Early social media adopters will benefit most.

I remember a client telling me that they were tired of being on the ‘bleeding edge’.

They were referring of course to the term ‘Leading Edge’ characterizing organizations that are at the forefront in their industry either by implementing cutting edge innovation or developing it.

Although innovative product developers used to find that they often had a long waiting period after releasing a new product before their market warmed to it, these days technology is developing so rapidly that it’s speeding up that time lag to such an extent that it’s often virtually non-existent.

Case in point: Social Media.  The capabilities and the scope of social media to change business as we know it is recognized by most of us in the Social Media  industry.  Of course, we can’t wait to implement all these amazing innovations even before they are available.

Social Media is so ubiquitous that it’s sometimes strange to remember that there are organizations out there who know very little about it and can’t imagine why they should be involved.

What’s even stranger is when you see whole industries that lag behind because of some sort of inertia that seems to hold them captive. I’m not talking about small businesses who struggle to find the time and resources to use basic social media platforms, I’m talking about big companies that spend millions on advertising.

Some industries are so hesitant to become involved in this new media that their members are looking for ways to break out from the suffocating confines of red tape in order to be able to connect with their markets more efficiently and meaningfully.

The financial industry is a prime example. Goldman Sachs invested heavily in Facebook just days ago – yet they don’t participate in any social media activities that I can see.  No Facebook or Twitter account to be found.

FINRA the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has a twitter account but no Facebook account – although there is a FINRA page which appears to be only a Wikipedia article and some miscellaneous Friend posts, not an officially run page by FINRA itself.

After working with Financial Planners for some years, I know that the regulations governing what they say are like a minefield, however it would be very beneficial to the industry as a whole if they mad some rulings about how their members can utilize Social Media.  It’s a platform that is not going away and it’s where their clients are interacting.

The fact is that the sooner businesses get to grips with Social Media, the sooner they will be able to take advantage of the incredible power to meet their customers on common ground.  As in any emerging industry, it’s the early adopters who are seen as the innovators – and in this instance – as the ones who care enough about their customer’s preferences to change the way they do business in order to be of greater service and benefit.

While there are obviously pitfalls in Social Media marketing, they are not insurmountable.  A good dose of common sense helps avoid the most obvious.  Fear of making a mistake should not be allowed to cripple legitimate growth.