Are You A Social Media Early Adopter, A Follower or An Outlier?

by Lori Taylor · 1 comment

branding for early adopters

Who gets where first and why?

Where do you like to run your social media race?  Do you find yourself trying to keep up, bored or are you already onto the next big thing?

One of the advantages to being in the middle of the crowd, a follower, is simply to learn from the mistakes of the people who came before you.  If you can do that you will shorten your learning curve, immensely.  However, “followers” waste a lot of energy trying to stand out from the crowd, which is extremely difficult and requires more heavy lifting, than those who got the lay of the land first.

Getting there first does give early adopters a chance for a bigger land grab. But  as an outlier, you also might write things off too quickly and jump to the next thing too soon, missing out on opportunities when the crowd arrives.

None of them are officially better than the other, your choice should be on risk assessment and your risk tolerance is all up to you.

No matter what, trying to decide where to spend your time and effort for branding using social media is no simple task. Getting there first isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but as my daddy says “You don’t have to be the fastest, but don’t be the slowest.”

(He’s pretty smart, so you might want to listen to him.)

You could apply that daddy-ism to social media by understanding there is a cost and a risk to getting somewhere first (like Quora) by risking precious time and resources before the platform has been optimized.  Of course, you don’t want to be there last, as it is much harder to get your foothold, but you definitely want to focus your efforts where you can be most successful.

First you have to decide the purpose of your campaign – is it to new sales, more sale or higher profit sales?

Either way, you wouldn’t waste time trying to find them at new places, but rather find a better way to communicate with them by reviewing what has been tried and what looks to be most successful, based on what your competition has done.

But you can’t pick your destination until you understand where you are going. Many people describe our destination as your “outcome” and tie them to words like  affinity, reach, acquisition and retention…which is just a fancy way to say:

a.  I’m trying to get new sales

b.  I’m trying to get more sales from existing base

c.  I need to make more money, either through better clients or making the clients I have better

If you don’t have a social media consultant or agency on board, or you don’t have internal staff to do it internally, then stop for a minute and ask yourself what you want to be when you grow up.  After you clearly understand that, only then can you start allocating resources today to plan for who you want to be tomorrow.

In a fascinating interview at Social Media Examiner, Jay Baer author of the Now Revolution does a great job of talking about the future of social media…

In a world like that—where every customer is a reporter—each employee ends up having to be in marketing. Your company has to move so fast, to capitalize on both the good and the bad, that you really must have an incredibly strong and consistent corporate culture.

Lori Taylor


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lindy February 9, 2011 at 7:15 am

I consider myself as a follower. Just being in the middle, you can observe more. I guess it also has its pros and cons. Anyway, Nice post.


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