The pros and cons of all the major social networks have been covered thoroughly by blogs and news outlets time and time again.
Every time a new social media platform emerges, speculation rises and trendsetting tech fans race to jump on the bandwagon.
First we learn what is new and special about each social network, and how it’s going to be the next big thing. After the waters are tested, we then figure out how to exploit the platform for marketing purposes. The users are the core of every social media platform and every marketer and advertiser is trying to get their bite. The problem is that the very fact that social media is driven by the masses—the users, and not the advertisers. If the platform proves unsuitable for businesses and brands to utilize, then their efforts are wasted. Here we will break down some of the new and noteworthy social media platforms out there, and hopefully we will guide you into finding where your time and effort will be best spent.
“Ello is a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers. We originally built Ello as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use.” Ello is a sleek, minimalistic site that boasts its status as a private, invite only (but inevitably to become public) network for artist and designers. It attracts the users that want to be ahead of the curve. The user that wants to claim that they were there before it “got popular”. But under the surface, what is it that sets Ello apart besides being cool and elite?
Ello promises that it is ad-free and does not sell the information of its users—and always will be. Essentially it wants to be what Facebook isn’t, and wants to draw in former Facebook users that are sick of their personal information being capitalized on. So since as a business you can’t place ads on Ello, is there any reason to bother with it? Well, first of all, it has been shown that early adopters of social media platforms fare better than those who join later on. Secondly, who knows how long Ello will actually be able to stay afloat without selling ads? Business Insider found that this is true and that it isn’t just about being the most clever and engaging, it’s about getting there early and “keeping the lights on” when you want a large following. This is one reason for brands to adopt any social media network early. Join Ello if you think tech savvy artists, designers and hipsters are the audience you want to target. You won’t have much to lose by at least setting up a profile and claiming your space.
Quora is an interesting beast. Upon first examination, it looks like a combination of Twitter, Pinterest, and Ask.com, but it comes together in an engaging and elegant way. Quora is a platform where you can designate yourself as an expert on certain topics and you can follow topics that you are interested in. A user will post a question in a specific topic, and if you are an “expert” the question will come up in your feed and you will be able to answer it. As a business, this is a beautifully simple way to directly connect with people who are seeking information in your area of expertise! This is exactly what many are trying to do with content marketing. Quora is just giving you a more direct and personal platform on which to do this. The social atmosphere of Quora is anonymous and conversational, like Reddit, but it is positive and the users and contributors are there for genuine reasons.
Quora is a little tricky, because you will turn off users if you are self-promotional. It is more about establishing yourself as an expert and contributing to the community, rather than pushing your brand. But, if you are contributing genuinely useful information, you WILL get noticed and people will notice your business as a result. If you run a business, then you are obviously some kind of authority in your industry, so give Quora a shot. Even if it doesn’t bring in any business, by answering questions you will be exercising your ability to speak on your topic matter, which will help you in other arenas down the road.
Snapchat is a mobile social media service that allows users to “snap” pictures and videos that can be viewed by their friends for a finite amount of time (usually a matter of seconds) before they disappear. While the true permanence of these “snaps” has been debated, the draw of Snapchat has been the feeling of privacy within the network. You can send anything on Snapchat—it can be funny, risqué, embarrassing, low quality, or whatever—it doesn’t matter because it will be gone and never exposed to the public. On top of this, Snapchat so far has been relatively free of advertising and other use by businesses.
I might be going against the grain here on this one, but I think that Snapchat is one platform that brands should leave alone. Because of the nature of it, as soon as advertising finds it way in (which should be any day now) Snapchat will lose its appeal. Snapchat is what it is and has a good thing going for it and its users. Inserting advertisements as a way to monetize snaps will cheapen the experience and ultimately drive away users. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which you can scroll for hours, Snapchat does not demand constant, continuous attention. When it loses its coolness, the interest in it will quickly disappear (just like “snaps!”).
Medium is a blogging platform that was released in 2012 by the founders of Twitter. Users can write and contribute on any topic that they want. It’s all about freely sharing stories and ideas. Unlike other platforms, there are no followers or subscribers. The good thing about this is that the reach of an article is not limited to just who chooses to follow you. If your ideas and content are good, they will be shared amongst a wide audience. The interface of Medium is elegant, simple, and seamlessly responsive across devices. It makes designing an article as easy as dropping in the text and photos—and it instantly looks great. Medium is focused on having its users create engaging and quality writing that can then be shared across other social media networks.
So what’s with Medium and why would you want to use it over other blogging platforms? The answer isn’t quite clear yet. Medium is a small network and might remain that way. However, if you like the look and feel of it and have quality content then it might be worth a try. The emphasis would have to be on creating truly interesting articles that would appeal to a wide audience. If your content can live up to that, then there’s a chance that it could be curated by Medium to be shown to a wide audience of users, who may follow it to your blog. Because of the nature of the platform, it might be best for casual writers and isn’t an imperative for marketers quite yet.
If your goal is to reach the highest number of people in the most efficient way, it is a good idea to stick to the core social media networks for now. If you really don’t have the time to be experimenting with new and untested platforms, then stick to what you know! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ are not going away any time soon. However, if you do have the extra time and want to target those trendsetting users and early adapters, then by all means try it out! You could be one of the first brands on the next big thing.