Although Facebook remains popular, marketers know it's necessary to investigate the newest social platforms flocked to by tech-savvy members of Generation Z.
While it's impossible to say whether those players in the social media sector will eventually be comparable to Facebook in their popularity and global reach, many show promise for helping marketers appeal to young and in-tune consumers in the target audience.
Several years ago, Napster founder Sean Parker's Airtime social media platform flopped, but perhaps that was just an instance of the market not being ready for what it offered at the time. The video-based chatting app now reportedly has millions of users who sit in virtual rooms together with their smartphones to talk and consume content simultaneously.
Airtime is particularly popular with teenagers and college students, and it avoids the common social media problem of having hundreds or thousands of friends but not knowing more than a dozen of them well. Besides having discussions with each other, Airtime users can share Spotify playlists and YouTube videos.
Marketers could create both types of content and target people who currently use Airtime or are most likely to start doing so. If successful, Airtime might help videos go viral and facilitate customers associating certain brands with particular songs or genres.
Topical YouTube Channels
Astronauts Wanted is a youth-centric content creation company that's a partnership between Judy McGrath, who used to be the CEO of MTV Networks and Sony Music Entertainment. It comes up with episodic, story-rich content that appeals to young people, then broadcasts it on social media platforms ranging from Snapchat to Instagram. YouTube is another major outlet for the content.
Although Astronauts Wanted isn't a dedicated social media site people log into several times a day, it's largely responsible for online content that's poised to succeed. The company also regularly works with established individuals who have strong social media followings and offers branded opportunities for businesses that want to get highlighted in the resultant content. It regularly posts material on its own channel, as well as targeted YouTube channels.
One of them is Snarled, a YouTube destination aimed at females that has 689,000 subscribers. Astronauts Wanted has already debuted several pilots on the Snarled channel. Dude Perfect and T-Series are two other extremely successful YouTube outlets. Marketers trying to gain influence with Generation Z are wise to connect with Astronauts Wanted or a similar entity that specializes in youthful material, then broadcasts it on YouTube channels with large followings.
Viewers can show their appreciation for posted videos in seconds. Plus, when they offer comments about the clips, marketing specialists can use the feedback as guidance when planning future material. The combination of a company that understands the content young consumers crave and the broad reach of established YouTube channels is undoubtedly a powerful one that marketers should explore in 2018 and beyond.
Social media platforms find success when they make it easy for individuals to share experiences with each other despite the distances between them. That's a big reason why Snapchat is such a massive part of young people's lives. Users can take pictures of things happening in their lives, add captions, and distribute the images to everyone in their networks.
Anchor.fm is trying to do something similar with its audio-based socializing app that makes recording things happening in the environment as easy as talking on the phone. It lets users add content streams to personalized stations, then broadcast them for anyone to hear. It also integrates with Spotify and Apple Music, plus lets users paste sound bites from others into their content.
After a funding round resulted in $2.8 million from investors, the app's developers added new features. They included the ability to applaud a station's broadcaster by tapping the back of a smartphone or call into a station while it's live on air.
It's not hard to imagine the potential of the platform, such as if a user broadcasts her experience while at a favorite musician's concert or gives a detailed account of a day spent at the beach in a foreign country as it happens. The app also simplifies conducting interviews with product testers on the fly. A marketing team could theoretically invite people to try new items, then use Anchor.fm to instantly capture their reactions.
Furthermore, the app converts audio content into share-ready videos for YouTube-similar media platforms. A brand may maximize its impact by making a dedicated Anchor.fm station, then sharing the content on more well-known, video-based platforms until Anchor.fm makes its way into the mainstream's consciousness.
Marketers must continually stay abreast of the latest social media platforms to understand how best to resonate with young audiences. The possibilities presented on this list could help steer their methods in the months and years to come.
Kayla Matthews is a researcher, writer and blogger covering topics related to technology, smart gadgets, the future of work and personal productivity. She is the owner and editor of ProductivityTheory.com and ProductivityBytes.com. Previously, Kayla was a senior writer at MakeUseOf and contributing freelancer to Digital Trends. Kayla's work on smart homes and consumer tech has also been featured on Houzz, Dwell, Inman and Curbed. Additionally, her work has appeared on Quartz, PRNewswire, The Week, The Next Web, Lifehacker, Mashable, The Daily Dot, WIRED and others.