These days, social media networks can spark from nowhere and fail just as fast. With the online social landscape constantly shifting, you might wonder where to spend your marketing efforts without wasting your time. Should you jump on the latest social media network or wait until it's established?
Consider these three pros and their counterpart cons before joining a new social network:
PRO No. 1: There's an obvious upside to joining a new social network before the masses: You'll stand out—something incredibly hard to do on any of the juggernauts such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
CON No. 1: The flipside is that it takes time to build an audience from scratch, and if your local customers aren't on the app, then you're marketing to folks who may never shop with you. In other words? A potential time waster.
PRO No. 2: When you're an early adopter, you get to take chances. Strategies and best practices exist for current social networks. As a user of a new social network, you'll help blaze the trail with your creativity.
CON No. 2: You never know what's coming next when it comes to social, so your trailblazing could lead to big wins or potential losses. Just look at what happened to the Meerkat app. Launched in March, the app allows you to livestream video to your Twitter followers. Moments after Meerkat announced its second round of funding, Twitter released Periscope, it's own app that does the same thing. Users who jumped on the Meerkat train are now opting for Periscope, which has quickly risen in popularity in Apple's App Store.
PRO No. 3: If the new social media network makes it big, you'll be ahead of the game. Case studies and articles might be written about you and how you're using the network for maximum marketing exposure online.
CON No. 3: The network may never go anywhere. You'll have spread your marketing efforts too thin to make an impact elsewhere.
If you don't have the time or staff to devote to a robust social media strategy, the thought of joining a new network can seem overwhelming. Best to spend your time on an existing platform where you know your customers already hang out. However, if you're chugging along in your existing social media strategy and you want to expand your horizons, consider creating an account and being active for at least a few months on the Next Big Thing.
You can always quit if it doesn't work out.
Caren Baginski is a writer and social media strategist based in Denver, Colorado, and former social media and digital editor of newhope360.com. Contact her at carenbaginski.com.