The global health crisis rattled our foundations and most businesses had to rapidly rethink their day-to-day operations in addition to how they present themselves and connect their brand to the world.
With the digital world being so incredibly nimble, adapting quickly to real world events with minimal real-time lag, new contenders have been spat out into the field at breathtaking speed, each with a unique offering that your business can leverage to its advantage.
This shift in how everyone connects, with meetings replaced by Zoom calls and live concerts being replaced by artists sharing their Live Streams, has seen both consumers and vendors becoming more comfortable than ever in engaging with each other digitally; brands, bands and people connecting without leaving their homes.
Whether you are tracking the evolution of the established platforms or keeping an eagle eye on what’s on the horizon, here are several technological tidbit that will help keep you ahead of the social media blade.
Facebook and Instagram continue to dominate the landscape but how they are used is changing, reflective of the times and competition. Cross platform pollination will continue to increase, with an uptick of the ‘ethereal’ vanishing messages of Snapchat and the visually tangible TikTok being shared via Instagram and Facebook stories.
TikTok continues its gung-ho growth and Snapchat is still strong, the Twitter-sphere continues at a steady pace but there are there some contenders for the prize.
Whatever the platform, video content is undoubtably king with visible growth and engagement. There has a been a study increase in people using the Stories feature to drive engagement as well as those using native messenging apps to send video messages to give digital communication a more human touch.
The Year of the Lockdown has created an audience that is very used to interacting with brands without leaving home and on the back of that we strongly recommend paying attention to your strategy and how you deliver your message, whether that is through LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or a mix of everything.
The other things to keep an eye are Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). MacDonald’s is onboard so you know it’s serious.
Whether you are an “anxious abstainer” or an early adopter in the Social Space, there can be a sense of overwhelm when trying to navigate each new app. Here is a breakdown of who’s who in the App zoo.
Used for creating and sharing short form videos, this platform has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, with over 500 million users worldwide. Yes, you read that correctly.
It got us through lockdowns by ‘challenging’ us to do silly dances with people we didn’t know and now businesses are tapping into their creative side to send out interesting, fun and engaging content.
The app is a bit of hybrid in design taking the best of the Apps you know; filters á la SnapChat, hearts equaling likes, the all too familiar ‘follow’ function, a twist on hashtags, autoplay that smacks of IGTV, vertical scrolling not unlike a feed and challenges. Oh, the challenges.
It works for businesses because the algorithm throws your content in front of audiences that are receptive to your message. Brilliant.
If you haven’t played with it yet, do try Tik Tok. It is a very effective marketing tool. And it’s fun.
If you are selling courses, this is a fabulous way to connect with people who are applying for grants or those who rely on grants to put their learning. There is a load of video tutorials helping people navigate the academic landscape.
Houseparty is the fun version of Zoom; with a bunch of people in boxes, drinking and dancing. It boomed at the height of the lockdown but with socialising happening in the wild again, the video-chatting app is more likely to be used by gamers, particularly with the ‘Fortnite’ feature.
This one has been around for at least 5 years now and while not a huge platform with 10 million users, it has been consistent in producing lots of LiveStream content and tends to be angled towards a more professional crowd.
It has been a little over a year since Clubhouse exploded into our App Stores, a glittering haven of exclusivity with its ‘Invite Only’ door policy combined with only being available to users with latest iPhone, and a sudden cult following of celebs such as Elon Musk jumping on the bandwagon and banging their drum, it drew new users to it like flies.
It is the Yacht Club of social media apps.
But what is it, precisely? Unlike its stablemates it is an audio only space, and the experience is best described as being involved in an interactive podcast, or perhaps a broad conversation on the subject du jour, either way our experience has been that there are a few people talking while most are listening in.
There is no native mechanism for recording, so once the room is closed, it vanishes into the void. I guess it sits somewhere between longform ethereal audio platform and non-disappearing Snapchat.
Membership is so hot right that there is a market for invitations. Oh, did I mention that I have a couple of invites to spare?
This AI driven app is competing with TikTok and has 23 million users and growing. It creates professional level videos in minutes and is one to watch.
Quite similar to YouTube or Twitch, Vimeo lets you share video content. It has a large following in the media world, with upcoming film professionals often launching on the platform, or sharing their long form productions. This is a great one for cross-pollination, with snippets being shared via Stories.
Another live streaming app, but with a focus on the gaming/e-sport communities. It is great if, as a business, you are looking to connect to a younger audience. Users often leverage this platform to commentate on serious subjects while gaming. Think Podcast with relaxed background noise.
To reiterate, VIDEO IS KING. Any platform that works to connect you organically with your audience is worth investigating. The usual suspects such as Facebook, Instagram, twitter and LinkedIn are not going anywhere but if you have the time and bandwidth to explore these new players is worth an investment in time.
This global app helps punters tap into their local market by allowing businesses to share their beer menus and events with customers, and for customers to drop a pin in the venue they are in as well as naming and rating the beer they are drinking. Win-win.
It is an exceptionally user-friendly little platform where you can see all manner of beers rated in real time, which is actually super helpful if you find yourself stammering when faced with an impatient bartender and a large array of taps with unfamiliar but enticingly quirky names.
This neat app will help prevent that ‘deer in the headlights’ feeling for the customers and provides a place for venues and brewers to promote their latest and greatest products and events.
Can highly recommend this app for both the beer enthusiasts in our midst as well as venues and breweries alike.
By Sofie Woodward – The Electric Alchemist