There’s no shortage of social media networks out there, and brace yourselves because even more are coming. From Snapchat to Ello to Peach, the choices for connecting to an audience seem boundless. But it’s important to pause and analyze whether the next social network is worth your time, money, and resources. Before signing up and going all in, ask yourself a few key questions.

Is this social network a fit for my brand?

woman on phone at concert stock photo
Supporters recording at concert – Candid image of crowd at rock concert by oneinchpunch

The newest up-and-coming platform might be touted as the next best thing, but that’s not usually the case for everyone. If the platform doesn’t fit your brand, you will find yourself struggling to stay relevant, grow your audience, and pick up traction.

If you’re marketing a product to baby boomers, your content will most likely fall flat on Snapchat, which appeals chiefly to millennials. Kik provides a unique opportunity for one-to-one messaging, but engagement is powered by pre-populated messages that act as automatic responses to various questions or comments. If your social media identity is built on personalized interactions, Kik might not be a great fit. Instagram is a fantastic place to reach an audience with beautiful imagery, but the platform only allows clickable links within paid ads. If your goal is to direct traffic to your website, it might not be the network for you.

If you’re running a business or working on a marketing team, your objectives and brand guidelines are already in place — don’t toss them aside simply to join the next social craze.

Do I have the resources to create valuable content on this social network?

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Side view shot of a woman’s hands using white smart phone with a blank screen while standing at a crosswalk by ImYanis

When marketing on social media, your goal is to maximize the features that make each network unique and to tweak your messaging to best fit said network. This type of original content takes dedicated resources; ask yourself if you have what’s necessary to create content that will resonate on a specific social channel. If you do have the resources, will the required investment be worth it?

Like with any business decision, weigh the cost against the return and determine if the value of the investment is worth it. For example, if you’re itching to join Medium but don’t have the time to ideate, write, and edit blog posts then you should factor in the cost of freelancers and analyze how it fits into your budget.

If you choose to build a new social media account, anticipate spending a portion of your time navigating the learning curve. Determining what works and what doesn’t on a social network will require a significant time investment, and that’s a resource you should plan for.

Will I follow through on this social network?

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ruins of a very heavily polluted industrial factory by TSpider

This is a very simple question that too few marketers ask themselves: Do you see yourself staying committed to the platform? Social media accounts are public and easily searchable. If an account hasn’t been updated in a while, what does that tell the viewer about your business?

Be creative as you share content and engage with your audience; you’re sure to have some ups and downs. All brands are striving for viral success, but even the most popular names on social media have their fair share of misses. Whatever the size of your business, be prepared to constantly tweak your strategy to ensure success in the short-term and long term.

Before you jump onto a new social network, think about the long-term health of your social strategy and ensure that it’s working for you, not against you.

Top image: Close up of female hands using modern smart phone at office by ImYanis