Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the obvious staples of the social media market today, each pulling upwards of 1.1 billion, 300 million, 140 million, and daily active users respectively, according to Statista. Some would argue that YouTube should be classified as a social media by now; others would say Google+ deserves a seat at the table (although there’s good reason not to). In traditional terms, however, these 3 are the platforms that marketers, investors, and the average media consumer have heavily leaned on for several years.
But the winds of change never stop blowing. Just this year, Snapchat’s daily users tripled to surpass Twitter at 150 million, and nearly two thirds were under 25. What caused Snapchat’s sudden inflation? At the most basic level, its simplicity and immediacy set it apart. It found its niche with millennials who demanded a format of sharing that Facebook and Twitter couldn’t offer.
Maybe this indicates that the days of social media monopoly are coming to an end. Since cross-sharing between platforms has become as simple as the push of a button and the average user is allocating more of their day to social media, they’re finding it easier and more enjoyable to use platforms designed for their specific interests. Here are a few up-and-coming social medias and how they’re using their key differentiators to gain mainstream momentum.
Better described as a “digital mall”, Wanelo is a shopping app that presents millions of products for purchase, from the biggest of brands to completely independent sellers. Users can buy right from the app, share items with friends, and save them for later consideration. Retailers can make their own verified profiles from which to market new or exclusively available products, and many are even adding a button for users to save an item right to Wanelo from their web store.
Wanelo is essentially spotlighting the social factor of shopping. Where existing online stores like Amazon mostly keep customers in their own private lanes, Wanelo mimics a marketplace in which you can plainly see what’s catching the eye of your friends and the general public.
Founded by actor Joseph Gordon Levitt, hitRECord is a social community designed entirely for creative collaboration. Amateur producers, musicians, writers, directors, etc. post their unfinished projects on the site, and either publicly invite any other creatives on the site to expound on it or work privately together based on the skills and vision they’re specifically looking for.
In this way, hitRECord acts somewhat like a classifieds site. But more than that, it relies the trust and open-mindedness of its users to create something they hadn’t expected, from the perspective of people they hadn’t previously worked with. hitRECord is ultimately designed for the development of creative ideas, and certainly makes social networking more tangible and actionable than before.
Steller is a visual storytelling app that lets users create albums of photos and videos, called stories. These stories function like a digital flip book or catalog of events from a certain time and place, which can be discovered by location or topic specific categories.
It’s no surprise that Steller has become a favorite for photographers, videographers, and journalists who are looking for a more complete way to present their work, as the app continues to fine tune its functionality and editing tools. If blogs draw their audiences in by telling stories through creative writing, Steller allows social media users to do the same with the nuances and accessibility of pictures and video.
In my last post, I talked about the increasing relevancy of location in social media and it seems Yik Yak has been on top of that trend for the past few years. Everything you post on Yik Yak is only visible to other app users within a 5-mile radius, forming a kind of virtual recreation of the community around you. This makes Yik Yak especially popular with college campus, small neighborhoods, and even corporate complexes.
Yik Yak communities, called “yaks”, act just as you’d expect in real life; local terminology and references are understood by everyone in it, and events in the area have ties to virtual discussion. We all love the feeling of boundlessly exploring the world online, but we also have a desire to keep connected to the people and places immediately around us—Yik Yak is built on that desire and serves to foster that sense of home, even from your phone.
Author Henry Donato
Henry Donato is a freelance copywriter, social media marketer and musician from Minneapolis, MN. He works with companies and agencies in such diverse industries as career coaching, food distribution, and eldercare.