Four strategies for keeping up with the latest social media platforms

by Maite Fernandez
Oct 30, 2018 in Social Media

Google+, Pinterest, Reddit. It seems like every other day another trendy social media platform is demanding our attention.

Whether you’re a reporter on a beat or a social media manager in charge of a slew of social media profiles and accounts, chances are you have only a limited amount of time to try out and incorporate new social media platforms into your daily routine.

How do you decide which platforms to try out and which ones to ignore? And what strategy should you choose once you start a new account?

These and other questions were addressed during the panel “Pinterest, Google+, Instagram: Keep up, Keep sane” at the recent Online News Association annual conference in San Francisco.

IJNet attended and had these takeaways:

Set a goal.

When trying out a new platform, it’s important to have an objective in mind. It can be content-related, looking for more referrals, or just trying out a platform for an upcoming big story, said Stephanie Clary, senior editor at Breaking News / NBC News Digital.

Every time the Breaking News team decides to try a new platform, they first set goals, decide which metrics matter and establish a timeline, which allows them to pull the plug on their strategy if things aren’t working as expected, Clary said.

Start early and own it.

When Google+ was launched, Breaking News jumped onto the platform, and reporters started accounts right away. They played around with it, posting pictures of stories they were covering and representing their brand.

Breaking News now has more than 500,000 followers on Google+, its SEO results are improving, and Google+ is the third-largest source of social media referrals to the site.

Clary thinks the reason for this success is twofold: they started building a presence on the platform early, and someone made it a priority to take care of the account. If you don’t have a lot of resources or you’re the lone social media manager, a reporter whose content fits the platform can take it and keep an eye on it, suggested Clary.

Don’t ignore beta invites.

You never know when a new platform may take off and become the next best thing. Even if you don’t think you'll try out the platform right away, Clary said, “When you get those beta invites, just sign up. Claim your name and claim your organization’s name."

A simple way of trying out a new platform is to figure out what it is about and what type of content works on it. You can then test one story you’ve worked on that day and think of ways to share that content in that platform, said Yahoo News’ senior editor Phoebe Connelly.

Identify superusers.

When trying a new social media platform, it’s always useful to identify superusers and learn what they do that works. “Someone is going to be killing it [on each new platform],” said Farai Chideya, professor at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

As sources of inspiration, Chideya recommended following Baratunde Thurston (@baratunde). “He’s indefatigable when it comes to new platforms,” she said.

For inspiration, America’s Test Kitchen Tumblr account and AP photographer Charles Dharapak's Instagram feed were Connelly’s picks, while Clary recommended Red Eye Chicago and H&M's Google+ account.

You can listen to a complete recording of the panel here.

What’s your strategy for keeping up with new forms of social media? What social media accounts do you follow for inspiration?