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Four hot (and unexpected) social media marketing plays for 2016

Social media marketing is a vital part of running a successful business. For 2016, here are 4 social media platforms you’ll want to consider tapping into for your marketing efforts.

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Social media marketing in 2016: What you need to know

If you’re running a business, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two about social media marketing somewhere along your journey. For 2016, there are several social media platforms you’ll want to check out. While these platforms aren’t exactly “new,” they are becoming increasingly popular.

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Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, are certainly popular with millennials, but there are four more untapped social media marketing gems you should consider for 2016: Kik, Imgur, YikYak, and Venmo. Let’s take a look at Venmo first, since it’s the odd one in group as it deals with finance, rather than connecting directly.

1. Why you need to know about a finance app

Venmo is a personal finance site that lets users send money over the Internet. It’s a bit like PayPal, but it’s way more popular with the student crowd as it allows you to split bills, chip in on a trip, or divide the payments for concert tickets. You may have seen ads for Venmo on television. Ads for the Mayweather-Pacquiao pay-per-view match let people know they could easily split the cost of the fight with a friend using Venmo. This is a great way to market to an untapped user base, especially if you have a product or service that could be split up and made more cost-effective with Venmo.

2. Our personal favorite site ever

Imgur is the next platform to keep an eye on for social media marketing. Imgur is a meme generator and image hosting site that is particularly popular with the younger crowd. It has more than 150 million users, most of these being millennial men. Imgur has become more popular for hosting than TinyPic, Photobucket, and ImageShack. Brands like eBay and Old Spice have already begun experimenting with advertising here; so it’s only a matter of time before other brands jump on board. If you haven’t established a presence on Imgur, you may want to consider it. Imgur states that most of their users spend three or more hours on the platform/app per week; with 150 million+ users, there’s definitely a large audience established for branding your product or business.

3. & 4. Mobile messaging apps are booming

YikYak and Kik serve the same function: they connect people anonymously. Kik boasts over 240 million users and is a mobile messaging platform. Think of it as a modern day AIM, or instant text message without giving out your phone number kind of deal. The Kik user base is very young, with most users being under 25. Kik is a great way to reach the younger demographic, without the need to target your advertising on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Kik enthusiasts sent content like video and GIFs along with their messages, so there is potential for marketers to make a large impact with minimal effort: Kik is about simplicity.

YikYak is an anonymous posting board, where you can discuss anything without fear of censorship or repercussions. It’s a bit like Reddit, but without the limitations. This is also the caveat of YikYak: it’s a bit unsafe, as people can say anything they like about your brand. Again, however, the user base is younger, especially popular with college students looking to vent their frustrations, so YikYak is a good way to tap into that market, just exercise a bit of caution.

Social media niche sites are a great target

While there are likely other apps on the market that offer similar opportunities, these four have the greatest potential to reach new demographics and widen your fan base than any others in 2016. What do you think? Will you be advertising outside of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest?

#SocialMedia2016

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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Social Media

TikTok enters the e-commerce space, ready to compete with Zuckerberg?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Setting up social media for e-commerce isn’t an uncommon practice, but for TikTok this means the next step competing with Facebook and Instagram.

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Couple taking video with mobile phone, prepared for e-commerce.

Adding e-commerce offerings to social media platforms isn’t anything new. However, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, is rolling out some new e-commerce features that will place the social video app in direct competition with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Instagram.

According to a Financial Times report, TikTok’s new features will allow the platform to create and expand its e-commerce service in the U.S. The new features will allow TikTok’s popular users to monetize their content. These users will be able to promote and sell products by sharing product links in their content. In return, TikTok will profit from the sales by earning a commission.

Among the features included is “live-streamed” shopping. In this mobile phone shopping channel, users can purchase products by tapping on products during a user’s live demo. Also, TikTok plans on releasing a feature that will allow brands to display their product catalogs.

Currently, Facebook has expanded into the e-commerce space through its Facebook Marketplace. In May 2020, it launched Facebook Shops that allows businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram stories into online stores.

But, Facebook hasn’t had too much luck in keeping up with the video platform in other areas. In 2018, the social media giant launched Lasso, its short-form video app. But the company’s TikTok clone didn’t last too long. Last year, Facebook said bye-bye to Lasso and shut it down.

Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok by launching Instagram Reels. This feature allows users to share short videos just like TikTok, but the future of Reels isn’t set in stone yet. By the looks of it, videos on Reels are mainly reposts of video content posted on TikTok.

There is no word on when the features will roll out to influencers on TikTok, but according to the Financial Times report, the social media app’s new features have already been viewed by some people.

TikTok has a large audience that continues to grow. By providing monetization tools in its platform, TikTok believes its new tools will put it ahead of Facebook in the e-commerce game, and help maintain that audience.

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Social Media

Your favorite Clubhouse creators can now ask for your financial support

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Clubhouse just secured new funding – what it means for creators and users of the latest quarantine-based social media darling.

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Woman talking on Clubhouse on her iPhone with a big smile.

Clubhouse – the live-voice chat app that has been taking the quarantined world by storm – has recently announced that it has raised new funding in a Series B round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

The app confirms that new funding means compensation for creators; much like the influencers on TikTok and YouTube, now Clubhouse creators will be able to utilize features such as subscriptions, tipping, and ticket sales to monetize their content.

To encourage emerging Clubhouse creators and invite new voices, funding round will also support a promising “Creator Grant Program”.

On the surface, Clubhouse is undoubtedly cool. The invite-only, celebrity-filled niche chatrooms feel utopic for any opinionated individual – or anyone that just likes to listen. At its best, Clubhouse brings to mind collaborative campfire chats, heated lecture-hall debates or informative PD sessions. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m actually obsessed.

And now with its new round, the video chatroom app will not only appear cool but also act as a helpful steppingstone to popular and emerging creators alike. “Creators are the lifeblood of Clubhouse,” said Paul & Rohan, the app’s creators, “and we want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions.”

Helping creators get paid for their labor in 2021 is a cause that we should 100% get behind, especially if we’re consuming their content.

Over the next few months, Clubhouse will be prototyping their tipping, tickets and subscriptions – think a system akin to Patreon, but built directly into the app.

A feature unique to the app – tickets – will offer individuals and organizations the chance to hold formal discussions and events while charging an admission. Elite Clubhouse rooms? I wonder if I can get a Clubhouse press pass.

Additionally, Clubhouse has announced plans for Android development (the app has only been available to Apple users so far). They are also working on moderation policies after a recent controversial chat sparked uproar. To date, the app has been relying heavily on community moderation, the power of which I’ve witnessed countless times whilst in rooms.

So: Is the golden age of Clubhouse – only possible for a short period while everyone was stuck at home and before the app gained real mainstream traction – now over? Or will this new round of funding and subsequent development give the app a new beginning?

For now, I think it’s safe to say that the culture of Clubhouse will certainly be changing – what we don’t know is if the changes will make this cream-of-the-crop app even better, or if it’ll join the ranks of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in being another big-time social media staple.

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