In platforming conversations with authors, I often get asked: how many social media networks should I be on?
The short answer is that it depends. There is no magic number. How busy are you? Is social media fun for you, or a stressful chore? How are you keeping up with what you’re already doing for your platform?
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend starting your platform with a website, an email list, and one or two social networks. Then, expand as you feel you’re able.
But once you have done that, how do you know if you’re ready to add additional social media to your platform?
Here are a few signs that could say you’re ready.
1) You feel comfortable
Every social network is like a party—but are you at a rave or a swanky cocktail hour? Every party has its own set of social dynamics and expectations, and social media networks are no exception.
This can make adjusting to a new network challenging for a while, because you seem like the only one who doesn’t get the jokes or know how to engage.
But by observing and engaging, you will learn how to fit in. When you finally feel comfortable and don’t have to overanalyze every post anymore, you’ve reached a point where you’re ready to grow again.
2) You check in frequently
In this day and age, the “addiction” to social media is frowned upon … but if you’re building a platform, this can work to your advantage. It’s good to check in frequently, if it’s comfortable for you!
In fact, as you adjust and come to enjoy your engagements with your following, you will likely find yourself turning to your computer or phone to check in simply because you want to—not because you feel you should.
This is another great sign that you’re ready for a little more.
3) Your following is growing
A growing following should be a natural result of understanding a network’s culture and frequent posting. Perhaps not explosive growth—that’s not sustainable—but certainly steady growth, month to month.
And P.S.—hopefully this goes without saying, but this growing audience should be one that, by and large, might have potential interest in your books.
If your audience isn’t growing, or if it is the wrong audience for your writing, pump the breaks before adding another social network. First, spend some time examining what’s going wrong, and try some other approaches to learn what works better.
Are you ready?
It can be hard to assess your own platforming success as an author. But these three symptoms of success are simple signs that you’re ready to take on more.
Don’t forget, the most important factor in whether you should add more social media to your platform is whether you have a desire to or not. Engaging with readers and building a community around your writing should be fun!
By day, Emily Wenstrom is an author social media coach and content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, an award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author whose debut novel Mud was named 2016 Book of the Year by the Florida Writers Association.