Choosing the right platform

Module day 1 at KD Mlejn (Photo: Filip Staněk)

When you are planning to promote your work in digital channels, especially social media, it’s important to understand the differences between platforms. The audience profiles of different platforms vary greatly, and also their functions are different: the type of content that works well in one platform might not work at all in others, or it might need a lot of editing to be usable.

For example, Youtube and Vimeo are both platforms to which users upload their own video content. On the surface they seem similar, but deeper down they are actually somewhat different. From a content creator’s point of view, Vimeo is aimed at a more professional audience, whereas Youtube is the more “popular” platform – meaning that it reaches not only a wider audience, but a more varied and possibly unfocused one. Vimeo offers a “cleaner” experience to creators and their audience, since it doesn’t have advertising, but the price of this is that only the most basic features are available to creators without paying a monthly fee, and there are limits on bandwidth, storage space and so on.

On the other hand, Youtube is a free platform for creators as its revenue comes from ads displayed before or during the videos, and it is the audience, not the content creator, that pays for extra features such as ad-free content. This also means that if you have a large enough audience, monetizing Youtube content is easy since Google funnels a part of their ad revenue to creators, depending on the number of impressions they get from ads shown alongside your content. Monetizing Vimeo content is also possible, but it is more akin to selling tickets to a show by putting videos behind a paywall.

Decisions, decisions

So how to decide which one of the platforms in this example would be suitable for you? If you know your audience consists mostly of industry professionals, you want to give them a good, ad-free viewing experience and are ready to pay a monthly fee for that, you might consider using Vimeo. But if you want a free platform with a more limited set of features but potentially a very large audience, Youtube might be the better option.

What if you aren’t sure if a certain platform is the right one for your content? Here are some tips!

  • Familiarize yourself with the content already on the platform. What kind of content is popular?
  • Are people in your field of work on the platform? What kind of content are they producing?
  • Are you already creating content (videos, photos, etc.) that would work on the platform?
  • Do you know if your current audience is already on a certain platform? Or do you want to reach new audiences who might not have heard of your work on new platforms?
  • If you’re not sure on which platform your potential audience is, test it! Try posting content on different platforms and see which has the best reach.

Lifespan of your content

Also consider how the different platforms are intended to be used. For Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc. the idea is for users to log in frequently, usually many times a day, to check their feed for new content. You scroll through the feed, see something interesting, maybe like it and then move on. Often the algorithm works so that you won’t see the same content when you next time open the app (unless there’s nothing new to show you, which usually isn’t the case). So basically you’ll need to engage the same users over and over again with new content.

The situation is a bit different on platforms such as Youtube or Vimeo, which don’t offer the content to the user in the form of a scrolling feed, but rather through a search that the user initiates. Certainly there are suggestions on what to watch next, which are based on the content the user has watched previously, but this isn’t the primary method of finding content on these platforms.

What this means is that the lifespan of content on Youtube and other search-based platforms is much, much longer than on feed-based platforms. A Facebook or Instagram post that’s more than a couple of days old probably doesn’t come up on anyone’s feed unless it’s a paid promotion, but a search will find your Youtube videos regardless of whether they’ve been posted two days or ten years ago.

Further reading

There are quite a lot of articles on the internet on this topic, and even though most of them are written from a rather strict business viewpoint, many of the principles are sound and can be applied to a performing artist’s social media presence as well. Here are a couple to get you started, but as with all things internet, these might already be a bit outdated when you read them.

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

Which Social Media Platforms are Right for Your Business

Top Tips for Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business