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If there were only a handful of social networks out there, my job as a social media manager would be a whole lot easier. But the digital landscape is constantly changing, leaving brands facing scattered, diverse and fragmented audiences. More than ever, marketers have to be on their toes to stay up-to-date with emerging social networks.

Up-and-coming social platforms can be a great place to establish your brand. Although they may lack the user base of social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, they offer the unique chance to develop a following of highly engaged customers before a network reaches mass adoption. Below I’ll explore a few social media networks that every marketer should consider adding to their brand’s marketing campaign in 2016.

 

Medium is an easy-to-use content platform marketers should explore in 2016.

Medium

If you’ve ever wished that social engagement could come with an ongoing, up-to-date “how to” manual written by the experts, Medium might be just what you’re looking for. Started as a publishing platform in 2012, Medium has slowly morphed itself into a social network for thought leaders to share stories and ideas. Medium, which is made up of different moderated collections, rewards users based on quality of the content. If your post gets recommended by a number of people, it may be featured on the collection page and even Medium’s home page, which can help you build a substantial following and authority over the area of your interest.

Medium is full of influencers from every sector, making it the perfect place to create clout around your brand. The platform has already partnered with media companies like The Awl, Discovery, Fusion, Mic, MSNBC and Travel + Leisure. MSNBC uses its channel to share political commentary and opinion pieces from thought leaders, while Mic uses Medium as a syndication platform.

My Take

On Medium, what you see is what you get, meaning you can see what you make as you make it. Photos drop in simply and text is easily managed, with lots of white space framing the work. Because Medium recently opened up its publishing API, which syncs with WordPress and Blogger, I was able to upload and publish a post from our GDD blog in seconds. Check out our profile here.

At this time, Medium is still in the early stage of developing solutions to connect brands with its network of creative talent and readers. However, both media companies and brands have already begun to experiment with paid options here. So for brands able to experiment with new technologies, partners and platforms, I highly encourage spending money with Medium to get ahead of the curve in 2016.

 

Brands can forge a more personal relationship through live streaming on Periscope.

Periscope

Periscope is a live video streaming platform that has generated tons of buzz in the social media world in recent months. The app is owned by Twitter and has only been publicly available since spring of this year. In that time, it has gained over 10 million active accounts on iOS and Android.

The app allows you to transmit a live recording of yourself to your Periscope and Twitter followers. Imagine Skyping someone but instead of video calling a single person, you’re broadcasting to your entire social network. Not only that, whoever’s watching you can comment and ask questions. These show up on your screen whilst broadcasting, making it easy to answer and interact with your community. You are able to rewatch any video from the users you follow for 24 hours after the live broadcast. Much like ‘My Story’ on Snapchat, once the 24 hours are up, users can no longer view the broadcast.

My Take

To be honest, the first time that I did a live broadcast I felt a bit self-conscious. That said, you quickly get used to it and the more you watch other videos the more you realize how unstructured they are. You can be silent, answer questions, talk about what you’re up to or just show a view or a scene. You can check us out on Periscope at @gddinteractive.

Brands like Target are using the app to show a sneak peek into exclusive events and announce products and special offers, while JCPenney recently hosted a live Q&A and celebrity takeover with Eva Longoria. Although it might not make sense for most brands to integrate video streaming into their daily content strategy, Periscope can be a great tool for brands to forge a more personal relationship with consumers by giving them real-time access to moments that matter.

 

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Learni.st allows knowledge leaders to curate boards of content related to their industry.

Learni.st

Launched in 2012, Learni.st bills itself as a crowd-sourcer of knowledge, with web, text and video content covering thousands of topics. Expanding on the Pinterest concept, knowledge leaders curator boards with content related to their industry. Many of the board topics cater to the interests of startups, since the site was designed with growing a small business in mind. In addition to free content from business owners and consumers, premium content is available from big names like filmmaker Gus Van Sant and former professional football player Dhani Jones.

My Take

If you have ever been on Pinterest, Learni.st’s interface is simple and intuitive. Content is organized in the form of small, visual learning boards which are the cover pages for a specific topic. In addition to following users and learning boards, you can also share or comment on learning boards or individual learnings, which are numbered sections in a learning board. Unfortunately, these features are not all widely used yet, as I often found myself to be the first to comment on a board or learning. Visit GDD on Learni.st here.

 

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This. tries to cut out the noise by allowing each account just 1 posting per day.

This.

This. strives for simplicity. Partly inspired by the fact that most social newsfeeds are cluttered with updates and clickbait-style articles, This. strives to be a more concise and valuable resource for the average user. On This., users can only share one link per day, reducing the number of links shared and theoretically improving the quality of the content. Think of it as “artisanal content-sharing”; a community of “many of the people who make the best media on the web: the writers, editors, filmmakers, performers and artists who work tirelessly on the crafts of storytelling.” (This. founder on Medium)

My Take

As I stated earlier, on This., you’re limited to one post per day, which must be a URL. You can write a few words (up to 110 characters) and credit the author but that’s it. No image uploads, no status updates outside of the context of sharing a URL, no responding to other users beyond thanking them for or reporting their content. You can check us out on This. here.

Because This. was only very recently opened to the public, it has yet to be populated by brands and advertisers. This could be a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor before it becomes over-saturated.

Are you a member of any emerging social networks? Let us know in the comments!