Tracking the Social Media Trends
As the owner of a public relations firm, one of my biggest jobs is to stay on top of the latest social media trends. Personally, I love discovering social networking sites and apps, and learning how to use them to target various demographics. I’ve spent the past few years researching hundreds of sites, and have even compiled my findings in a book:
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Social Media, But Were Afraid to Ask … Building Business Using Consumer Generated Media. Since then, I’ve been a “student” of social media. Here are some of the newest social-networking platforms and apps that I’ve come across, many of which may help you in 2013:
Launch.it – This new site acts as a newsroom, where you can post your press releases on new products or services, and then share them with your community. The best part is that anyone on Launch.it can see your product or service, and then share it with their followers. It interacts with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn and many other popular sites and bookmarking tools. The site is user-friendly, free and has a clean, solid look. It is geared toward the tech industry, but there are other products and services on the site.
Snapchat – This mobile app has created a lot of controversy since its launch, but its popularity is implacable. Similar to Instagram, you snap a photo and then send it to one or more people in your social community. The photo appears for one to 10 seconds … and then it’s gone. From a marketing standpoint, this could be used to send messages about retail shops, restaurants or even real estate. There are endless possibilities for many industries, and the best part is there are tons of people already using it. You can link this with your Facebook or Twitter followers to see who else is on Snapchat, and then chat away! It’s easy to use, and it’s free.
So.cl – This is Microsoft’s attempt to compete with Google+, Facebook and Pinterest. So.cl is a picture-dominated site, and at first glance, it looks like Pinterest or Instagram, though it has more depth to it. You can follow people by industry (and there are a lot of them) and see what they are posting before you delve in. This site is also free, and has the potential to pick up momentum. If you’re into sharing, this is one to put on your radar.
Pingram.me – This new site is a combination of Pinterest and Instagram. You sign in using your Instagram account, and it takes your Instagram photos and organizes them in Pinterest-like boards. It’s a good place for photos that you would normally just share on Instagram, in that it expands your reach. There is no charge for this site, and it is currently in beta-testing mode.
RebelMouse – This is a cool-looking social site. It takes all of your social activity and puts it into one place. It has the look and feel of a Pinterest page with big photos and tweets of your activity. The more social sites someone has, the more likely they are to go to this site and view both their content and other people’s content. Many early adopters use this site. It’s also free and easy to use.
Spreecast – Video social networking has become increasingly popular. There are millions of users on YouTube. Google Hangouts are popular for conferences, cooking classes and to hear new talent. Skype is also extremely popular for conference calls. Spreecast takes video one step further by enabling you to host your own show live (it also tapes the show and plays it later). You can even replay the show on your own blog.
About.me – This isn’t a new site, but it has become a great way to put all of your links in one place, and then share them on your signature line or on your business card. Basically, it’s an online business card that includes all of your social sites.
These are just a few of the social media trends out there, many of which can help you if you’re looking to adopt new methods for marketing or brand awareness. But just because they’re new, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should use them. The key is to make sure the site fits with your marketing messaging and targets your buyers’ personas.
Hilary Topper, MPA, is the president and CEO of HJMT Public Relations, Inc. Fun fact: Hilary is a radio show host, blogger for several publications—including HilaryTopper.com—and an avid runner.