social media platform question
January 15, 2021 10:48 AM   Subscribe

I had an idea for a project, but I'm not sure what platform would work best as its home.

The project is going to be a bunch of short videos with commentary. If the platform I eventually choose also supports photos or GIFs, I'd probably take advantage of that, but it's not a requirement. Ideally one post per day, but more likely 2-3 a week. The videos could be as short as ten seconds; most will probably be in the 30-60 second range, and I could see doing a handful of "compilation" videos that run a little longer. The commentary is going to be me explaining what's happening in the video, usually around 200-400 words or 1000-2000 characters.

My default inclination, because I was on the internet in the early 2000s, is to write a blog. Blogs are kind of perfect: I can include whatever media as I'd like, format my commentary however I'd like, and it would all be public so everyone can find it and read it. But of course, nobody reads blogs anymore haha. I'm not sure a blog would generate buzz the way a social media account would. And I'm not sure what social media account I should use. Facebook is the only social media I'm currently on, but this isn't the kind of thing Facebook does well. Twitter maybe, especially because other people who do this kind of thing have a Twitter presence, so I could do some stuff with mentions and existing hashtags to build an audience. But I see a couple drawbacks with Twitter, too. Pretty much every post would exceed the character limit, so I'd had to thread it, and I feel like that would diminish the... I don't know, integrity? of the text. Also, I'd prefer more of a post/comment model where follow-up interactions don't appear on the main timeline, so as not to distract from the main content. Instagram seems like it might be promising, but I know almost nothing about how it works and, more importantly, how people use it, so it would be a lot harder to get started. I'm also not sure how much of my target audience (dudes in their 30s and 40s) is on Instagram. I know even less about TikTok. There are some real positives to Youtube, because I could tie the commentary directly to the video. But I don't like my voice, so I'd prefer the commentary to be text rather than speech, and it wouldn't work either as captions in the video or as a description. I'm also not very good at video editing, and I'd probably need to invest in a microphone, so there are some barriers to entry. Tumblr, from what I remember of it, would work pretty much how I'd like, but is Tumblr still a thing? Does anyone still use it? My target audience probably doesn't. The network effects would be pretty strong. Are there other platforms I'm not thinking of?

Despite not using a lot of social media personally, I'm pretty familiar with how to use it for marketing. So like, even if Twitter isn't my home platform, I'd still start a Twitter account to tweet links and interact with other people and stuff. But the question is really about where the content should live, the system of record, so to speak.

So tell me your thoughts on various platforms. What do you think would work well, and what do you think would not? The topic, if it matters, is American football.
posted by kevinbelt to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I would go for Instagram. People go there looking for photos and short videos, and the character limit is long enough. Engagement on Facebook is declining. Instagram has a video limit of 60 seconds I believe. And with the story feature you can promote small clips from the videos easily. You can find the most popular hashtags in your niche in order to increase your following.

Either that or publish the videos on Youtube and use Insta to promote them.

You might want to separate the question into 2: 1) where to post the content and 2) how to market it. Instagram does kind of let you do both at once though.

Tiktok is also huge right now for video. I don't know much about how it works but you could start off on Instagram and share on other platforms once you grow a following. I feel like the competition on Tiktok is insane because the people are so good.
posted by winterportage at 10:54 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]

This is not my expertise, but I think the topic matters more than you might think. You can see what hashtags are most popular on Instagram. I did a very quick search:

#travel: ~541 million
#food: ~426 million
#nature: ~494 million
#football: ~76 million
#footballhighlights: ~250k

So, while Instagram might work technically, my hunch is that it's not the biggest space for sports commentary, but you should just download it and see if anyone is doing something close to what you want to do. My guess is that YouTube would ultimately be better (though you could try out both simultaneously).

On another note, part of not hating the sound of your own voice is practicing different voices until you find one that doesn't make you cringe. I've bought a fairly cheap ($60) voice recorder for doing research, and was impressed by the quality- so you likely don't need to invest in anything expensive right away.
posted by coffeecat at 11:06 AM on January 15

On instagram you can also post IGTV videos which can be longer (not sure of the upper limit but it's at least 10 minutes).

Instagram does lean female (to what extent I'm not sure) but I can't think of a social media platform with more 30s-40s men, except for Facebook.
posted by mekily at 11:27 AM on January 15

I would say that -- among grownups -- Instagram is the current power platform for this kind of content, but that TikTok is the new hotness. If you are doing something unique and interesting that will stand out from the crowd, you'll have a larger installed user base in your target demo on Instagram. But if you're doing something that isn't super distinctive, you might find it isn't *yet* being done on TikTok, which would mean you'd get some first mover advantage in building a brand there and seeming hipper because of it.

That said, most brands cross-post up the wazoo for this type of thing. It's helpful to think of one platform as your home and gear your content to that, but you should have some promotional efforts on others, as well. Your compilation videos, for example, might find a home on Facebook and YouTube, even if your natural home, first-place-to-post for the content is TikTok or Insta.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:28 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

I'd suggest you spend some time exploring TikTok before you dismiss it completely. You might be surprised at the number of adults right now whose fame grew tremendously through TikTok, especially over the past several months. Maybe people speak dismissively of TikTok, but that doesn't mean they're not on it. I haven't made a video on TikTok, but it's set up to do just that. TikTok makes it easy to pull your content over to other platforms, like Instagram and Twitter. TikTok is also great with music added on top, or at least with no words.

Instagram is another good idea.

I'd suggest getting on both platforms and looking for content similar to what you have in mind or targeting the same demographic if you can't find that, but both platforms are very good are serving you up more of what you are following, so it shouldn't take long.

Either way, you can have a Twitter account where you crosspost.

Are you sure you can't get more comfortable with your voice though?
posted by bluedaisy at 12:36 PM on January 15

(I see from more careful reading of your post that my second paragraph was redundant. Sorry!)
posted by jacquilynne at 2:09 PM on January 15

I vote for TikTok. The influencer $$ are just starting to take off, audience is growing. Also I love TikTok :)
posted by warriorqueen at 5:15 PM on January 15

I don't like my voice, so I'd prefer the commentary to be text rather than speech... I'd probably need to invest in a microphone

You can use text to speech software to read the commentary, if that's a factor.
posted by yohko at 7:09 PM on January 15

Who are your target audience? That’s probably the most important determinant.

If you’re posting mainly short videos, I vote for TikTok, which is both hugely popular and designed to do this. My hunch is that it’s more of a home for sports content than Instagram, but I have no data to back this up. Take a look and see what posters there do with, for example, zooms and text overlays to tell a story or illustrate a point. It maybe be that this works better for what you’re trying to do than 400 words of text block would.

(In my opinion, you are right - people rarely read blogs like that any more unless they are REALLY interested in what’s being said, which is sort of a difficult barrier to entry if you’re trying to start something new.)
posted by Concordia at 7:29 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]

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