All social media platforms started out as emerging networks: some have grown faster than others in recent years. Here’s a look at some of the leading emerging social networks in 2015:
- Snapchat: A mobile app, Snapchat enables users to share photos, videos and texts at no charge. What differentiates Snapchat from other visually oriented social media platforms is longevity: the message disappears from the recipient’s mobile device in just a few seconds.
- Vine: Also a free mobile app, Vine enables users to create and share short looping videos. Owned by Twitter, Vine similarly limits its video clip messaging length to no longer than six seconds.
- Chirp: Chirp offers some interesting and practical networking applications and opportunities for event marketers. Chirp sends links, notes and photos using sound and the speaker on your mobile device. Chirp items can also be shared on Twitter and Facebook.
- Ello: Initially launched as a private network, Ello is currently available to public users on an invitation-only basis. Ello eschews the Facebook ad model and instead proffers an ad-free social network. Since social networks generally rely on advertising income, time will tell if Ello really has legs.
- Tumblr: While Tumblr isn’t as new as some other platforms, its versatility and the traction it has recently gained is worth noting. Tumblr is a micro blogging platform and social media site, allowing users to easily share all types of media from text to links, photos and video. Sponsored video and trending blog posts can also increase follower traffic.
“One size fits all” does not apply to social media strategy or to your selection of platform presence. Marketers are sometimes frustrated by a seemingly low return on their social media investment when perhaps they aren’t reaching the right audience in the first place. How can meeting marketers determine if these or other emerging networks are worthwhile? Here are some strategies to consider:
- Do your research – regularly: Platform user metrics can sometimes be difficult to find and don’t always reveal the full data you’re seeking. Social media networks – both established and new – strive to increase their number of users and member engagement by adding new features on a regular basis. To learn more about a specific social media platform, its user demographics as well as planned and recent site enhancements, visit the “Press” or “Business” tabs of the website. This information is often nestled underneath the “About” tab. Understanding a platform’s features will help you to decide if it’s the right fit for your group.
- Start small: Choose one or two sites that either match your current attendee profile or an elusive demographic (e.g. Generation Y) that you wish to attract to your meeting.
- Know your audience: Do your attendees read blogs or prefer quick bytes of information? Some individuals draw distinct lines on how they consume social media: Facebook may be for personal and not professional use, for example. Survey your members, customers and prospects at least once a year to understand where and how they spend their time on social media.
It is also important to remember that a social media campaign is a marathon and not a sprint. Meeting marketers may not and likely won’t see dramatic results from efforts launched on the newest of social media platforms. By the same token, however, it’s wise to refrain from making any long-terms plans for any emerging social network: technology changes rapidly, platforms need time to gain traction and some new platforms fail altogether. Evaluate a network’s growth trajectory on a quarterly and annual basis to help determine if it’s the right fit for your organization and your meetings.