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How to Determine What Social Media Functions to Offer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pinterest. Flickr. Facebook. Twitter. Foursquare. The list goes on and on and on and it can be tough to figure out which of these functions you want to offer with your app or service. The old way of thinking — the more the merrier — is outmoded and, well, old, like I said. The Internet’s “wow factor” hasn’t exactly worn off, but just offering a ton of different options doesn’t mean you’re cutting edge or even bleeding edge. It doesn’t even make you look edgy. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing, or at least aren’t plugged into what’s going on in technology.

    Not that you have to be a web wizard to do anything with online functionality, but you should be listening to your customers and integrating their feedback into what you do and offer when it comes to these (and probably most) functions. There’s another conflicting school of thought here, which is that audiences don’t know what they want until you give it to them, but, here, right now, this is at least one instance where, yes, they do know exactly what they want.

    According to Jacob Young of Young Social Media, here are six pointers to keep in mind when feeling this out:

    1. The most important question to ask is, " Will it make it easier for you to communicate to your customers?” And even more importantly, “Will it make it easier for your customers to communicate with each other?”
    2. Will the social function propel the brand forward or backwards?
    3. Is it something that the customers already know how to use and more importantly are they using it currently? It does you no good to invest in something that no one is using — no need to create a Myspace page.
    4. Has the provider conducted the appropriate test and beta testing phases of their widget?
    5. For whatever you choose, you must know why its important to the customer.
    6. You must be clear about what you are getting out of it.

    As far as figuring out what they want? Cate Conroy, the director of marketing for AKTA Web Studio, says you should just ask them.

    “Grab a group of your 10 clients or users that embody your ideal client and ask them a few questions about how they currently connect with similar types of organizations and what they would love to see in the future,” explains Conroy. “Most people
    are more than happy to tell you what they do and don't want.”

    David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.