Given the popularity and frequency at which social/mobile applications emerge, we've reached a point where it's assumed that when a new platform is introduced, opportunities for marketers to leverage the platform should be in place at launch. In theory, this makes sense: after all, the only thing you need to do to generate a potential lead on Facebook is to click that "like" button. Of course, debates still rage on as to whether or not Facebook users are truly actively engaged with brand pages, but in theory, this has become a universal truth.
What's not quite as clear is the role that emerging platforms play in attracting customers. We've all seen how Google has reacted to forward-thinking marketers (and media outlets) attempting to leverage Google + thus far. With few exceptions, in no uncertain terms - they need to wait. While some are confused as to why Google is holding back on opening the floodgates, in my view, it makes sense.
In my company's measuring of consumer sentiment, one trend that we've noticed is that people really don't like to feel like their space is being invaded. It may seem like second nature for a marketer to want to jump on a platform to try and generate as much revenue as possible, but here's my humble suggestion: just wait.
Jumping in too early could result in significant backlash against your brand. Platforms take time to open themselves up to brands, because they want to make sure that the experience is optimal for everyone -- yes, brand marketer, that means you, too.
Perhaps even more important than consumer sentiment is platform viability. While it may be tempting to take the deep dive into a platform like Google + at launch, there's evidence that while adoption rates may be impressive, actual interaction is beginning to level off. According to Experian Hitwise, traffic to the site during the week of July 23 decreased 3% when compared to the week prior. Specifically, visits to the site decreased from 1.86 million hits to 1.79 million hits, while the average time spent browsing the service fell to just under 5 minutes, 15 seconds, down from 5 minutes and 50 seconds for the week of July 19th. Additionally, online ad network Chikita says that according to their numbers, traffic to the site slid 34% between July 20 and 31.
That isn't to say that Google + won't become a viable platform for users and marketers. Rather, the current state of the platform highlights the dangers of wanting your brand to have a presence on a platform from the beginning. You may be there, but there's always the chance that your consumers will be just a few steps behind.
Think of social media like a party. Be quick to adopt platforms when it becomes clear that they're poised for growth, but be sure to be fashionably late. Nobody wants to be the first person at the party.