When is the Best Time for Brands to Join New Social Networks?

Recently, another social site called Ello.co rolled out, and from recent chatter, everyone wants in on it. Ello’s invite-only structure makes it an exclusive platform for individuals and businesses alike. Its “ad-free” ethos has also proven troubling to brands hoping to capitalize on a new marketing opportunity; however, many companies will still likely find meaningful ways to interact with audiences through this network.

When it comes to new social networks, what’s the big deal? Should companies join right away, or should they “wait and see” whether such an environment is worth their time and resources? To answer this question, much depends on the goals and approach of each brand.

 Opportunities New Social Networks Pose for Businesses

Although the media through which users communicate varies by network, the benefits social media provides to brands remain the same. These include:

  • Companies can gain insight into their fans’ and customers’ interests via photos, videos, and written messages.
  • The open forums presented by social media provide an opportunity to “clear the air” with customers directly regarding controversies, questions, or complaints.
  • New social networks offer a fun and interactive dynamic not offered by a corporate website or retail location.

The Potential Pros for Early Adopters in Social Media

When brands get involved in new social networks, it often helps them gain momentum they wouldn’t have enjoyed otherwise. This is due to the inherent advantages of social settings, such as:

  • They reach their audiences before their competitors. Establishing a presence on a social network before others gives a company more time to build relationships and brand recognition.
  • They capitalize on the excitement of the new network. As large numbers of individuals eagerly sign up and explore the latest platform, many users will be eager to add as many friends as possible – including your brand.
  • They prove themselves in tune with the latest social media trends. Social media audiences often judge a brand’s relevance by its understanding of and involvement in new initiatives.
  • There is a chance that this network may go big. In this case, for the sake of brand establishment, you have to own your brand/organization name in this respective space. Even if you are not “active” you still need to ensure that “squatters” are not staking a claim on your property. Even with a completed profile, those that interact with you will help you to better understand what the active demographic is on this network.

Possible Cons for Social Media “Bandwagoners”

While new social networks often appear to be shining opportunities for promotion and engagement, all is not always gold that glitters. When prematurely signing up for accounts with new social media platforms, brands can open themselves up to blunders such as:

  • Missing the point of the social network. Like Ello, many social networks have not been designed for companies to interact with consumers. As such, businesses must avoid overt marketing tactics and comply with the platform’s rules for use. Waiting to see how other brands have successfully navigated these waters may be the best approach.
  • Expending resources on a doomed platform. With new social networks emerging every month, it can be difficult to predict which ones will tank. Avoid spending too much time or money on a social media strategy until a platform shows sustained indicators of growth and popularity. As we tell our clients quite often, give a lot of effort to very few platforms. Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to be visible and engaged in many areas.
  • Does the typical user of this new social network match the persona of your targeted audience? Just because it is the newest network in town doesn’t mean that it is right for your organization to jump in.

When it comes to new social media sites, brands seeking increased visibility and audience interaction have a great deal to gain – but an equal amount to lose. By balancing early awareness of each network with a targeted approach, you can avoid a social media strategy that fizzles out or falls flat.

About which new social media platform is your brand most excited?