Choosing a social media platform is definitely a daunting task. With so many options out there, how do you pick the one that’s just perfect for your business needs? In this post, I hope to give a few pointers that can help you make the right choice.

First, find out what your organization expects to achieve through a social media engagement. Are you looking to improve brand visibility? Or are you looking to position your organization differently? Or are you looking to study consumer behavior or build brand loyalty? Once you’ve answered this question, pick a social media platform that best fits your needs. Often, platforms focus too much on the consumer and don’t do enough to meet the organization’s needs. So, pick a platform that addresses your objectives and also offers greater flexibility in drawing relevance to your brand.

Next, opt for an integrated, enterprise-class platform. Remember, platforms that work in isolation can never help further your business interests. True, your social media platform must be feature-rich, functionality-loaded with re-engagement capabilities and multimedia interaction. But above all, it must integrate seamlessly with your organization’s IT eco-system. Or else your social media engagement could become a stand-off affair and a waste of time, effort and money. Choose a platform that integrates different stakeholders such as consumers, partners and so on. This way, issues are proactively handled and the information flow is flawless. Your enterprise-class platform must seamlessly encompass all major aspects of your business to be truly successful.

Then, look for adaptability and upgradation. The social media scene is evolving daily. Consumers are embracing new technology and newer products. It’s important to choose a platform that can keep pace with changing times. You can’t risk investing in one that is archaic in six months. Further, your organization’s social media needs are just as fluid. So it makes perfect business sense to choose an end-to-end platform that is scalable and can adapt to your changing business needs.

Very importantly, pick the right platform service partner. It’s very important to choose a stable service provider that is financially sound with strong technology. Choose a service provider with a solid eco-system and business model that can withstand unexpected shocks. Your social media strategy is not a one-off thing. So, opt for a provider that can go the extra mile and is willing to stand with you through the long haul. Always go for a provider with good consulting capabilities who can devise effective adopting strategies, which in turn, can drive traffic to your social media forum. Mobility, strong analytics (both internal and external) and a wide gamut of add-on knowledge-driven applications can really enhance the social media experience for your consumers. Choose a provider who offers all these and then some more.

Finally, choosing a platform which has pre-implemented business ready applications that match your industry operations is very essential. Such applications would have processes unique to your business and allowing you to deliver focused offerings to your consumers. This will enable you to jumpstart your business initiatives and gain edge over competition.  Consumer Marketing, Customer care, Social Commerce on the consumer engagement side and knowledge management, policy management, employee onboarding, employee networking and profile manager on the enterprise collaboration side are some of the business ready applications you might want to consider before making a decision.

While choosing a social media platform service provider, look for reliability performance, security, operational capabilities, strong hosting abilities, compatibility with existing IT infrastructure and value-based pricing. Opt for a pre-built, business-ready application that is ready to perform from the word go.

Source: Forbes

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