In a recent article at Marketing Profs, Lorel Wilhelm-Volpi raised the interesting topic of early adoption in the social media landscape. What she described was a sort of dream scenario for social marketing, in which a company or individual secures a foothold on an emerging platform before it has become oversaturated with competitors. If managed correctly, this sort of early adoption can lead to tremendous long-term returns.

The trouble is that relevant opportunities come along only very rarely, and even when they do, there is no guarantee that your social marketing strategy will effectively take advantage of them. But this is not to say that such opportunities are so vanishingly rare that you can count them out. And it is certainly not to say that you can’t tailor your social marketing strategy in a way that maximizes your prospects for a massive, early impact.

Wilhelm-Volpi highlights the case of Instagram, which has been around for a while, but acquired massive popularity much more recently than the social marketing giants that are Facebook and Twitter. The window for early adoption in the case of Instagram was very narrow. Its user base climbed from one million to ten million in under a year. But even then, social marketing professionals had gradually diminishing opportunities to get onboard long before the platform exceeded 500 million users in 2016.

This goes to show that while a social marketing campaign is unlikely to spot the next big thing at the moment of its inception, the more vigilant you are in monitoring the entire social media landscape, the better your odds will be for beating the rush. Opportunities for later adoption are not as exciting as the prospect of being the first social marketing campaign to take off on tomorrow’s Facebook. But they are nonetheless significant and cannot be discounted.

Still, as the Marketing Profs article indicates, constant attention to tech news is required for you to recognize emerging trends, to say nothing of anticipating them before they actually begin to emerge. Wilhelm-Volpi recommends adding certain news sites and community forums to your daily reading routine. But for the vast majority of people – especially those who are running businesses that need the benefits of effective social marketing – this is sure to sound exhausting, if not downright impossible.

In that sense, wouldn’t you be better off partnering with a social marketing agency whose job description includes keeping abreast of new developments in the social media landscape? Carefully choosing such a partner is often a much better means to both early adoption and effective social media management than trying to master the field all on your own. But it is important that when entrusting someone else with your social marketing campaign, you thoroughly vet their knowledge of the industry and also make it clear that you don’t just want to follow the pack on Facebook, but would rather broaden your horizons.

Challenge your social marketing team with the task of introducing you to new audiences on new platforms, and you just might get lucky when they come to you with the next big thing in social media.