Does this scenario sound familiar? The cool new tool was just written up over at Mashable, you take a few minutes and open a new account over at the site. You’ve set up a personal account and start exploring to see what this thing has to offer. If that sounds like you, here are a few tips on what I  look for during my evaluation that will hopefully help you too.

Is your target audience going to use this tool now or in the next 12 months? If your target audience doesn’t adopt the tool, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time building a strategy for it. Early adopters usually flock to the newest shiny object, but you can tell if your audience will migrate over to it in the future. If you feel they will, set up shop now and let your audience know you are there.

Does this new tool fill a void that others don’t? If you are like me, as you use a tool or site, you find yourself saying  “if only this site did ____, it would be so much better.” If the new tool fills that blank space, then it is worth exploring your options a little more. No tool is going to be 100% perfect, but if the new tools provides you with better communications with your audience, I say go for it. Conversely, does it share some of the features you love about other tools? If it does, chances are these are features that your audience loves too and they will make the transition over time.

This is not to say, you abandon your current accounts, but begin to plan how your goals and strategies can translate on this new platform. What other tips do you have for evaluating new tools?