Should you stake out a presence on a new social media site which is relatively new, but seems to cater to your niche? I always thought the answer “of course!” was obvious, after a recent conversation with a dentist I realized that many people just don’t get it. In fact, his comment left me so dumbfounded that I couldn’t think of a good response in time – it was like being tongue-tied while talking to a stunning brunette in a bar. The “right thing to say” pops into your head once the conversation is over.
Anyway, back to the dentist. We were having a discussion about the merits of using Instagram to promote his dental practice. I suggested posting images of happy patients showing off their smiles after he had fixed their teeth. It seemed like a natural strategy to me, but the dentist rejected it because he didn’t feel that Instagram is sufficiently established to make an investment worthwhile.
My immediate response should have been that Instagram is more than established. It already has 150 million users and is growing like mad. Throw in the fact that Facebook now owns Instagram and will be promoting it heavily to its one-billion members, and you have a social site with an ton of growth potential.
More importantly, however, it’s never too early to create a presence on a new social media site. As long as the site caters to the type of services or products you offer, you should be there immediately.
The Right Place at the Right Time
Not many successful businesses will admit it, but the old adage is usually true. Success is often a result of being in the right place at the right time.
Consider the almighty iPad, introduced to consumers in 2010. Apple is revered for its innovations, but the iPad wasn’t really one of them. In 1999 Microsoft was actually selling a Tablet PC to businesses, and the concept of the tablet had been around for decades. The product obviously didn’t take off at the time, and Microsoft shelved it.
There were plenty of reasons why the Tablet PC didn’t succeed and the iPad did, but the biggest was timing. The market wasn’t ready for a tablet in 1999 when most people were still on dial-up modems. 2010 was the right time and Apple was in the right place with its product.
Facebook Used To Be New, Too
The same lesson applies to social media; you never know when a site is going to take off. When Facebook first launched, most people thought MySpace was a far superior platform. Now most teens don’t even know what MySpace was.
Never reject a presence on a new social media site just because it’s new. If anything, a site in its infancy presents a huge opportunity. The big fishes in your niche probably aren’t on the site yet. If you can get in early, you can dominate by picking up early influencers and generating a large number of followers. Do this and you have a platform on which you can make some serious money over time.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Pinterest is a popular site for selling products, but it didn’t even exist a few years ago – and early adopters are reaping big benefits. The platform convert well and also allows you to post images of your products for free. If you are a latecomer to Pinterest, you’ve undoubtedly found it more difficult to gain traction than competitors who were there first.
But Pinterest is not the only site that takes this approach. There are relatively new sites such as Craft Gawker[http://craftgawker.com/] and We Heart It [http://weheartit.com/] which do the same thing. Should you be on these websites if you sell products? Absolutely, and there are more just like it. If you don’t have time to manage all the sites, you can either use a service such as SOGRO, or just post one day a week. If one of the sites takes off, you will be in a position to benefit.
Despite the size and importance of Facebook and Twitter, social media is still really in its infancy. Stake out your turf while you still can.