Popular Social Networks You Might Not Have Heard Of
You know about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But there are other social networks exploding with popularity that you might not have heard about, but if you want to stay on top of the social media marketing world they should be on your radar.
WhatsApp is a messaging service that boasts over 1.5 billion monthly active users and was purchased by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion. Until 2017, the app only allowed for users to message each other or in groups, but it has since rolled out a feature for users to be able to message and interact with brands. WhatsApp allows for messages and calls to be sent completely over the internet without the need for cell towers or SMS. This fed into the app’s popularity in areas where SMS service is spotty at best, making it popular across the world.
I’ve written previously about how the future of social media will look to more personal one-on-one interactions, and WhatsApp appears to be the leader for this change. Users are increasingly more willing to message brands one-on-one. According to Nielsen’s Facebook Messaging Survey, 67% of users said they expect to use chat more for communicating with businesses over the next two years and 53% of respondents say they’re more likely to shop with a business they can message directly.
TikTok is a video sharing app that allows users to publish 15 second videos. Similar to Vine! (RIP Vine.) It kicked off in Asia under the name Douyin and came to America in 2017. Its popularity turned it into the most downloaded app in October 2018 and it has approximately 500 million monthly active users.
As TikTok continues to expand on its incredible popularity, expect to start seeing more and more brands begin to join in on the fun. Burger King jumped out of the gate early and launched a campaign asking users to share TikTok videos of themselves trying to lick their elbows for free food. TikTok is also slowly becoming a hotbed for new influencers; brands wishing to reach younger audiences will no doubt begin to take advantage of this app as they have on Instagram.
Twitch is a live-streaming platform that is primarily used to broadcast video game streams. It has approximately 15 million daily active users and was purchased by Amazon in 2014 for close to $1 billion. Twitch is unique because unlike some other social networks, community building is built right into its functionality. Users can follow each other, join groups, send each other direct messages, and chat with fellow viewers during a live stream. They can’t leave permanent replies or @mention each other in comment threads, two capabilities that we’ve come to expect from social media platforms but Twitch enables a more fluid form of collaborative content creation.
Brands are still finding a way to best capitalize on Twitch. They can purchase ads and partner with Twitch influencers, but only a few have made their own channel for streaming. Wendy’s, world-renowned for their social media marketing at this point, has started doing their own video game streaming on Twitch, recently doing so to promote their Baconator to moderate success. The Washington Post has also used Twitch to hold open forums and take questions from readers on big developing stories.
How do these up and coming social networks fit into the future for social media marketing? Check out my blog on the future of social media in 2019 here.