If there was ever a time to start branching out your social media marketing efforts, then surely it has to be at the start of a New Year. And since this will be my last post for January, this really is the last opportunity I have to bang the New Year blogging drum (I call it the ‘blongo’), and so why not mark the occasion by welcoming a couple of the brand new players onto the social scene?
Of course, new social networks pop up all the time. For instance, it wasn’t so long ago that I was writing a post for this very blog about some newbies on the market – see ‘Getting Paid For Your Posts: 3 Social Networks That Reward Content With Cash’. However, not very many of them actually break through to become embedded within the social media marketer’s daily schedule as a matter of course.
In fact, most of them do not. I think it’s fair to say that nearly all of us will use Facebook and Twitter to market our brands. Most of us will also be on board with LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Slightly fewer will be meddling with the likes of YouTube, Instagram, Vine and Tumblr. And fewer still will have taken up the hottest of the new kids on the block, Periscope.
Beyond those first and faithful ten, any other social networks that fall into a brand’s repertoire will largely be on an ad hoc basis. That is to say that if, for instance, your brand is using Meerkat and it’s working for you, that’s great! But, it’ll be an uphill struggle to convince the rest of us – not least because the user base simply isn’t there.
Indeed – and I will happily eat my words on this front should I turn out to be wrong – but I personally don’t really see another social network emerging that will meaningfully enter social media marketers’ repertories on a mass scale in 2016. The fact is, we’ve kind of got everything that we need.
In Facebook, we’ve got the reach and the numbers (up to 1.55 billion active monthly users at Statista’s last count). In Twitter we’ve got the brevity. In LinkedIn we’ve got the professionalism. Pinterest, the cataloguing of goods. YouTube, Vine and Periscope, the videos. In Instagram we’ve got the imagery (and more videos, too, of course). Then we’ve got our own blogs for written content – plus Tumblr if we fancy doing a bit more. We’ve also got Google+ for…. SEO, I suppose.
Personally, I think that covers pretty much everything (apart from sound or audio, actually – will 2016 produce a SoundCloud with great enough penetration for the marketer?). But, that’s not to say that your individual business won’t make some great use out of some of the more obscure offerings that are out there. Indeed, particularly if there is a local concentration of dedicated users, you may very well catch on to a trick that most of your competitors will be missing – so long as you’re willing to give something new a try. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at what’s on the horizon for 2016.
2 New Social Networks To Consider For 2016
Described by some as a cross between Twitter and Slack, Peach has enjoyed a lot of hype since it came out at the start of the month. Practically every media outlet has covered the release – from The Guardian to Wired to Mashable to the BBC. So, will it really be the next big contender on the social scene?
Well, personally, I don’t think it will, despite the initial hype. For my money, Peach isn’t a cross between Twitter and Slack at all – rather it’s just like Twitter, but not as good.
That being said, it does have some potential for the marketer. Not least in its ‘Magic Words’ function.
When typing up an update, you can activate special types of posts by writing the magic or trigger words. The trigger words currently supported I list for you below, courtesy of the Peach support page. As you will infer, the magic words let you add GIFs, your location, the current weather condition, battery charge on your smartphone, and even create your own doodles, as well as other functions besides.
- gif – Search for a GIF
- here – Add current location
- shout – Say something with big words
- draw – Draw something
- goodmorning – Say good morning
- goodnight – Say good night
- song – Identify a song w/ your phone’s microphone
- rate – Rate something 1-5 stars
- battery – Current charge %
- weather – Add current weather
- move – Add movement today (steps, miles, etc.)
- events – # of events today
- safari – Open browser to search for link
- dice – Roll the dice
- time – Add current time
- date – Add current date
- movie – Add movie
- tv – Add TV show
- game – Add video game
- book – Add book
So, you can see how it might be a bit of fun from a user’s perspective, which may indeed mean that this thing takes off. And, if it does, then there will undoubtedly be a slew of brands jumping aboard the platform – presumably saying things IN BIG WORDS, drawing pictures and rolling dice. But, you never know, this just might be the thing that defines your business in 2016.
Now Blab, currently in beta, is more likely to appeal to marketers. The concept is simple. Using webcams, 2-4 people lead a topic-driven conversation, and, concurrently, a sideline chat bar runs alongside, allowing for audience participation. The live aspect certainly owes a debt to Periscope, and forms the perfect platform for many marketing ‘discussions’ to take place.
Indeed, webinars could essentially be broadcast via the platform, interviews, how-tos, workshops, anything. In fact, the network is already quite large, and there are many brands and marketers already using the site to exactly this effect.
Personally, I’m a fan, as I am of Periscope – and I think the two combined (not to mention Facebook Mentions) do really show that the future of video on the web is all about live connections and interactions. If blogging is all about adding value to your brand by giving away free information, then Blab adds oodles of this value as an audience can ask live questions to get the precise information that they want, rather than us authors just giving you the information that we think you need.
What other new social networks have popped up recently? We’d love to hear your views on them, especially concerning their potential for marketers. Please share your thoughts below.