BY DREW HENDRICKS
If you are still depending on Facebook for audience engagement, you are sure to still reach some of your customers. But you may not have realized that that majority may be abandoning the long-loved social media platform for new waters — those beyond Instagram and Snapchat. Pay attention to these emerging social media platforms if you want to stay connected to your customers and prospects.
Here’s a roundup of some of the social media platforms that I’ve been trying out to determine how they might be usable in my own marketing endeavors.
Dust (aka Cyber Dust)
Started by Mark Cuban, Dust is more about texting than social media. But I’ve added it to the list because it does have relevance to the changing communications channels that are driving how we interact with each other. Similar to Snapchat, what you say on this platform disappears quickly and cannot be traced. There is no way to screenshot a conversation either. You can tap the discover button to connect with other companies, add your own company and have Dust members engage with you. The chatters tab includes topics where you can talk with others.
Think of it as a way to do real-time conversations with your audience and working within their growing need for immediate responses. At the same time, it offers confidentiality, which certain businesses and audiences may appreciate more than others. Since messages disappear quickly, you and your audience might continue to “dust” each other longer than if the audience knew the message could be there days later for them to respond to.
Whisper is a more of a social app than Dust, but it also offers significant privacy and anonymity that many want to maintain in the virtual world. For this reason, it has become known as a dark social platform. This hasn’t stopped companies from getting involved with their customers and prospects on this platform.
In fact, the company has added an advertising component that allows you to deliver organic, creative, and unique advertising formats on their platform and get in front of what could be an entirely different audience segment that was never interested in sites like Facebook.
This has been the go-to social media app in China and has been used for communicating with peers by businesses looking to engage with customers and prospects. It’s also a platform for sending money, making money, and having group chats. According to WeChat, more than 900 million people use it. With its WeChat Pay and WeChat Wallet, it offers an ideal way to sell to prospects while engaging in conversations with them and learning more about what they are looking for from brands.
While majority who use this social media platform are in China or Asia, they are global consumers that continue using it while living in the United States and other countries. This gives you a new world of opportunity for transactions. Consider these three types of business accounts depending on how you want to use the social media service. Be sure to study them and use the app for a while to understand how it’s being used and what these new consumers want from you.
We Heart It
We Heart It can be compared to sites like Tumblr and Pinterest in terms of the focus on visual communications over text. The site is growing quickly and has an audience of primarily teens and women under the age of 24 who are attracted to the emphasis on visual arts such as fashion. This would make it an ideal site for certain startups and niche businesses that are currently targeting this demographic. That’s not to say that other businesses should ignore it — the social media platform is geared toward attracting a more diverse audience as it expands.
Medium is not a new company, but it is new in revamping itself from a publisher focus to a social media platform, which provides new opportunities for your business to interact with audience members. The site has evolved into a hosting platform that allows users to share their content and interact with other content publishers on the site, building a community of businesses, brands and entrepreneurs that can engage with each other. This creates opportunities for new business and a way to enhance brand reputation among a larger community that is seeking thought leadership on various topics.
Research and plan your expanded social media strategy
Not every social media platform will work for your business. Do considerable research to determine the demographic that primarily uses each platform and find out what they are seeking from that channel before you jump on there and start spending resources. Finding that alignment first is critical to optimizing the results you can get from your social media strategy, including understanding the existing conversations and topics. In that way, you can get involved and engaged more quickly and start building your community where the majority of your audience is spending their time.