June 19, 2023
There tends to be two main avenues that creators use to engage with their audience. The mainstream, mega-platform avenue is defined by the likes of Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Then, once creators have a foothold on one of these platforms, the most successful creators will implement secondary destinations for further engagement. These secondary platforms, sometimes niche platforms, sometimes courses, and sometimes newsletters, fill up the creator’s link-in-bio and tend to cater toward their true fans–the most engaged and loyal followers.
This dynamic raises the question: what is the best platform for content creators? There are endless possibilities for secondary platforms, but even the most ambitious creators can’t balance that many channels. In fact, full-time content creators leverage an average of only 3.4 channels for their social presence, and monetize an average of 2.7 channels. To avoid burnout, creators should make prudent decisions about where they choose to focus and amplify their content. Each platform should serve a purpose, which can overlap with the purposes of profiles on other platforms, or can serve a unique function in the creator’s overall stack.
In the marketplace for social platforms, the best platform for content creators will depend entirely on the creator and, more specifically, the creator’s audience and goals. When deciding on their “creator stack,” or the platforms and tools they choose to leverage, a creator must be deliberate. Each platform serves a purpose, with its own advantages and disadvantages, so creators should consider their goals and stack platforms that follow those goals.
Some platforms, which we’ll refer to as content creator platforms, are platforms that seek to take advantage of the explosion of content creators. They (or, I should say we, as I am partially describing myself) tend to focus on a specific content niche or monetization method. At Sute, we’re a subscription platform for online content creators and their communities, focused on entrepreneurship, careers, and personal finance. Other platforms might be focused on a different niche, while some might take a different approach to monetization.
In the next section, we’ll help you uncover your goals, and how to implement a stack of content creator platforms best suited for you.
Creators’ goals tend to follow a few categories, often depending on how long the creator has been creating and their degree of commitment to their content. Their goals tend to reflect their business, their content, or their audience. Of course, creators can never disregard any of these goals, but they can choose to prioritize one over the other two at different times.
According to NeoReach’s Creator Survey, content creators goals are:
Let’s break down these goals and discuss how platforms service creators in their pursuit of each one.
This is a natural starting point for a creator. How can a creator expect to be successful without high quality content? However, in our blog about algorithmic social platforms, we discussed at length how the major social media platforms do not necessarily reward the highest quality content. These platforms emphasize virality and reach, which might not be synonymous with quality. When the algorithm recommends content, they try to find engaging content that is relevant to keeping users on the platform. Clickbait and misinformation, while frustrating, benefit these platforms because they drive engagement. So even if your content is truly the best, it might not be in the best interest of the platform to amplify it.
There are, however, platforms whose models try harder to prioritize the highest quality content. These platforms tend to focus on a specific content niche, rather than general social media. Since the platform is tailored to a specific type of audience, quality becomes a deciding factor in recommendation engines, rather than engagement for the platform.
When it comes to monetization, users don’t think like algorithms. Unlike algorithms, users will try to reward quality content. That’s why many creators with high quality content have found success with direct monetization. Direct monetization refers to a financial model where creators are supported directly by their fans, rather than relying on an indirect third-party (like an advertiser, the dominant method of monetization for an algorithmic platform). Methods like merchandise sales, tipping/donations, and subscriptions establish a direct financial relationship with their audience, fostering a more sustainable and independent approach to monetizing their creative endeavors.
If your goal is to create the highest quality content:
First, I want to draw a line between connecting with your audience and building it. Connecting with your audience refers to the audience you already have. Creators with this goal tend to be thinking about how they can open a more direct line of communication to their audience, so they can understand their goals and continue to produce content that fans want.
Any successful creator knows the importance of servicing their audience. We even made an Avatar Worksheet so creators can visualize their ideal audience member, which can be a very helpful exercise to guide content-related decision making.
We’re biased, but we firmly believe that community platforms offer the best avenue for creators to connect with their audience. Community platforms, which tend to feature text, video, and audio chat functionalities, open that direct line of communication between the creator and all of their members. Not only can the creator deepen their relationship with their audience, but they can also empower their audience to connect with each other.
If your goal is to connect with your audience:
To grow your followers, go to where the users are. Simply put, there is no beating TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook in this area. While niche platforms often help grow more passionate audience members, it’s rare that creators see member-counts over 100,000. Niche platforms are smaller by design. While growth is definitely possible, going for the big numbers almost requires a presence on a mega-platform.
As I’ve mentioned in this blog, algorithmic platforms have a specific set of criteria they use to decide which content to amplify. Each platform comes with a set of recommendations and strategies to achieve growth, and algorithms change frequently, often without notice. For more insights on algorithmic platforms, check out the blog we did on the topic here.
If your goal is to build a following:
This one’s complicated. There are a ton of different ways for creators to make money. I’d be willing to bet that a top American university unveils a course (or even a major) about creator monetization in the next five years. We’ve covered it extensively in blogs, like this one, this one, and even this one.
It’s impossible to assess monetization in a vacuum. Creators need to expand this goal to consider how they want to make money. Monetization can take many forms, such as advertising, sponsorships, merchandise sales, and direct payments from fans through tips or subscriptions. It is essential for content creators to find the right monetization strategy that fits their content and audience, and to continually refine it over time.
It’s no secret that the creator economy is expanding as quickly as just about any other industry. That means the industry is flush with new opportunities for creators to monetize. If you’re a big creator, you may be receiving a new DM every week with an exciting sounding opportunity. New monetization opportunities are exciting, but creators shouldn’t accept every opportunity that comes their way. Here’s a few questions to help you evaluate new opportunities.
Bottomline, making money is not just a goal, it’s essential. But, without a deliberate business plan, a creator’s monetization strategy may not align with their goals around their content or their audience.
The best platform for content creators depends entirely on the content creator. In fact, it’s unlikely that a single platform accomplishes everything for you. More likely, a combination of platforms will help deliver success for a creator, with each platform serving a function to enhance their brand, their vision, and their goals.
At Sute, we consider ourselves an end-goal content creator platform. This means we're a subscription platform for online content creators and a community platform for their true fans. We’re focused specifically on creators who engage in “personal growth” content, which we use as a blanket term to describe entrepreneurship, career development, and personal finance content. We’re currently taking applications from the best creators in these fields. If this describes you, we encourage you to apply today!