New Social Media Apps to be Aware Of

The power wielded by the major players in the social media game means that, on the surface, there appears to be little room at the table for any young upstarts looking to carve out their own slice of the pie.

However, history tells us that when upstarts become startups, magic can happen, and there are a number of pretenders to the throne, armed with a humble slingshot and ready to face the Goliaths of the social media world.

To do this, emerging platforms in 2024 need to attract and engage new users by providing something different while avoiding some of the pitfalls that have seen many of their peers fall by the wayside. 

Key Characteristics of New Social Media Platforms

Key Characteristics of New Social Media Platforms

It’s easy to question both the sanity and the financial acumen of anyone bringing a new social media platform to the market. After all, for every TikTok, there’s 20 failed and forgotten apps!

It seems that there is already something for everyone when it comes to social media, but a look at some of the newest social media trends reveals that there are new ways to do things, and opportunities to improve on what has come before.

Algorithm-Free Zones

Social media algorithms are like City Traders – we know what they do, but most of us have no idea how they do it! 

Algorithms work diligently behind the scenes of most social media sites, with a clear brief to deliver personalised content to users that will engage them sufficiently to keep them scrolling.

However, algorithms have come in for increased criticism in recent years, with studies highlighting the negative effects on our mental health of endless scrolling.

Furthermore, users have begun to question how exactly social media platforms are ranking the content that is presented to them, with a new breed of social media aficionado emerging, craving more control over what they see in their feeds.

Innovative social media sites such as RTRO aim to put the power back into the hands, or more specifically fingers, of its users, by offering an algorithm-free platform where they can control what they search for.

RTRO is split into two, with one section devoted exclusively to keeping up with friends and family. So far, so Facebook, but where RTRO differs is that brand and creator-led content is limited to the second section of the platform, RTRO TV.

It’s here that people can browse channels dedicated to popular topics such as Beauty, Fitness, Food, and Travel, without any algorithms suggesting what they should be viewing. 

An Uninterrupted Experience 

The fact that both Meta and TikTok are currently testing ad-free subscription tiers speaks volumes about the way the wind is blowing when it comes to the perception of adverts on social media.

This has also presented a golden opportunity for new social sites such as Mastodon and Lemon8 to offer an ad-free experience without any extra cost.

A Simple Proposition 

New social media apps are emerging with super-simple elevator pitches, catering to an audience that values authenticity above everything else and is uninterested in many of social media’s bells and whistles. 

One such app is BeReal, which operates on a very simple premise. All users receive an alert at the same, random time each day, and they have two minutes to post a picture of themselves and their view at that point in time, taken simultaneously with both front and rear cameras on their phone. 

One of BeReal’s major selling points is that it lets you immerse yourself briefly in the lives of your friends and family, without being all-consuming. And most importantly of all, it allows you to do this without all of the other distractions that are prevalent on other social media apps. 

Hands-Free Social Media

WhatsApp voice notes have become the marmite of the social media world, loved by some and detested by many!

Airchat follows the same format, breaking away from the traditional text-based format of social media sites and replacing it with voice-first public messaging. This not only saves time but also encourages a more natural flow to online conversations, as you can get a sense of how someone is expressing themselves in addition to what they are saying.

Target Audiences and Niche Markets

Social media target audiences and niche markets

Targeting users with eye-catching features is one thing, but many new social media apps are more concerned with “who” they are targeting rather than “how” they are doing it.

When it comes to their target audiences, social media apps have generally tried to appeal to as broad a range of people as possible. 

TikTok may be surging in popularity among GenZ, but that is mainly due to the type of content they can find there rather than any specific targeting of that demographic.

Which leads us nicely to TikTok’s sister app Lemon8, which was launched in the UK in 2023. The site is a cross between Instagram and Pinterest, offering curated lifestyle content from a wide range of content creators.

There are six primary content categories: fashion, beauty, food, wellness, travel, and home. While Lemon8 is by no means marketed exclusively at women, it does feel more niche than many of its rivals, and it’s no surprise that women make up the majority of its users.

Niche Markets

Speaking of content categories, some social media sites are happy to be niche, and exclusively devote themselves to specific genres, such as books, sport, and of course the lifestyle oasis that is Pinterest.

One of the newest social media apps is Explurger, which has managed to take the humble Facebook check in and turn it into to a travel-centric social media platform, where users can share pictures and videos of their trips, connect with like-minded travellers, and even create their own “Bucket List”, based on places that their connections have visited.

Privacy and Security: What You Need to Know

What you need to know about privacy and security in social media

For many social media users, how their personal data is used by social media platforms is of great concern, as is security. Many people are also concerned about how and why they are targeted with ads by social media sites.

When it comes to privacy, most of us realise that when you cultivate an online presence, there’s a certain deal with the devil that you have to be OK with, when it comes to your movements and preferences.

That notwithstanding, all of the major platforms do allow you to add a certain degree of protection to your profile, meaning you can reduce the occasions when you are targeted by ads, for example.

So, it’s certainly worth checking out the settings of your preferred social media platform to make sure you are doing all you can to protect your online privacy.

Decentralised Networks

Decentralised network in social media

What is non-negotiable is the duty of care that social media platforms have to protect their users’ personal details. Their record in this area is poor, with almost every platform having at least one data breach in the last decade, and Facebook suffering more than one!

Many people blame this on the fact that these platforms have huge centralised databases, meaning that if something goes wrong in just one place, it can have far-reaching consequences. 

Which is why a new breed of decentralised, secure social apps, such as Mastodon, are starting to hit the market. Without getting too technical, these platforms are built on blockchain technology, which means that information is stored on a network with thousands of different components, meaning that if one part fails, the whole network is not put at risk.

How These New Apps Compare with Established Players

The comparison between new apps and established social media players

Competing with the big names in social media is an unenviable task, as they occupy their lofty position for good reason.

In order for new social media apps to have the best chance of success, they need to do something different, while maintaining the core social media values of authenticity, connectivity, and usability.

Another key element is doing something better than your rivals, or even righting some of the perceived wrongs on their platforms. 

For example, if the endless, algorithm-led scrolling of TikTok is not for you, you can take back control of your feed at RTRO. If Facebook’s data breaches are concerning, then there’s decentralised platforms such as Mastodon to turn to.

If Instagram feels less authentic than it used to be, perhaps the simplicity of BeReal would be of interest? And if you’re just tired of typing Tweets, you can always head to Airchat!

Conclusion: Should You Jump on the Bandwagon?

Here at Social Chameleon we are experts in social media marketing in all its forms, so we naturally gravitate towards certain platforms. However, being at the forefront of new social media trends is not only crucial to our work, but pretty good fun!

The same applies to consumers of social media.Taking yourself out of your online comfort zone and trying new platforms can be a fantastic way to enhance your enjoyment of social media, and we would highly recommend it!

Furthermore, if there’s something you don’t quite like about your chosen social media app, chances are that someone has solved that problem elsewhere. Or, if you have a passion for a particular subject, what’s not to like about a social media site devoted exclusively to that topic?

Perhaps most importantly of all, being an early adopter of a site that goes on to have great success, is something that is really worth posting about!

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