How to Switch Platforms as a Creator and Amass New Followers

If there‘s one constant in the world of social media, it‘s change. The platforms that are popular today may be all but abandoned in a few years‘ time. Meanwhile, new platforms are constantly emerging and attracting users with innovative features and fresh creative opportunities.

As a content creator, it‘s crucial to be willing to embrace this change and pivot to new platforms when necessary – both to stay relevant to your existing audience and to unlock avenues for reaching new fans. While you may have built a substantial following on one platform, that‘s no guarantee of long-term success. The rewards often go to the creators who are early to adopt the next big thing.

Of course, the prospect of starting from scratch on a new platform can be daunting, especially if you‘re well-established somewhere else. But with the right approach, you can make the leap strategically to set yourself up for success and hit the ground running. Here‘s a comprehensive roadmap to switching your primary creator platform.

Choosing the Right Platform for You

The first step is deciding which new platform to focus on. There are a few key considerations to weigh here:

Where does your target audience spend time?

If you‘ve developed a clear understanding of your target audience, you probably have a sense of the social platforms they prefer. For instance, a gaming creator‘s audience is likely to be on Twitch or YouTube, while a beauty creator‘s fans may congregate on Instagram and TikTok.

Of course, this may require some research, especially for new and emerging platforms. Look at the demographics data in the platforms‘ ad-buying tools, study any public usage stats they provide, and pay attention to where your topic or niche seems to be trending.

What content formats and styles work best?

Every platform has its own quirks in terms of the type of content that performs well. On TikTok, short, snappy vertical videos reign supreme. On Twitch, it‘s all about long-form live streams. Twitter is text-based, while Instagram started with square photos and now prioritizes Reels.

Consider which formats align best with your content style and skills. If you‘ve primarily been making long YouTube videos, a pivot to TikTok‘s bite-size clips will be an adjustment. On the other hand, if you‘ve built an audience for your Instagram Stories, you may adapt quickly to vlogging on Twitch.

What unique creator tools does the platform offer?

To attract creators, platforms often launch special features and tools aimed at helping them engage audiences and craft compelling content. Twitch has expansive live streaming tools, TikTok provides an audio library and user-friendly editing tools, YouTube offers community posts, and so on.

Assess which platform‘s feature set will enhance your content the most. Keep an eye out for beta programs and experiments that let you test out the latest creator tools before they‘re widely available.

Can you effectively monetize your content?

For many professional creators, the ability to turn an audience into income is non-negotiable. If you‘re building a business around your content, make sure you understand the monetization options on any platform you‘re considering, such as:

  • Ad revenue sharing programs
  • Tipping/donations from fans
  • Channel subscriptions
  • Integrated merchandise sales
  • Brand sponsorship opportunities

Also consider a platform‘s track record in paying creators fairly and transparently. You want a long-term partner that sets realistic expectations.

Making a Successful Transition

Once you‘ve picked a platform, it‘s time to start making your move. This isn‘t as simple as just setting up an account and waiting for your existing followers to find you. To build momentum quickly, you need to be strategic and proactive about the transition.

Build a strong presence from day one.

First impressions matter on social media. As soon as your account is live on the new platform, it should present a polished, professional appearance that tells potential new fans who you are and what you‘re all about.

At minimum, your profile should include:

  • A handle similar or identical to what you use on other platforms for easy recognition.
  • A profile picture that clearly showcases your face or brand logo.
  • A brief, punchy bio summarizing your content and value prop. What will people get by following you?
  • Links to your other active social profiles so people can find you around the web.

Aim to have at least a few pieces of quality content live right away, too, rather than an empty feed. You can start populating your profile before publicly announcing the launch.

Bring your existing audience along for the ride.

Your current fans on other platforms are a built-in initial audience for your new account. To get them to follow you, treat the launch like a mini-marketing campaign:

  • Announce the new account‘s launch multiple times on your existing channels. Build some anticipation and buzz leading up to the specific launch date.
  • Directly tell fans to go follow the new account, and help them find it by providing your exact handle and links.
  • In your launch posts on the new platform, welcome your existing fans and thank them for coming over. Make them feel valued as your "day ones."
  • Consider doing an "ask me anything" on the new platform, or hosting a live stream to interact with your early followers there.
  • If the platform allows it, pin a tweet or post about the new account on your other profiles so everyone sees it.

Become a student of the new platform.

Take time to immerse yourself in your new platform and learn its unique culture, lingo, trends, and informal rules. Find the most popular accounts in your topic area and study what‘s working for them.

Take note of the hashtags they use, how they structure their bios, what content formats they focus on, how they use features like livestreaming and Stories. Identify tactics you can adapt to your own content style.

You need to quickly position yourself as a native, not an outsider. Avoid faux pas like cross-platform posting watermarks that make it obvious your content is recycled from somewhere else.

Create a consistent posting schedule.

An inactive or inconsistent presence is kryptonite for building a following on a new platform. Fans should know what to expect from you and when in order to build a habit of viewing your content.

Create a content calendar laying out your posting schedule and plan. For short-form video platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, daily posting is optimal. On YouTube or podcasts, weekly is generally the gold standard. Find a realistic schedule you can maintain long-term.

Also pay attention to the analytics data on your new platform to see which days and times your posts get the most engagement, and adjust your calendar accordingly. Your previous assumptions may not hold true on a new platform.

Collaborate with established creators.

Partnering with creators who already have a substantial audience on your new platform is a great way to introduce yourself to potential new fans. The key is finding collaborators whose content complements your own, so their audience is likely to be interested in you as well.

Some collaboration ideas:

  • Guest on each other‘s podcasts or YouTube channels
  • Co-create a video together in which you both appear
  • Go live on the platform at the same time and bring each other in as guests
  • Run a joint contest or giveaway in which you both contribute prizes and cross-promote
  • If the platform allows it, recommend each other‘s accounts in your profiles or bios

Resist the urge to be territorial and view other creators solely as competition. Embracing collaboration over a zero-sum mindset is one of the best ways to make a splash in a new creator community.

Repurposing vs. Platform-Native Content

When you‘re active on multiple platforms simultaneously, it‘s tempting to simply repost the exact same content across all your channels to save time and effort. However, this approach has some big downsides.

For one, it ignores the fact that different post formats work better on different platforms. What makes a great 12-minute YouTube video may not translate to a great 12-second TikTok.

It also tends to turn off audiences when they see content that‘s obviously recycled from another platform, like a TikTok video reposted to Reels with a watermark, or a tweet screenshot on Instagram. It gives the impression you don‘t really understand the platform or care enough to create original content for it.

That said, you also shouldn‘t feel like you need to start completely from scratch with all your content ideas for each new platform. The key is finding a balance between repurposing and reformatting.

For example:

  • Clip the highlights from a long YouTube video into a short TikTok.
  • Expand on the ideas from a viral tweet in a long-form blog post.
  • Turn a how-to article into an Instagram carousel
  • Use the audio from a podcast episode to create a YouTube video with animation or graphics
  • Stitch together several related TikToks into a longer YouTube compilation

This allows you to get more mileage from your content concepts and make your content stretch further, without sacrificing quality or treating your new audience as an afterthought.

Balancing Multiple Platforms

Whenever you branch out to a new platform, you‘ll need to decide how much to scale back your presence on existing ones, if at all. There‘s no universal right answer here – it depends on your brand, content style, and audience.

Some creators choose to go all-in on a new platform, essentially leaving their previous ones behind. This approach allows you to fully immerse yourself in the new platform, create plenty of native content for it, and signal to fans that it‘s the "new home" for your community.

The downside is that not all your existing audience will migrate with you. You may lose touch with a portion of your fanbase by pulling out of a platform entirely.

Other creators maintain an active presence on 2-3 platforms at once. This can work well if there‘s significant overlap between the audiences on the different platforms, and if you‘re able to efficiently repurpose your content. Many fans expect to be able to follow their favorite creators on multiple platforms.

The risk here, of course, is that you spread yourself thin trying to be everywhere at once. Just keeping up with learning the cultures and trends of multiple platforms can frazzle your focus as a creator. Your content may end up being stretched too thin and not performing well on any single platform.

A middle ground some creators find is the "primary and secondary" approach. You focus most of your time and effort on one primary platform, but maintain "outposts" on a few secondary ones. Your cadence may be something like:

  • Daily posting on your primary platform
  • 2-3 posts per week on your main secondary platform
  • 1-2 posts per week on another platform or two

You can always adjust and reallocate your time if you find one of the secondary platforms is really taking off and warrants more of your attention.

Adapting Nimbly is Key

Ultimately, a willingness to adapt and evolve is one of the most vital skills for content creators to cultivate. Platforms, trends, and audience preferences are always in flux. The creators who achieve consistent, long-term success are the ones who can roll with the changes.

Pay attention to the social media landscape and the buzz around new platforms. Watch where other creators in your vertical are experimenting. When one catches your eye, don‘t hesitate to give it a shot. You may find that you love the new creative format, or that your content really resonates with the user demographics there.

Remember, you don‘t have to abandon what‘s currently working for you to try new things. Give yourself permission to experiment and treat failures as learning opportunities. The first-mover advantage is real for creators on a new platform. Sometimes, taking the leap to an emerging platform before it becomes oversaturated can put you on a whole new trajectory.

Real Creator Examples

Still feeling intimidated by the idea of moving to a new platform? Let these creators‘ successful pivots inspire you:

  • Fitness creator Caleb Marshall built a following of over 4 million YouTube subscribers with his enthusiastic dance workouts. Then, during the pandemic, he went all-in on TikTok‘s short-form video format and racked up over 3.5 million followers there. His TikToks feature sped-up cuts of his most intense cardio dance moves.

  • Tabitha Brown first gained a following on Facebook with her warm, soothing vegan cooking videos. She expanded to TikTok in March 2020, and quickly went viral with her playful, engaging personality. Just 5 weeks after joining the platform, she surpassed 2 million followers. Her TikTok stardom translated into a web series and a recurring role on Showtime‘s "The Chi."

  • Kelli Erdmann had a respectable audience of 100,000 subscribers on her Lucky Luciano YouTube gaming channel. But when she started livestreaming gameplay regularly on Facebook Gaming in 2019, her audience exploded. She now has over 1 million followers on Facebook alone, and credits the platform‘s livestreaming tools and community-building features for her rapid growth.

Parting Thoughts

Building a successful content career in today‘s landscape means getting comfortable with change. The platforms and tools will always be evolving, and audiences will constantly seek out the new and novel. But if you can embrace that change and use it as an opportunity to level up your skills and reach new people, you‘ll have a huge advantage.

Remember to be strategic as you plan a pivot to a new platform. But once you‘ve done your research and established a game plan, don‘t let fear or inertia hold you back. Your most passionate fans will follow you to new places, and their loyalty will form the foundation of the new audience you build.

With a commitment to learning, plenty of patience, and a dash of bravery, you‘ll look back on making the leap as one of the best decisions you ever made for your creator journey. Who knows? You might just become the next breakout star.