Just when you think the world has enough social networks, another emerges that changes the entire landscape: Facebook supplanted MySpace. Google launched Google Plus. Foursquare became more like Yelp. And visual sharing evolved from Instagram to Pinterest to Snapchat.
More social channels are on the horizon. While they all aim to be fun and useful, they’re not all appropriate for brands to use for marketing or recruiting. I’ve researched the latest technologies coming out of tech conferences around the world and found a few start-ups you’ll want to keep your eye on in 2014.
What it does: Thumb allows user to poll their social network for answers to questions such as what to cook, what to wear, and what movies to see. On Facebook, I often see friends asking questions like “Where can I get great sushi in Chelsea?” Thumb gives those queries a dedicated home and is aimed at getting instant answers and sparking conversations.
How your brand can use it: Thumb Pro allows brands to “get hundreds of authentic responses from real people in seconds.” It allows your organization to ask a question to a specific audience segment, get instant responses, and then follow up privately with anyone who responded. The website gives examples such as “Would you pay an extra 25 cents a can of Coca-Cola with real sugar?” and “Would you buy a reuseable Starbucks coffee sleeve?” You can conduct market research on logos, pricing, advertising, and even product design. You can use it for recruiting with questions like “Do you want to be challenged in IT every day?” or “What are some questions you have about working for a non-profit?”
What it does: Nextdoor is a social network for communities and neighborhoods. And the company means it — a physical address is required to join. Nextdoor allows neighbors to discuss local issues such as crime, garage sales, lost dogs, nearby bargains, and community events. The goal is to “build happier, safer places to call home.”
How your brand can use it: This social network is perfect for local businesses. It allows shop owners and their employees to participate in the community and build goodwill. Your business can be one of those “nearby bargains” or it can sponsor one of those community events. It puts a face and a name to your company. It’s also great for hiring locally and reinforcing that community connection. And if you’re the one who finds a lost dog, you’ll be a hero to dozens of people!
What it does: User post “wishes” for the public to see, usually based on tasks or knowledge, like “I wish someone could teach me how to make chocolate” or “I wish someone could change the oil on a snowblower.” Other users then contact the “wishers” and fulfill the task — for free.
How your brand can use it: Since you can’t sell anything on Impossible, you have to embrace the site’s generous spirit. In much the same way brands give away information through blogs or social media, your organization can answer questions and give recommendations, building a foundation of customer service. If you’re a tax preparer, you can answer tax questions; if you’re a landscaper, you can answer gardening questions. Many brands don’t know about Impossible, so your company can be one of the first to stake a claim in your area of expertise.
Finally, while Pinterest continues to grow, a number of similar sites have appeared that target a specific category. Depending on your industry, you may find these niche sites useful. Examples include Trippy (travel), I Wanna Nom (food), Dwelling Gawker (interior design), All I Really Want (gifts), and PolyVore (fashion). You can use these sites just as you would use Pinterest: posting images, liking others’ images, and making comments on posts that are relevant to your business. You create a selfless image for your company and brand it as an expert.
As you can see, social media is always evolving and it can be hard to keep up. At Brandemix, we follow the latest trends and investigate all the research to stay ahead of the game. If you’re ready to move beyond Facebook and Twitter for your marketing, branding, or recruiting, contact us. We’ll be happy to connect.