Who Are the Social Early Birds?

Adorable early bird imageA product marketing executive for whom I once worked asked me the question: “You know how the game is played right?” As I remained silent for a few seconds, he went on to answer his own question advising, “it’s not necessarily about bringing a perfect idea or product to the market.  Often, whoever gets there first wins.”

Over the years, that advice has stuck with me.  I’ve never forgotten his suggestion that seizing share early in a new market space can make a huge difference in the long-term success of a product and the organization that brings the product to life.

No doubt, to sustain and grow market share, a company must ensure its product continually provides tangible value to the market, but it does seem logical that starting from a leading position rather than from the position of a chaser could help ensure a product’s success and a company’s competitive position.  Playing catch-up usually isn’t fun.

Over the past few years, countless organizations and individuals have been “staking their claims” and rushing to establish a head-start presence in the new social media landscape.  Do you know which organizations have succeeded so far?

The 2010 book, “Branded! How Retailers Engage Consumers with Social Media and Mobility,” highlights examples of several major retail organizations, like Starbucks and Zappos, who embraced the social market space early in the game.

And, what about individuals who jumped into the social media space early?

I’d like to share the name of one early bird blogger who I know personally.  I entered the world of blogging in January of 2008 and have been thinking that I might be considered an early adopter, but Ian Willams, a fellow University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill grad, has me beat by six years.  Ian, co-author of the non-fiction bestseller, “13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail,” has authored his personal blog at www.xtcian.com since 2002!

What about you?  Can you share the names of organizations or individuals who you think have already established a lead in the social media game?  I’d love to hear who you think is out in front and whether you think early bird status in the social media world makes a difference when it comes to competitive advantage.

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