I know, I know—another post about social media? Come on. This is too much. Social media does not matter that much to marketing. I’m going overboard. Well…maybe. But maybe since you’re here already I can make my point? It’ll be quick and painless, I promise.

Maybe social media doesn’t matter as much as other aspects right now, but consider the growth it has experienced in the last decade. In the past three years? Astronomical. This isn’t just the growth of Twitter or Facebook; it’s the growth of multiple networks. Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc. The list goes on, and those are just the ones that have gained traction. There are tons of others that are just blooming, and that is where some attention needs to be paid.

Loop, for example, is an app that allows you to poll friends and strangers. It has gained some traction, and while it’s not as famous as others, it’s certainly one to watch because it allows for unique interactions. Brands can use it in interesting ways, polling people about anything from their products to customer service, or unrelated things like local events. There are other apps that have similar unique potential, and it’s better to get in on the ground floor.

A new study from Business Insider indicates that the sooner a brand joins a social network, the better its odds of gaining a following on that network. Obviously that isn’t the end-all-be-all—constant activity and monitoring is required. But the basic mantra cannot be “wait and see” when it comes to new apps. It has to be “try it out.” You can always rein in your efforts if it’s not working out, but you can’t turn back time and jump in early.

A separate study done by IBM claims that companies with a deep understanding of their customers are 60% more likely to outperform their industry peers. Social media offers a solution to these problems as well, since you can monitor your social media performance with any of the myriad social media monitoring tools available (here’s a great list to choose the right one for you). Those who use these tools and implement marketing strategies via digital means fall into that 60% “outperformers” category. That’s not a coincidence.

In short, don’t knock it ‘til you try it. And that “try it” part should come early. If you’re on a network before the competition, you’ll have learned the ins-and-outs of it and be ahead of the curve.

Via: http://www.businessinsider.com/marketers-arent-paying-enough-attention-to-the-benefits-of-joining-social-networks-early-2014-3