A recent report* named WhatsApp as the nation’s favourite social media platform, followed by Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, with the app formerly known as Twitter in fourth place. With 57 million social media users in the UK alone, social platforms are constantly competing for attention. Existing channels are always evolving, with new ones in development vying to be the next big thing. Of course, not all platforms blow up and achieve TikTok-esque success levels, but the smaller ones can often provide an interesting insight into trends and users habits.
So, which of the lesser-known channels are worth checking out? Here is our top 5…
As of April, this year, BeReal became the fastest-growing social media platform.
Interestingly, it’s proving particular popular with zoomers, with a whopping 1,200% increase in Gen Z usage (Hubspot). Released in 2020, it takes the reactive, real-time na-ture of social media to the next level. Every day at a different time, users are simultane-ously notified, giving them just 2 minutes to capture and share a photo (It’s actually two photos at once, using your phone’s front and back cameras). Only after snapping their own shot can they view what their friends are up to at that precise time too. No fil-ters, no editing, and you can only do a re-shot within the 2-minute window. As the name implies - less staged, more real. https://bereal.com/
While Twitch isn’t new, you may not be familiar with it unless you’re an avid gamer. An interactive livestreaming service founded in 2011, Twitch was originally targeted at gamers and is still heavily dominated by this sector. However, since 2016 it has continued to expand its reach beyond the gaming community, with streamers now creating everything from cooking demos and makeup tutorials to live music. As of Ju-ly 2023, Twitch had approximately 7.59 million active streamers (Statista) – good news for businesses looking to reach audiences via the app, through their own branded channels, influencer marketing or social ads. http://app.twitch.tv
Owned by TikTok’s parent company, Lemon8 is a photo and video-sharing platform – a bit like Instagram meets Pinterest. Focusing on lifestyle topics, the key difference is that content is categorised by themes, including fashion, beauty, food, wellness, travel and home. For creators, the big draw of Lemon8 is that it streamlines the pho-to-editing process, offering a huge array of different filters, effects and templates, to achieve the perfect result, thus eliminating the need for multiple editing apps. With content categorised into themes, Lemon8 lends itself well to influencer marketing, allowing brands to target certain audiences more specifically. Plus, with #lemon8 garnering more than 2.4 billion views on TikTok (Forbes), there could be some inter-est cross-channel opportunities. https://www.lemon8-app.com/
Audio app, Clubhouse, features chat rooms where people can come together to talk, listen and learn in real-time. Launching in 2020 mid-pandemic, the platform exploded early doors, reaching 11 million downloads in less than a year, and with high profile users including Elon Musk and Mark Zukerberg. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Spotify all went on to launch their own live audio apps, which perhaps explains Clubhouse’s decline from peak popularity. However, it still has more than 3.5 million active users and, if nothing else, it demonstrates the trend for audio-focussed social networks. https://www.clubhouse.com/
With the recent shake-up by Elon Musk and the future of Twitter (or rather, X) uncertain, many users have sought alternative platforms. A popular one is Mastodon. In many ways Mastodon is similar to X, except that it’s a decentralised social network. This essentially means that it’s not owned and operated by a single person/entity – a big draw for those becoming increasingly worried about data security. Another pro for users is that content is time-ordered, meaning no irritating algorithm, more control and creative freedom. Plus, it’s ad-free, putting the focus back on organic content. http://joinmastodon.org
*We are Social and Meltwater, Digital 2023: The United Kingdom