10 Rewards for Corporate Social Media Early Adopters

One of the best parts about going to social media conferences is seeing which case studies the “experts” draw from. In the beginning, many pulled from the same four or five case studies (Dell, Starbucks, Blendtec, Comcast…).

Now, the gates have opened up and it’s more interesting, in many cases, to look at the companies who AREN’T using social media. But here’s a short list I put together of the 10 biggest rewards for getting involved with social media early:

Mainstream Media Attention
If your brand is among the first to establish a presence on a new media platform, you can be sure it’s going to generate a bit of mainstream press. Of course this is beneficial, but it can also work against a brand when this is its sole purpose.

Community Goodwill
On most platforms, community members are happy to see the brands they interact with on a daily basis join their community. I have had many positive experiences interacting with @JetBlue on Twitter, so much so that I will look for customer service there before I try a phone call or airport desk.

Early adopters earn a reputation as forward thinkers. I haven’t read much about Starbucks actually employing any of the recommendations from MyStarbucksIdea, but their reputation among marketers and PR people is strong based on the establishment of this feedback platform.

One brand has to make the first foray, and in doing so, it will probably make some mistakes. Those that aren’t yet participants will seize the opportunity to lambast the brand for its mistake but community members are much more forgiving for those who at least try.

New Communications Channel
In this era of evolving social networks, first mover advantage allows those that jump in to capture the interest and attention of its customers and partners before the competition.

Determining ROI is a challenge regardless of when one enters a new arena where measurement is still untested. I would argue that the first brands in can help set establish these standards and many others will join.

Thought Leadership
New social media platforms offer a new theme for executives, a new audience for presentations and a new opportunity to communicate directly with stakeholders.

Popularity Within Company
Social media provides those employees who spearhead related programs a more visible role within the company. I’ve seen this take shape in many ways: more face time with the CEO, a more prominent role at events and a seat at the table on initiatives spanning many departments (HR, Legal, Communications, etc.)

Ability to Experiment
With the right attitude, every new social media platform allows companies to experiment with new ways to engage key audiences. Some will work and some won’t, but trying something new before a competitor offers many brand managers to push the envelope.

Fun Party Trick
While this may sound tongue in cheek, do not underestimate the value of being able to say, “You’re not on Foursquare?” or “We used QR Codes in our latest campaign” before the journalists, marketers or competitors know what that actually means.

What would you add/subtract from this list?

Stay tuned for my next post on the 10 Risks for Social Media Early Adopters.

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