How (and Why) to Take Advantage of Being First on New Social-Media Platforms
Building your presence on new networks is an investment of time and energy that can pay off, if the network succeeds.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
With a few trendy social media networks having popped up recently, we have yet again faced the old challenges: Is it worth building your presence within social media startups? And how do you scale the social media early adoption strategy?
Being a social media early adopter has lots of obvious benefits. The two the most important ones are:
1. You can start building your network earlier and you'll be an old-timer before everyone else joined.
2. You will have new and organically trending content to blog about. You can become known as an insider and an expert.
There are lots of examples of how social media power users thrive, thanks to their decision to join a network in the early days. One such example is courtesy of @dannybuntu: When Google Plus launched, Chris Brogan almost immediately started a webinar that took off like crazy because Google Plus was a hot trend at that point. Thousands joined in and actually paid to attend the webinar.
Edwin Dearborn has shared his personal early adoption success story: "I was an early adopter when LinkedIn announced their blogging format earlier this year. To date, I have written 48 articles on that format. Within that time I have gained over 1,000 new followers on LinkedIn, as well as speaking engagements offered to me from that exposure. Moreover, I have seen my followers grow in Twitter as a direct result.
Early adopters learn the ropes sooner, as well as position themselves as thought leaders. What an important branding weapon. It is not only important to adopt early, but truly become proficient within the space the one now occupies. It is not enough to simply join, one has to participate and demonstrate competence.''
Joining a social media network early is great for building your authority and discovering new connections and opportunities but how to find time for always emerging social media startups? You can't just join, you should be there to make it work.
Here's a four-step strategy that will help you develop an effective social media early adoption strategy:
1. Set up your profile everywhere
Greg DiVilbiss has a very smart strategy here: "It is impossible to know if a new platform is going to be viable or not. I usually join the ones I find out about at least to have a profile. Most of them fizzle out. However, if they take off I am on the ground floor in terms of knowing what is going on.''
2. Get involved when the service has started taking off
Just being there (as Greg suggested) will let you keep an eye on what's going on: Your friends joining and finding you to connect is a good sign the service is slowly taking off, for example.
Paul Shapiro suggests being strategic at devoting your time to every other startup you are joining: Only do that when you start seeing some activity. He wrote, "At some point though, you'll be able to get a sense if that platform is going somewhere. If people are signing up, actually using it, and coming back frequently you might want to devote some additional resources to that network.''
3. Branch out
If you are joining startup social media networks, chances are you are not a newbie to the social media world. This means you can always use your existing, established profiles to help your new account take off.
Find your friends on new networks (and possibly connect to their friends as well). Pinterest adoption was very smooth thanks to that. They let you find your Facebook friends on Pinterest easily. Neither Tsu nor Ello let you search for your friends from elsewhere, so I started by announcing I am there on my major accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus), connecting to those who replied and going through their friends. We had a lot in common!
Cross-posting is another good way to grow your new profile faster. Both Pinterest and Tsu allow to auto-share updates to Twitter and Facebook which (if used moderately and creatively) is an efficient way to encourage your old friends to connect to you on new networks.
4. Learn to identify opportunities that benefit your career
That's not something you'll learn fast but once you are an experienced early adopter, you'll learn to identify opportunities that suit your career better. I don't really mean trying to tell if the platform is going to take off (no one can ever be sure) - I mean trying to tell if the platform will help you reach your career goals.
Brandon Schaefer puts it very well: "...right now I'm an 'early adopter' with some of Canva's latest updates and it's definitely increasing my exposure amongst my peers. Being an early adopter to large or trending companies definitely has its advantages. My suggestion is that you only take advantage of the best opportunities and don't get stuck wasting your time with other not so relevant 'early adopter' opportunities.''