new market in terms of, you know, via social media, you know, what’s my goal? What am I trying to achieve? Is this something that I want to, you know, reach a new audience? Do I want awareness? Do I want to try to get them to convert and buy something? You know, what do I have to offer them? And what kind of information Am I looking get from that audience? You know, so it really, you know, once again, broken record comes down to having a plan, having a goal, writing down some requirements. And it doesn’t have to be an elaborate process, it can be literally 30 minutes of brainstorming of, you know, why does Trust Insights need to be on Tick Tock? You know, what, what’s the goal of us having a TED talk account that would build up a certain number of followers, you know, what kind of audiences there so if, you know, and I may be speaking out of turn, but maybe the audience on TED Talk is mostly teenagers? What are we trying to accomplish by reaching teenagers? Who can’t necessarily buy anything from us? Are we looking to build, you know, relationships with people who might be future employees or interns or developers, you know, you need to think about why you are on that particular social media account. Instagram for a company like ours is a bit of a funny thing. Because, yes, we can put up data visualization. Because graphically, they’re very nice to look at. But we use Instagram when we travel to events so that people can see, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s where we are, if you want to follow us, follow us here. But we don’t do the same things on Twitter, we don’t do the same things on LinkedIn. So it’s really, it all comes back to what is your goal of this particular social media. And, you know, you may find that it’s going to change and evolve over time. So goals aren’t something to be static, you need to continually revisit them. But you know, if I’m looking at something new, I need to know why.

Christopher Penn
The other thing that again, nobody really does and they really should, is this concept called Digital ethnography, which I learned about a number of years ago and even created a framework for it. It was from anthropology. But it’s a really important thing to think about when when you’re looking at these social networks, and how people are using them. So that includes where do you use Instagram, with real simple example, where you use Instagram is very different from where you use YouTube. behaviorally, someone is when you sit down to watch something on YouTube, I watch my own kid do this, you know, they have they watch YouTube on their phone, which is interesting, because you would think you would watch on your laptop with a bigger screen, but now they watch it on their phone. And they are always stationary, when they when they do because they’re giving it their full attention. As opposed to Instagram where you’re kind of on the ghost, you know, thumbing through the feed or tapping through the stories as quickly as possible. And there’s always that one person is like, I got like 48 inches in their story like swipe right? I’ve gotta watch that person stuff. And the behaviors different, right? The human at the end is doing something different. So to your point, you can’t just throw the same thing everywhere, because it’s not what that person is doing. So think about these things. There’s seven things to think about what the social network from a user’s perspective, from your customers perspective, the time when are the people doing it? events? What are they doing? actions? What steps do they take with those things? The conversations, what are people saying? And this is where tools like machine learning and data mining, text mindset coming really handy. The users? Who are those people, that the places where in space? Are they doing these things? and stuff? What things? What artifacts do people have, either to or from this thing? So simple example, when you take a photo and post it on Instagram, you still have unless you change your settings off the default, you still have a copy of that photo? What happens to that stuff? Where does it go? Does it go to your Google Photos account? Does it get lost in the ether? So from a user perspective, there’s all these things you need to understand about the user behavior, then, Katie, to your point, how do those things match up to your company’s goals, if they if there’s no match, then that’s probably not the network for you. But if you don’t have that framework of this is how people interact with this network. And we want to be there because we think our audiences there, you may do something as totally tone deaf.

Katie Robbert
I hundred percent agree with that. And when you’re thinking about the social networks, I would even take it a step further. And this is something you should be doing when evaluating it. But really, you know, the functionality. So if the expectation of your audience is they’re going to interact with something, you need to understand how that social media platform even works. Instagram’s a really great example, you can put a link in your comments or in the you know, under the picture, it’s not a hyperlink, nothing’s going to happen, they can’t click on it. So you, you often see people saying go to the link in my bio, so you need to be prepared. Get your bio every single time you’re posting, if you want somebody to take that step, and then the expectation is, they’re going to read this thing, and then move away from their scroll of puppies and kittens and food and, you know, lovely luxurious places to actually go to your bio, click on a link and go out of the platform. So things that you need to be thinking about,

Christopher Penn
even even that the language there you that you just use is something that marketers don’t think about, right? You, you and I because we’re older, like I have a lot of gray hair often will say the word click, right. Because we grew up with mice, my child’s generation will say tap or touch because they grew up in the smartphone generation where this is it’s a totally different behavior. So just from an anthropology perspective, even thinking about the language using this something I would say that if you’re a marketer, you should be a B testing, change the language and your posts and see does saying if your Google Analytics says like, you know, 50% of your audience is on a mobile device, does the word tap or touch change people’s behaviors versus click, you know, and some people use hit the hit the link in my bio or whatever. You’ve got a lot to test. But it all starts with thinking about people and what those people want. So to wrap up today, investigating a new social network, set up an account, learn the functionality, learn the tools first, like if you’re trying to make a soup and you’ve got all you got to frying pan, you’re not making a very good soup. Study the goals and objectives that you have, make sure you have a real plan and study of daylights out of your audience to figure out what why when, where, who and how. As always, if you want help with some of this stuff, especially on crunching the data, please let us know you can find us over at Trust insights.ai. There you’ll also find our slack community our email newsletter, please do subscribe to those. We’ll talk to you next time. Take care


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