Social media is a tumultuous playing field. While it’s been dominated fairly consistently by Facebook since the late 2000s, every year sees new emergent platforms that either fail in a blaze of glory, get gobbled up by one of the major players, or go on to see individual success on their own. All of these cases provide learning opportunities for the average social media marketer—the failures show what users don’t want to see, the consumables demonstrate a hint of new features and new technologies on the horizon for major players, and the breakout successes represent new opportunities all on their own.
We’re already more than halfway through 2016, but I’d wager we’ll see at least some of the following platforms rise up in some way by the end of 2016:
1. Wanelo. Wanelo is a type of social shopping app, and if you’re curious about its name, it’s derived from the words “want, need, love.” Wanelo, once downloaded in app form, allows you to peruse millions of different products offered by major brands, online retailers, and even independent artists and producers like those on Etsy. You can also create wishlists, establish connections, and find out what your friends are interested in. This app could rival Pinterest because of its strong visual components and similar demographics, but is better poised for online shoppers because of its convenient wishlist and product management tools. Expect it to be eyed by Pinterest or see it take off on its own.
2. SlideShare. SlideShare has a decent user base already, but it has a long way to go before it stands among the leaders in the social media world. Through SlideShare, professionals can create slideshow presentations and videos—almost like YouTube, but with a much more professional appeal. Users who appreciate LinkedIn for its professional nature and targeted formatting will appreciate how SlideShare positions itself for its users—and the practicality of the app is useful in almost any business application. Expect to see SlideShare integrated with LinkedIn in multiple ways, or expect to see it used by a greater percentage of active professionals.
3. Shots. Shots’s greatest advantage is also one of its greatest weaknesses; it’s simple. It’s designed almost exclusively for “selfies,” utilizing only the front-facing camera of a phone. Users can connect with each other and send pictures, or scroll down a feed of others’ photos. Commenting on those photos is disabled, but users can chat with each other. In this way, Shots functions like Snapchat, but it’s less concerned with individual privacy and more concerned with connecting users to one another. So far, Shots functions like a weaker hybrid of Snapchat and Instagram, but with the addition of a few new features, it could easily see its audience explode.
4. Ello. Ello is an all-purpose social media network, almost like Facebook or Tumblr, which similarly allows you to forge new connections, share written updates, photos, videos, or any other content that you feel like sharing. The key difference is that Ellostands against advertising, with a full manifesto criticizing other social platforms for being “owned” by advertisers. Ello claims it will never have forced advertising on its platform, nor will it ever sell your information to third parties. Expect Ello to help spark a new trend in anti-advertising in certain circles—though it will probably never replace the ubiquity of Facebook, even with its advertising and privacy concerns.
5. Hyper. Hyper combines a few different social media ideas, but stands on its own as a unique platform. Like Instagram, its primary function is to allow users to post and share photos with one another. Like Reddit, it features an upvote/downvote system that increases the visibility of more popular posts. It also features geographic tags that allow users to discover new things happening in their vicinity. Currently, Hyper is only on iOS and doesn’t have much of a user base, but its unique position and functionality could cause it to grow exponentially by 2016.
6. Bebo. Bebo isn’t technically new. It was one of the original founding social media stars, alongside Facebook and the much less fortunate MySpace. Like with MySpace, Bebo quickly burned out once everyone decided that Facebook was the be-all end-all social platform of choice. However, Bebo has recently relaunched as a completely new app. Now, users can create individual avatars and use custom illustrations and hashtags to communicate with each other. It’s a new form of communication that doesn’t rely on photos like so many new apps today