With Facebook battling more than one government, Instagram growing its ad space and changing the algorithm, and Twitter in a constant tailspin, brands are finding newer social media platforms to be attractive alternatives — at least the idea of them.
But what exactly do we know about these social media newcomers, and are they worth your investment of time and resources?
Let’s look at two of the latest additions to the social media space to see what they’re about, and consider whether or not they deserve a spot on your dance card.
TikTok: Social Video
It’s no longer breaking news that video content is a powerful medium for marketers. By 2022, Cisco predicts that internet video traffic will account for 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic. All the major social players are already invested in video content, and 73 percent of marketers are creating at least two videos a month for social media marketing. Ninety-three percent of those said the videos drive results in the form of getting new customers.
So if we already have video platforms delivering results, why do we need to look at yet another social video platform? Because some users are leaving the bigger platforms in favor of smaller, less encumbered places — like TikTok, for example.
TikTok is already well-established in China (where it’s known as Douyin and has 300 million monthly active users (MAU)), but the short-form video app is one of the newer social media platforms in the western world. In the U.S., TikTok has 27 million MAU who spend 46 minutes per day in the app. By comparison, Instagram users spend nearly 53 minutes per day in the Android version of the app, with a projected 111 million MAU in the U.S. in 2019.
Last year, the TikTok app crossed the 1 billion mark for worldwide installs; 663 million of those happened in 2018, many of them after merging with the Musical.ly app. By comparison, Facebook had 711 million installs, and Instagram had 444 million installs, in the same year
TikTok is popular with teens, though it is also catching on with older audiences. Considering only about half of U.S. teens are now on Facebook, it could make sense to transition some of your efforts over to an app like TikTok, especially if you’re eager to share video content or leverage influencers who can increase awareness for your brand. For those of you with older audiences, keep your eyes and ears to the ground; TikTok is a promising venue for video marketing.
Keep in mind, TikTok is a short-form video app, so videos can only be 15 seconds or shorter. The app also has controls in place for profile and content privacy, so we will have to see how well targeting works when the app inevitably offers advertising to marketers (while already in place in China, it’s testing ads elsewhere).
Vero: More Social, Less Media
You may have heard of the Vero app, especially since it hit #1 in the App Store just over a year ago and has amassed more than 5 million users.
As a marketer, however, you may not understand if this newer social media platform is actually worth your time — today. After all, new social apps can take time to catch on, especially with behemoths like Facebook and YouTube in use by most Americans.
However, Vero is doing social media differently than the larger platforms; it has no ads, no algorithms, and no data mining. It gives users their feeds in chronological order and does not send any notifications.
So why would marketers want to use Vero without any of the traditional “perks” of big social networks? For one, your content has a greater chance of being seen by users who follow you, since no algorithm determines if content shows up. Secondly, any links you post will take users directly to your website. No more “follow link in bio.” (Note that only users who follow you will be able to see your content.)
As a heavily image-driven app, Vero enables you to post six different types of content, including: pictures, links, movies, music, books and places. The app organizes all your content by categories, so it’s easy for followers to find when visiting your page.
You may not be able to grow brand awareness through advertising on Vero, but if your brand is looking for a cleaner space to offer your audience great content, then this social media platform could be the right fit.
Should You Invest in Newer Social Media?
Since these apps are still in growth phases, and with stiff competition from larger networks, it may be best to watch the performance of TikTok and Vero for a while. Or, if you have additional resources, you can take these apps for a test drive. Especially if you have a younger audience, like Gen Z or millennials, these newer social media platforms could be just the right venue to meet your audience where they now spend more of their time.
Sheila Hart-O’Connor is a word geek who is passionate about all things digital. She specializes in advertising and marketing copy, with a lean toward SEO, social media, and blogging.