Lemon8, Bluesky, Read CV, BeReal, Hive, Mastodon, Clubhouse. There are endless new platforms and features popping up every week - some stick around, others don’t - so how do you know which ones to jump on and invest time in, and which not to? In this article, I’m going to give you a framework that will help you figure out which ones to focus on and which ones you can ditch.
When it comes to deciding whether to use a new social media platform, the first port of call is to do a gut check. Off the bat, does it align with your values, your vision, and your vibe?
When Mastodon came around, some artists found it too restrictive. There were a lot of rules on what you can promote, and some of them you couldn't join if you were a small business or wanted to share your work. So it was too restrictive and therefore didn’t align with their vision.
Some people loved Clubhouse, but for others it felt too preachy and didn’t align with their values.
Some people, myself included, find LinkedIn way too corporate. It's just not the right vibe for me or my brand.
So when you’re analysing these new platforms, start here.
Each social media platform operates in a different way, with unique benefits and features that can help you achieve your goals if they’re used well.
There’s no point in spending your time on a platform that’s not going to help you move forward and reach your goals, when you could be spending it on something much more effective. So when a new platform pops up, take a look and see what it could offer and how it might help you achieve your goals, or not.
As independent creatives, chances are, you are the one creating the content for social media, so it’s important that you actually enjoy creating the types of content it calls for.
If you hate creating video more than anything in the entire world, maybe don't start a YouTube channel or TikTok page. Focus more on your writing, visual design, or photography. If you hate writing, don't join Medium or commit to Tweeting 5 times a day or start a newsletter.
If you are trying to force yourself to create content you hate making, then chances are you might fall off and stop posting, and you're going to hate doing it when you do. It's not gonna be a fun time for anybody, and chances are your audience will be able to tell when your heart’s not in it.
Instead, focus on the content types that you do enjoy creating. That's going to help you stay consistent, show up, be excited to create, and enjoy spending time on those platforms because you like creating that content.
Social media is all about attracting and engaging with your ideal audience, and creating a community of raving fans. The goal with your brand is to get in front of the right people in the right places, so it’s vital that your ideal customers are actually spending time on the platforms you’re creating content on.
It's a waste of time spending your time, energy, resources and creativity on a content platform where nobody that you want or need to buy your work is spending time.
So when it comes to a new platform, do some research, listen to the people in your existing audience, and see if your dream people are spending time there. If not, it’s not worth your time. If they are, then you can consider it more seriously.
As I mentioned earlier, as creatives, you’re the one doing the social media content creation. And I’m guessing you’re doing about 101 other things in your business too. So when a new platform pops up, you need to truly think about whether you have the capacity to create content for a new platform.
If you can’t, maybe you have an assistant or social media manager who could take on that responsibility. Otherwise, it might not be feasible to add a new platform to your marketing strategy and its best to stick with the platforms you’re already using.
Something that can impact whether you have the capacity for a new social media platform is whether or not it’s possible to cross-promote or repurpose your content there, and how easy that process is.
Creating a TikTok and reposting that on Instagram or vice-versa is a relatively easy and straightforward process, so adding TikTok or Reels to your strategy isn’t too much more of an ask. Same with reposting a blog post on Medium, or a Twitch stream on YouTube for example. It’s easy to just duplicate the content and make minimal changes to apply it to the new platform.
Whereas if you have to create entirely new content with new processes and systems for a new platform, that has a much bigger impact on your time, resources, and energy.
So thinking about the cross-posting abilities on these platforms will help you decide whether it’s doable or not for you.
Social media is one step in the overall customer journey, from discovering your brand to engaging, purchasing your work, and then staying a loyal customer. Socials can play multiple roles in this process, so any new platforms you add need to have a place in your funnel.
If you have a gap that this new funnel could fit, and it’s a clear journey that makes sense to find people there and send them to your email list or elsewhere in your ecosystem, then great! If not, and you already have a functioning funnel that gets your audience from social media to your products and beyond, then a new platform might just be an unnecessary addition that doesn’t have a place in your marketing strategy.
Last but not least, any new platform you integrate into your marketing strategy needs to be one that you enjoy spending time on. To make the most of a platform or feature, you need to use it to understand how it works, keep on top of trends and strategies, and engage with the audience you’ll build there.
If you really hate that platform, then you’re not going to want to do that! Whereas if you love being on there, checking out the content, and engaging with other users, then you’ll have a much better time building and growing your audience there.
If you’re still stuck deciding whether to use a particular social media platform or feature, I highly recommend writing a pros and cons list.
Doing this will help you figure out whether the pros outweigh the cons, or you're willing to overlook some of the cons because of the benefits of the pros. But if there are too many cons to make it worth it, or they're too strong of a con, then it's not worth you spending your time on.
Regardless of whether you decide to use a platform or not, or you’re still figuring that out, I do recommend that you sign up, create an account, and nab your usernames either way.
Securing both your business and personal usernames will make sure that you have those if you do decide to use the platform in the future, or it becomes the next big thing! Having them locked in can save a lot of annoying hassle in the future.
Then you can apply your branding, write your bio, and leave a link to your other socials, email list, or website so that if someone happens to land on your profile, they still have some way to engage with your brand and continue through the customer journey.
May 3, 2023