Embrace the Experimental

By: Sara Urquhart of Alt Summit; Photo by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

With constant innovations in technology and social media, the online space is always evolving. The fact that you’re working online implies a willingness to try things that are new and different, and this includes using the space in experimental ways.

It’s one thing to follow another brand or individual’s lead to social media success, but if you want to be the brand or individual at the forefront, at the cutting edge, then you have to experiment with new ideas, new platforms, and new approaches. Embrace this aspect of business (or hire people who do). 

Think about brands that adopted Facebook early on. They gained great advantages over brands that didn’t (and the same is true of individuals who’ve been active on almost any social platform in its early stages). The first brands on Facebook enjoyed the flexibility to experiment with contests and promotions before they were mainstream, and they had a huge lead-time on building a strong following.

When Pinterest was fairly new, the first contest I saw was a clothing company that had followers pin their favorite outfits. The brand was trying something new with a new platform. They couldn’t have predicted the success of that campaign because there wasn’t a track record to measure against.

Experiment with a new idea, and judge its success by how much you learn from it. Make improvements and then try again. There’s a lot to be said for following good examples, but I think there’s even more value in blazing your own trail.