6 New Social Media Platforms That Marketers Should See In 2021

If you visit the App Store or Google Play and search for “social media,” there are hundreds of apps to choose from. But, as the pool of social platforms grows, will any of them really change the game for marketers this year?

The truth is probably like that. 2020 changed the way we did almost everything – including socializing. Social distancing became a familiar part of our lives, leaving a void for the personalized communication that we used to have personally.

Even so, people are adaptable and several new social networks have emerged in the past twelve months to restore the communities we had to leave abruptly.

2021 social media trends

The hottest trend to date is audio-based social networks. Stephanie Morgan, social media expert and founder of the marketing agency Social Lock, sees a bright future for this new kind of community: “Audio-based social networks are a relatively new concept, but it won’t go anywhere anytime soon.”

In addition to Facebook and Snapchat, we’ve also observed platforms like Reddit and Pinterest that aim to improve their advertising and marketing functions.

However, if your role specializes in social media, audience growth, online engagement, or if your company appeals to early adopters in Gen Z or Millennial ages, you still want to keep an eye out for platforms that could benefit from the momentum later.

Why? As you watch young, promising social channels grow, you can determine which are worth joining and which are not worth your time. And joining a hot new social channel early on can give you more time to find out what promotional content is working there. This puts you ahead of the competition who later open their accounts and may struggle to come up with creative post ideas.

To help you stay up to date on social media, we’ve put together a list of six emerging social platforms that you might want to put on your radar this year. These platforms have all gained a large user base, investor interest, or news buzz in the past few months.

For each platform, we’ll walk you through how it works, the user base, why it might hold promise for marketers later, and how you should approach it today.

New social media platforms that marketers should be watching

  1. Tick ​​tock
  2. Clubhouse
  3. Twitter Spaces
  4. caffeine
  5. Instagram roles
  6. House party

1. TikTok

Starting year: 2017 (founded in 2016)

Number of users: 1 billion monthly active users

In 2018, the lip-syncing app Musical.ly merged with a similar annual app called TikTok. Since then, TikTok has reportedly reached out 1 billion active monthly users. With more than 2.6 billion downloads worldwideTikTok is now more popular in app stores than Facebook, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms.

For those who remember Vine or Musical.ly, TikTok is like a mix of both. The platform allows you to film short videos that, just like Vine, play in a repeating loop. But like Musical.ly or Snapchat, you can add fun effects, AR filters, text, and musical overlays to spice things up. Like similar video platforms, it was mainly adopted by Users under 30 years of age.

Once you’ve created a video, the app also lets you tweak it by adding hashtags that make it easier to find via search.

One way hashtags got recorded on TikTok is through the Challenges tab. In this area of ​​the platform you will be asked to propose a challenge with a themed hashtag. When posting a video that responds to a challenge, you can include the appropriate hashtag so that those who follow the challenge can see your videos.

Along with the broad discussion through publications like the New York Times and DigidayThe app has also gained notoriety among comedians like Jimmy Fallon. Here is a clip of Today’s show where he talks about the app and tells fans to join his # tumbleweed challenge:

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Besides being fun and entertaining, the app goes “the brand” out loud Krystal Wu, Social Media Community Manager from HubSpot. She stated that there are more brands on the platform, adding, “The Washington Post is on TikTok and they are very popular too.”

The Washington Posthas, as she mentioned, already gained almost 850,000 followers.

While you’d expect a newspaper like this to publish content in a more serious or investigative tone, the Post shows an easier look behind the scenes of their newsroom. In this example one of his journalists tries to walk up the stairs to the sounds of MGMT’s “Electric Feel”:

Brands like Suspect have also started experimenting with TikTok. To highlight the new denim apparel line, Guess launched the #inMyDenim challenge, which encouraged users to post videos of themselves wearing Guess denim with Bebe Rexha’s song. “I’m a mess.” play in the background.

Here is a video someone posted in response to the challenge:

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Brands like Guess have also started experimenting with TikTok. To highlight its new line of denim apparel, Guess launched the #inMyDenim challenge, which asked users to post videos of themselves wearing Guess denim with Bebe Rexha’s song “I’m a Mess”. play in the background.

Here is a video someone posted in response to the challenge:

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Right now, fashion, publishing and entertainment companies are starting to play with TikTok. As the platform grows, it may expand to other industries that can get creative and visual with their marketing tactics.

You may not want to focus all of your social media resources on TikTok just yet. However, it’s a good time to get familiar with the app and experiment with some fun videos. You can also try to come up with some challenges or video ideas that would work well with your brand and the platform’s young audience. If you see brands in a similar area to yours, follow them for additional inspiration.

2. Clubhouse

Starting year: 2020

Number of users: Not specified

Unlike traditional social media websites like Facebook or Twitter, which provide an asynchronous platform for communicating and sharing content, Clubhouse uses synchronous audio-only connectivity between the audience and speakers. It’s not a podcast, but a more personal way to share information with your audience who can talk to you in real time. You may be wondering, “What actually happens in the clubhouse?” And the truth is, a little bit of everything. Topics like starting a business from top VCs, relationship discussions from celebrities and even comedy clubs from aspiring comedians find their way in front of the live audience.

Clubhouse website home page featuring a yellow wave emoji and app store download.

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Before we talk about how much technical buzz Clubhouse has made, we need to tell you that the app is only available in beta on devices that support iOS. So far, this has not been an obstacle for the platform. Investors are waiting Support for the development and expansion of the audio-only phenomenon, even without a presence in the Google Play Store.

Part of the sudden uproar over this new social media network comes from the fact that it contradicts every other social platform available today. It’s only available by invitation – the opposite of how we understand and use social media. The app’s developers say they want to get Clubhouse right before it’s released, but users who are already part of the group act as gatekeepers for the thousands of conversations that happen every day. If you don’t know someone who is ready to give you one of their three invites, you’ll have to put themselves on the waiting list until the clubhouse is officially released.

How can clubhouse work for marketers and brands? That has yet to be determined, but professionals are currently experimenting. The race to crack the code in the clubhouse is fast as content creators build their audience in hopes of quick Securing monetization opportunities when they become available.

If you’ve received an invite to Clubhouse but aren’t sure how to use it, consider setting up an informal focus group, starting a conversation over a high-traffic blog article or social media post published by your company, or Contribute to a contribution Conversation already led by a thought leader in your industry.

3. Twitter Spaces

Starting year: 2020

Number of users: Not specified

You might not have heard of it (it wasn’t released until December 2020), but it’s picking up speed pretty quickly. Similar to the clubhouse, Twitter Spaces is a beta version of the app’s newest audio feature. This voice chat alternative to the traditional 280 character tweets on the social platform is open to anyone with an iOS device. Only a select group of people selected by Twitter can create their own conversation start room.

Twitter Spaces profile. The profile picture and cover picture are a purple gradient.

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While the app is similar to Clubhouse, Twitter is venturing into this new territory where audio only is available to discover opportunities and risks in this type of community. Clubhouse has addressed its challenges with enforcing community standards – an opportunity Twitter is trying to figure out to make the platform safe for everyone.

Stephanie Morgan, social media manager at Social Lock, predicts some promising glimpses into the newest social network with audio only from Twitter: “Rooms will be a great feature on Twitter as it’s already a conversational, mostly non-visual platform.” She anticipates that hosting live discussions, training, and customer questions could be some use cases for businesses to take advantage of Twitter Spaces once they’re released to the public.

While this social tool may not fit you or your business anytime soon, it is fascinating to look at Real time. Even if you can’t use Twitter Spaces, you might be inspired by the team’s people-centered approach to developing the feature.

4. Caffeine

Starting year: Established in 2016 and unveiled in 2018

Number of users: Not specified

Caffeine.tv, a platform from Ex-Apple designerThis option allows you to create live broadcasts for friends and followers. The shows will appear in a feed where you can post an emoji reaction or reply with comments.

The Caffeine.tv streaming app interface

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In addition to live video broadcasts, you can also stream your computer or TV screen while playing video games. This makes caffeine a potential competitor to the slightly older game streaming service. Twitch.tv. Like Twitch, which gives you money for high views or subscriptions, Caffeine started a monetization program that rewards committed broadcasters.

The company hasn’t provided user numbers yet, but their Crunchbase profile shows that it’s over Investments to date of $ 259 million. The largest investor in caffeine to date is 21st Century Fox.

Investor interest aside, the platform is starting to make waves in the entertainment and sports world. Recently the platform was used to broadcast the 2019 X Games in Aspen.

Caffeine’s success to date shows how live videos and video platforms are rapidly being adopted by younger viewers, especially those in the Gen-Z age group. If the app continues to generate interest, marketers can consider using it to showcase their brand through a variety of strategies, such as: B. Behind the scenes content, Q&A, or other live video. This platform could also be useful to marketers in a variety of industries, including news, entertainment, games, and sports.

If live streaming could help your business raise awareness about a product, it might be a good time to get started with caffeine and Twitch. As you learn more about the platforms, make sure you determine if your audience is actually using either and what it is being used for. Similar to TikTok, if you find any with active accounts, be sure to check out what similar brands are doing.

If you have an idea for a live stream that seems too unusual for Facebook or Instagram, caffeine could be an interesting place to test it out. Since the platform is new, there may not be a lot of norms or rules for what content is working or not working yet.

5. Instagram roles

Starting year: 2020

Number of users: Not specified

We can’t deny that TikTok has changed the game for social media since it debuted in 2017. It’s still on our list this year as the platform keeps reinventing itself and opening up new audiences. Last year, Facebook took note of the TikTok trend and responded with lasso, but ended the effort to make room for Instagram reels.

Instagram roles are displayed on three separate phone screens

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Reels is now in direct competition with TikTok and offers similar functionality for video creation. Instagram users can create videos adorned with special effects, music, and transitions that are known to keep users updated.

How can roles work for your company? From distributing product releases to how-to guides, reels can be an engaging way for brands to get a presence with Gen Z audiences. If you’re not sure how to get started, The Social Impact is fun and informative Examples of the use of roles.

Not sure how to use this new Instagram feature? Start with your brand. Roles are a fun type of content that can showcase your brand’s personality. You don’t need fancy camera gear or a director to post content that has the viral factor. If your team is not yet ready to produce this content, consider engaging an industry influencer to create roles on your behalf.

6. House party

Starting year: 2016

Number of users: 20 million +

Houseparty is a group video messaging app that enables video chat that can be hosted eight users at the same time. To make everyone chatting more fun, you can use video filters, stickers, and other fun effects while having a live conversation.

House Party website home page with yellow and red backgrounds, yellow waving emoji and slogan.

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While the app itself has been around for a number of years, it has gone through a few developments and has recently seen a huge drop in interest and users. The app initially started out as a meerkat, however renamed itself Houseparty and revised its functions. Since then, Houseparty has climbed the App Store charts, rising from 1 million to 50 million users in 2020.

Although the app does have ad space, future marketers can use it in other creative ways. For example, a small makeup company could sponsor a “house party” where an influencer can answer beauty questions and show attendees how to use one of their new beauty products.

While it sounds promising, keep in mind that this app has a number of notable competitors, including Snapchat and Zoom.

This app may also require additional time and creativity. If you don’t have the time to throw a house party, or can’t envision one that will effectively market your product, prioritize other platforms first.

How to navigate through the new social media landscape

A marketer who first discovers a hot new social channel can become an expert in posting great content before their competitors even sign up. While it’s important for marketers to keep interesting platforms on their radar, the first priority should be to focus time, effort, and resources on the internet Platforms that are already thriving.

To make sure you balance your time appropriately between new and old channels, focus on expanding and refining strategies on the successful platforms, then set a time box about once a month to check for newer platforms.

If you can find a platform like TikTok, it’s relatively new, with a rapidly growing user base, brainstorming, and some experimental posts.

Make sure you use the experimentation time wisely and on the right platforms. While TikTok is a great place to experiment and doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon, there is always the possibility that an extremely niche platform like Clubhouse is being overshadowed by a bigger competitor – Twitter Spaces.

When figuring out which platforms to look at or experiment on, your team should ask themselves six questions:

  • What are the active user numbers? Big numbers could mean the platform is gaining momentum and you have even more chances to get in touch with a large pool of users.
  • Are publications or thought leaders talking about it? If a platform doesn’t provide exact numbers but has a lot of people, celebrities, or news publications discussing it, it may be promising.
  • Do older platforms have a similar tool and a larger user base? If an older platform does the same, users may be reluctant to move on to a newer platform. For example, marketers mostly use stories on Instagram as opposed to Snapchat. Even though Snapchat Pioneering the story, the Instagram interface, and experience is something that many more people know, understand, and trust.
  • Will my audience understand how to use the platform? Will my audience understand how to use the platform? It may be difficult to get a less tech-savvy person to join Snapchat or TikTok, but they might like a platform like Facebook or Twitter because the interfaces may be easier to understand. Choose platforms that your audience can easily use and enjoy.
  • Will the audience be interested in the platform at all? Will the audience be interested in the platform at all? While a tech newbie might not like TikTok, a teen might be bored on a platform like Facebook. In fact, younger people prefer it visual apps like TikTok and Instagram. While you want to pay attention to the level of adaptability, you should also pay attention to how your audience wants to consume media.
  • What kind of content or posts could we use to promote our brand on the platform? You should always have a plan of action when considering or launching a social platform. If you can’t find interesting ways to market your specific product on a niche platform, consider taking an account off. On the downside, experimenting with different posting strategies could result in your brand looking creative and cool to the platform’s audience.

Should you be following the social media trends of 2021?

Consumer behavior in the digital space is changing rapidly, and companies that adapt to social media trends could thrive. If you keep this type of market research in mind and tailor it to your target audience, you can create a great social media plan that will increase awareness and show your brand in a creative light.

Keep in mind that not every trend will work to achieve your goals. So don’t venture into this new social media landscape without the latest data. We did the heavy lifting for you in the research report on Marketing Trends 2020. The data in it comes from more experts you’ve heard of in this article and will help you bring out the next big moment on your social media platforms.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for completeness.

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