If you’re thinking about launching a new social media platform, you’re probably equal parts excited and intimidated. With all the new, fun platforms out there (Pinterest! Vine! Instagram!), it’s easy—especially for us content geeks—to daydream about the communities we could build and content we could create on them.
But, because you’re human, it’s just as easy to take a look at the social media landscape and feel like it’s too noisy, it moves too quickly, platforms are adding functionalities faster than you can refresh your Twitter feed, and maybe you should skip this current trend and just stick with what you know.
Like anything else, you’ll probably know when your current platforms are in a great place and you have the content and resources to create another. But if you need an extra push to go for it, here are four signs you’re ready to take the leap.
1. You Have a Sizeable Following on Your Current Platforms
I know, I know, what the heck is sizeable? For some, likely smaller brands, you could be psyched to hit 1,000 followers. For others, 5,000 will feel like a great, comfortable milestone. And for the big brands, you might not feel ready to switch your attention until you hit 20,000.
Look at your current followings. Are you thinking, crap, I really need to get these numbers up? Or are you thinking that they’re looking pretty awesome? If you’re in the second bucket, it’s a good indication that you’re ready to bring all that how-to-create-a-community know-how to another platform.
Still not sure? Check out your competitors. What platforms are they on, and what do their numbers look like? Use that as a guide.
2. You Practice Best Practices
No matter what social media platform you’re thinking about launching, there are fundamental best practices that span across each—posting compelling content that your audience cares about, posting regularly, posting content that is native to the platform, engaging with your community consistently, and not posting anything that feels overly promotional.
Take a close (and honest!) look at your current platforms: Are you doing this? If the answer is no, focus on incorporating the basics into your current platforms before you do anything else. If the answer is yes, great! It means you’ve got the framework down. Now: How can you implement those best practices on your next platform?
3. You’re Hitting Your Success Metrics
In addition to tracking your follower count, there are additional metrics of success that you’re likely tracking across your platforms. Think: How are your platforms leading people to your website? How often are people commenting, sharing, and liking your content? How many industry influencers are following and engaging with your brand?
If your monthly tracking charts are going up, up, up, it means you have a great social media strategy in place. It also means that the hard part is over: You’ve found a successful rhythm that works for that platform. Now, you can focus some of your energy on starting that hard part all over again, just somewhere else.
4. You Have Resources
When you were launching your Twitter and Facebook communities, how much of your day was devoted to creating content, engaging with your community, and staying on top of the newest functionalities and resources? Think about doing that again. Do you have the bandwidth for it? Does someone on your team? If not, do you have the money to hire someone who can help?
Needless to say, it’s more important to have one or two platforms full of compelling content and quality engagement than it is to have five or six platforms just for the sake of having them.
One important exception: If a social media platform emerges that is perfect for your brand, you should go for it regardless of, well, anything. What’s perfect? The community on the platform is your target audience, the content you’re creating fits seamlessly into the content that’s being shared, and your competitors are jumping all over it. For example, if you’re a photographer who has a Twitter and Facebook page but (somehow) doesn’t have Instagram? Run to the closest computer and sign yourself up.