Social media as we know it was first popularized in 2003. This was the year that Myspace & LinkedIn were founded, followed by Facebook in 2004, and so it goes. The ensuing years saw numerous platforms such as Twitter and Instagram thrive, while others like Myspace have struggled to survive.
The popular social media platforms are now populated by billions of people and many, many millions of companies are utilizing these platforms in an attempt to capture their users’ attention. While companies invest huge chunks of their marketing budgets into the popular platforms, now more than ever it is possible to diverge from the trend and begin to establish a presence on some of the “emerging” social media platforms.
Emerging social media platforms are all around us. When one platform becomes too popular and kids start seeing their parents and grandparents on Facebook, for example, they start looking elsewhere to interact. Because of this, there is an opportunity for emerging platforms to capture users that are migrating from the most popular platforms. This opportunity then extends onto businesses. Emerging social media platforms and communities can help any business get a head start on increasing and expanding their customer base due to the fact that many competitors are solely focused on the most popular ones. If you make use of these emerging platforms early on, you not only get cool points, but because the platform is new, the potential for a better ROI is there as well.
Currently, the bulk of social media dollars goes straight to Facebook and Twitter, and maybe a few other well-known platforms such as Instagram. So while most companies are flocking to these platforms for their obvious benefits, in the ever-evolving digital world, now is your chance to establish a presence on the newer platforms that could soon overthrow those that are currently popular. And if you choose wisely, you will be ahead of the curve when that time does come.
Here is a list my top 10 choices:
Chirpify is a platform that allows users to buy products using other platforms. Signing up for Chirpify may be done through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. A Chirpify account is linked to any major Debit / Credit Card, ACH Bank Account or PayPal as a payment system, and people make purchases using hashtags.
Companies make use of Chirpify by posting or tweeting product or service offers. They direct Chirpify account holders to make a purchase by responding to the post using action tags within their message. For example, a company offers a product or service using a post on Facebook, within that post will be action tags such as #buy #movie #tickets. A person with a Chirpify account then responds to the post with the proper hashtags included and the transaction is complete. Simple as that!
deviantArt is one of the oldest social media platforms around. Founded in 2000, it offers a community for like-minded artist to share their projects and ideas. Of the 30 million registered users, 80% are between the ages of 18-29, and there are about 65 million unique views a month.
Even though it has been around the longest, deviantArt has recently begun to attract brands to advertise their products, and often they use it for crowdsourcing among its users; brands are able to get ideas from some of the best and brightest artists available. Furthermore, Angelo Sotira, co-founder of deviantART, has stated that he wants to partner with numerous brands, so expect to see more companies taking advantage of this platform of artists.
Inbound.org is less of a social media platform and more of a community of thought leaders helping drive the conversation about digital marketing. Users are able to answer and ask questions, leave comments and stay up on the most current trends from the world of digital marketing and, more specifically, inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is marketing that aims to earn the trust and desire of a potential customer by offering them useful information, not to distract and dissuade them with oversaturated noise.
Inbound.org is included on this list because, like a social media platform, it is a community. This community, however, is very niche oriented. But still, and maybe even more so, Inbound.org can be very beneficial to businesses trying to further their digital marketing strategy.
Keepsake is an application that just launched last week and offers a great way to share stories with friends and family. As soon as I downloaded it and watched the video, I was sold! The video is everything a content piece should be, which is it tells a story and leaves the viewer wanting more. Keepsake works by automatically organizing the photos from your phone using their meta description. From there, you can add or subtract photos as you wish, once you have the story in place, you send the link to friends and family via text message and they receive it in a beautifully designed scrolling collage.
I included this application because I see the potential for this becoming a powerful platform as it moves into videos and begins to utilize other platforms for sharing. I see businesses taking advantage of this platform by learning from the Keepsake video and sharing their stories with consumers and leave them wanting more.
The creators of Twitter created Medium to share more than the 140 characters used on Twitter. Medium is essentially a high-end blogging site that is described by its founders as an extension of Twitter “A platform to exchange ideas, knowledge and stories.” Medium works much like a written blog on a website, but unlike many standalone websites, it offers a clean and neat interface and, more importantly, an audience. Topics are shared and commented on by people within the Medium community, giving your content a fighting chance to be seen and shared.
A company’s Medium profile should be clean and sharp, and provide a user-friendly experience to its viewers. The content that should be shared on Medium is not unlike other blogs in that it should inform and/or entertain. Medium users vote for their favorite posts within the site, and the more votes a piece receives, the more prominently it appears on the site. A Twitter account is required to get started on Medium.
Pheed draws attention of Instagram and Vine users by allowing users to share text, videos without a time limit, photos, music and voice notes. Labeled by Forbes as ‘the new Twitter,’ Mashable as ‘the next social craze,’ and Huffington Post as ‘the next generation of social media,’ Pheed was the most downloaded social media app and reached #7 as the most downloaded free app in 2013.
Businesses can benefit from Pheed by sharing content about their services and products. Broadcasts are also shared on this emerging platform, and the broadcasts offer pay-per-view marketing almost similar to pay-per-click used by search engines.
ShareBloc is aiming to build a community for like-minded professionals to share thoughts, questions and other pertinent content to help others within respected industries. ShareBloc shares information and comments much the same way that Reddit does, but solely for professional purposes. It is great for sharing content with like-minded people and can be a valuable platform for startup companies to share, ask and receive feedback.
Sina Weibo has been called a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter, and because China does not allow Facebook or Twitter to be accessed, Sina Weibo has been raking in all the benefits with more than 1 billion registered users and nearly 250 million monthly active users.
While some international brands and a few Western celebrities are able to take advantage, Sina Weibo can be difficult to navigate unless you speak Mandarin Chinese. Thankfully, there are sites such as Transfluent that help brands translate and post. However, in March 2014, Sina Weibo filed for its IPO in the United States, meaning that an English version may be coming soon (while also perhaps setting the stage for an international social media standoff).
Sulia is another hybrid between a blog and news platform. Some have likened it to a mix between Pinterest and Twitter, however, Sulia surpasses other social media platforms for businesses with its content channels. The content channels, like sports and entertainments, or digital marketing, for example. Experts within each industry are then asked to contribute to their respective channels, and the post are then shared via Twitter, Facebook etc. Sulia offers a community of thought leaders in a variety of fields all in one convenient location.
Twylah is a social media tool, but is still certainly worth mentioning. Twylah can be used by businesses to grade their social media presence on Twitter. Essentially, you set a goal on the things you want your brand to be associated with. Once this is complete, you will be given an assessment and some direction for how to achieve your set goals.
So there you have it, 10 emerging social media platforms, communities and tools for businesses.
Let me know if I missed any in the comments section below.