By Brad Groznik
Have you heard of Meerkat? It’s the latest and greatest social media platform. Actually, Meerkat is over – long live Periscope!
If you’re a business owner, this is exactly what it feels like to keep up with the current trends in social media. During South by Southwest (SXSW), just last March, Meerkat, an app that allows users to live-stream video to other users, was heralded as the next big thing. Tech journalists emoted about how the app was catching fire at the event and would have tens of millions of users in no time. This media frenzy led brands to scramble to start using the app and be part of the next wave of social media.
Then just four days after SXSW, Twitter launched an almost identical service called Periscope but with one big difference – Twitter’s app already had 288 million active users. It rocketed up the U.S. iPhone download charts and was No. 30 by April 1. In that same time, Meerkat crashed from No. 140 to 523 and, today, is considered dead.
So what can you learn from Meerkat as a business leader?
For starters, don’t pay attention to the hype. Tech media moves a mile a minute and depending on what day you happen to check out TechCrunch, Engadget or Gizmodo – there’s always a new hot app or a startup on the verge of breaking out. Sometimes this creates a hype bubble that pops once reality sets in. Apps that change business strategies like Twitter and Dropbox develop their audience over years, not weeks.
Don’t spread yourself too thin by chasing trends. In today’s media-rich world, it’s nearly impossible to stay up on everything – so before attempting to take advantage of a current trend, make sure you know what you would like to get out of it and that it matches your current business strategy.
Listen to your audience. The media’s job is to cover what’s new and trending. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the audience you want to reach is interested in what’s happening on the blogs. Have conversations with your audience about what they’re into and, if it makes sense, invest your time in those areas.
Those are just a few takeaways. What trends have you caught yourself chasing?