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New Social Media Channels - Early Adopt or Wait?

My husband recently got invited to join Clubhouse; the voice based social network. While I’m not typically an early adopter, I did enjoy the opportunity to observe and eavesdrop as he downloaded the app, browsed topics and joined a conversation. About a week later, a colleague mentioned he was already planning on how to apply Clubhouse’s innovative way of communicating to reach his audience and set himself up as a real-time resource in ways that blogs and even podcasts can’t.

That got me thinking…how do you know the time is right to implement yet another social platform into your marketing playbook?

At this point just about every business uses at least one social media channel. Whether they post daily orchristian-wiediger-ZYLmudR28SA-unsplash monthly may vary based on their industry and needs. Plus, while it may seem obvious which channels reign supreme, there is still a choice to be made on which to implement and how many.

Typically, you’ll see advice on which to use based on your audience’s personal preference. For example, if you’re targeting 25-34 year old females, Instagram is a great choice, while 30-19 year old males can be found on Twitter.

Of course not every platform is one size fits all and you probably have more than one buyer persona so you need to use more than one channel. You also need to consider each platform’s own unique feel and way of speaking. For example, generally speaking, LinkedIn has a more professional voice than Facebook. To be able to meet the customer where, and how, they want to hear from you it’s likely you’re utilizing more than one channel and with a different tone for each message.

That’s all great to know, but what happens when there’s a new platform? How do you know if, or when, you should adopt the channel into your social media strategy? With limited resources – specifically time – to invest in adding yet another piece to the social media puzzle, is it worth being an early adopter? Or is it smarter to wait until you know how that channel fits into the social media world, to learn the overall demographics?

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Just with any business decision, there are risks and rewards. If you’re adding a new social media channel, here are some pros and cons to being among the first to implement.

Rewards of Early Adoption

  • Knowledge. Being one of the first users of a channel does mean you’ll have more experience as the audience grows. You’ll have a first-row view of building connections. You’ll also have a great understanding at how the tools work.

  • Creativity. While the audience may be smaller at first, it’s possible users will respect your brand for trying something new with them. Plus, you’ll have an opportunity to slightly reinvent yourself. Not completely, you still need to maintain your brand integrity and be who you are, but you can be creative about how you present yourself. I moved around a lot growing up, with each move I still had to be me, but sometimes I could try out for a new sport I wasn’t brave enough to try at my old school. You’ve already taken the risk at trying something new – so embrace it, see how far you can push it; be creatively you.

Risks of Early Adoption

  • Target Market May Never Adopt. If the platform is a success, you can bet copycats competitors follow. Who’s to say a majority of your market will make the same choice as you? Even Betamax believers eventually had to concede to purchasing VHS machines, and Blu-Ray eventually won over the high-definition formats from HD DVD. In case you hadn’t heard – Facebook is working on their own version of Clubhouse.

  • Limited Resources. You already know that while fun social media is time consuming. With a completely new channel you’ll not only have to learn how it works, but also how to optimize it and make sure it’s performing for you. Plus, unlike other channels that already have millions of users, you’re not only growing your following but convincing others to use the app as a whole.

With each introduction of new tech the consumers of that technology, including businesses, must consider whether or not to use. How do you know if a new channel is right for your business – or your market? When should you start including it – are you an early adopter? And, if you do decide to add a new platform, does that adoption mean abandoning one already in play, or are you merely adding it as a communication channel? When do you have too many? Can you have too many? Let us know what you think below!