Mastodon conundrum for brands

person holding iphone showing social networks folder

Slowly, steadily and through the pure stubbornness of Elon Musk, Mastodon is now a thing. If people are flocking to it every company too will need to make the a presence there sooner or later. If you work in Marketing or in Customer Service you too should be take this service seriously. More on that here.

The Challenge

Mastodon presents an interesting problem which you never had to deal in the context of Social Media. Do you setup your own Mastodon instance (like owning the domain for your website) or do you just sign-up on an existing server?

For example if you’re Nike, you can have [email protected] as your Mastodon ID or a [email protected], or even a [email protected] depending on how you decide on setting up Mastodon servers. On the other hand if you pick up an existing public instance you might end up with [email protected] for example.

In short, we are talking about brand perception here.

Irrespective of your choice you can talk to people across the networks so you don’t lose functionality on the service.

So what questions should you consider before making this decision?

  1. Should a company set up its own instance as opposed to being a tenant in someone else’s instance?
  2. What tooling is available?
  3. Does our existing marketing and customer service apps play nice with Mastodon?

Some of these questions have a straight forward answer, but it all starts with an “it depends”. So let’s talk about each section with caveats.

Should a company setup their Mastodon server?

The answer is an obvious yes from a branding PoV, but you need to consider these questions:

  1. Money to spend on a cloud host. (you probably already spend a lot). This would not be a like finding a host for your website (At least as of now).
  2. Team with the know-how to setup and maintain this.
  3. Will you have a guaranteed budget for the cloud cost and the staff required to maintain it for the next 10 years?

If you answered with a “yes”, to these two questions then it is worth considering the proposal of setting up your own server for Mastodon.

On the other hand, if you are not sure about any of these questions, then set up your presence on an existing server.

What tooling is available?

As a brand you have access to a lot of tools for scheduling and posting content from a marketing and support point of view.

Mastodon is severely lacking on that front, but I think the gap will be bridged in the next two years.

If you decide to adopt it now, you will be restricted to using the default interface and will not have any ready stats or graphs on your performance. Expect the level of data you would receive in 2007 Twitter, but with rate limit built in.

If you’re running your own server, you have the option to still built out some analytics on your own.

Will our existing tools play nice?

No. As I mentioned the service is gaining traction now, but it will be a good two years before it will have good tooling available.

This means you marketing engines and CRMs will not have any out of the box support for it. That said, you can leverage the libraries available and build a connection on your own.

PS: You can follow me on Mastodon at [email protected]

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