There always seems to be some hot, new social network on the block, gaining popularity among consumers and media. With each, marketers ask how the platform will benefit their businesses — and whether they should even be on it at all?
When brands create presences on new social platforms, what’s important isn't registering an account, but rather, the innovative ways they choose to use the tools. Here are five new social platforms gaining traction with consumers. Learn how your brand can best leverage them.
Last month, Twitter launched new mobile app Vine, which allows users to record six-second clips of looped video. The app quickly became popular with consumers, rising to the top of the iTunes App Store, and brands didn't hesitate to jump on board.
Urban Outfitters was the first brand to create a vine, a video of puppies. MSNBC revealed what goes down in its newsroom; a local coffee shop showed how to make a latte; and Wheat Thins used Vine to interact with fans during the Super Bowl.
Vine presents new opportunities for unique visual content and storytelling — the time constraints require marketers to expand their imaginations. Rather than investing in a longer form commercial or YouTube video, with Vine, your brand can easily humanize itself, by giving an insider’s look into the company, while providing value.
2. The (New) Myspace
Last year, Myspace was resuscitated and transformed into a hub for creative content, specifically for music. With an extensive library of songs, the new site is a platform for consumers to connect with artists and brands, to discover and share music, photos and videos.
It’s an obvious fit for brands in the music industry, but for many brands, the new Myspace provides an opportunity to delve deeper and create greater personality, connect with consumers on a more personal and relevant level with easily shareable content.
For example, marketers can create brand-related playlists, give users a behind-the-scenes look with photos and videos, and share exclusive content with fans that interact the most. Myspace is currently integrated with Facebook and Twitter, with plans to integrate Pinterest and Instagram soon. With those kinds of expanding ecommerce opportunities, Myspace potential is truly exciting for brands.
This pay-as-you-go social network is quickly gaining traction among consumers. Launched in the fall of 2012, Pheed has well over a million users, popular among artists, photographers, filmmakers, actors and teens.
Pheed asks users to create their own channels, from which they can share text, photos, videos, audio and live broadcasts. The network gives influencers the option to charge for content, with the theory that this allows for higher quality content. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus are already on board, but some companies are hesitant to jump in quite yet.
But Pheed offers the “bonus features” of social media, permitting loyal consumers the chance to get inside, with exclusive access to beloved brands.
Mobile app Snapchat blew up during the beginning of 2013. The app, which allows users to send photo messages that self-destruct after several seconds, proved incredibly popular with consumers, but didn’t seem to provide an opportunity for marketers.
One brand, however, decided to test the waters. Frozen yogurt company 16 Handles experimented with Snapchat as a promotional tool with its “Snappy New Year” campaign. The campaign, modeled after scratch-off discount cards, encouraged the company’s Facebook fans to send “snaps” of their froyo purchases to the 16 Handles Snapchat account. Customers then received a coupon via Snapchat to be redeemed at the register. The campaign was originally planned for Twitter, but 16 Handles community manager Adam Britten deemed Snapchat more fitting; this way, the coupons couldn’t be copied and circulated.
While some marketers hesitate to jump quickly into brand new platforms, Snapchat provides the perfect example that taking a risk in the spirit of innovative solutions can really pay off.
Mobile app Thumb is crowdsourcing at its best. Users simply upload a photo and ask fellow users to share their opinions on a specific topic — with a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Thumb is generating serious engagement among consumers, who are clocking in around four hours a month, second only to Facebook. While consumers use the app to get feedback on things like shoes, Thumb offers opportunities for marketers, too. Gain customer feedback by posing a question to users, or demonstrate thought leadership by offering your company’s expertise, then ask customers' thumbs up or down.
While every social platform isn’t necessarily a fit for every brand, keeping tabs on consumer trends allows marketers to constantly consider how to best engage with their audiences and provide more valuable content. Remember to experiment and don’t be afraid to jump in. Put your customers first, offer them value on whatever platforms you choose — and your brand will benefit.