Many businesses today set up Facebook pages or Twitter profiles, but just a few years ago they were asking “why social media.” Now businesses have learned the power of social media and have become active on platforms that are over a decade old: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
The value of emerging social media platforms is now being questioned. History repeats itself. Snapchat and Periscope, for example, get mixed reviews because their impact can’t be measured in traditional ways.
Businesses go back to the question they seem to ask every few years: why should I learn about these new social media platforms? You should be in the know even if you don’t plan to set up a business profile any time soon. Below are three reasons why.
The new influences the old
Behaviors and features in emerging networks influence existing networks. You may have a Facebook Page and wonder why you should care about newer social media platforms. The truth is that older platforms adopt ideas and features from the newer platforms to avoid becoming obsolete.
Vine, a social network for short videos, launched in June 2012. It became increasingly popular over the next year. In June 2013, Instagram introduced video, and in January 2015, Twitter introduced video. Now, short video loops are ubiquitous. Vine’s success proved to older platforms the power of a new method for video sharing.
Launched in 2009, Foursquare has influenced the trend of geotagging photos and social checkins. Traditionally, photos allowed users to tag people, dates, and even keywords, but now tagging a location is just as important.
The old acquires the new
Some emerging networks will be acquired by established networks. Sometimes the new platform works seamlessly with—or its functionality is adopted by—the old platform.
For example, in 2012 Facebook acquired Instagram and Twitter acquired Vine. That same year, LinkedIn acquired SlideShare and now many people embed their SlideShare presentations in their LinkedIn profiles.
The new becomes the old
The best reason to pay attention to emerging social media platforms is that some of those platforms will survive to be large, established networks. Just look at Instagram's and Tumblr’s success. Those who were early adopters of Periscope gained followers more quickly because they were part of a small population that started broadcasting live video, and they get more engagement and success because they’ve had more time to practice and learn what works and what doesn’t.