Social Media Apps That You Don’t Need (or Want), But Should Try Anyway
Braxton Kellogg Aug 21 2014
Sometimes when you’re a social media strategist (or, really, just a human with a smart phone or tablet), you get stuck in a routine that involves the same few social media mobile applications. Whether I’m on the bus or about to go to sleep, I find myself checking my three favorite apps: Facebook (I know, so cliché), Snapchat and Instagram. Occasionally I’ll check Twitter and Pinterest, but those are both less frequent (and also MAJOR time sucks).
In an effort to become one of the cool kids, I have decided to test out some of the newest, most popular social mobile apps. While a couple of them can have some marketing potential for brands, others are just brainless fun. Let’s get started!
Do you hate group text messages? Then you’re going to HATE GroupMe! Okay, maybe not. I’m not a huge fan of the group text message, but I’ve become slightly addicted to GroupMe. I was recently introduced to this app by some friends who I was traveling with. Instead of texting each other, we created a group on GroupMe so that we could chat about travel plans.
Okay, so what is it? Quite simply, it’s a messaging app. You can create groups of people to chat with, or message people one-on-one. You can send messages, images (even gifs) and videos. You can also “heart” individual messages in the conversation (something you can’t do with regular text messaging). Once you create a profile with your desired image (whether it’s a selfie or some random photo), that profile can be connected to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Is this app pointless? Maybe. But, again, you can’t “heart” a message in a regular text. And obviously, I need to know how many people find my messages to be clever. I give this one my recommendation, if only for that feature.
Some of you may know about Paper already, but it’s something that I’ve been neglecting for the last couple of months. Owned by Facebook, it’s essentially just Facebook with a different layout. It was created in order for people to flip through news a lot easier than they can on the Facebook newsfeed. In Facebook’s words, “Stories appear fullscreen and distraction free.” Great, who cares?
While it may not seem essential (after all, the Facebook app is so familiar by now), it’s actually a cool app! Scrolling through stories on your newsfeed is extremely smooth, and you can also browse through pre-selected news sections that interest you. For instance, my other non-newsfeed categories include “Pop Life,” “LOL,” and “Flavor.” When you scroll to one of your categories, it displays the latest news for each.
Paper is connected to your personal Facebook account, so you can do everything that you can do on the regular Facebook mobile app (such as respond to friend requests, message your friends, and view your notifications). Additionally, if you’re an Admin of a Facebook business page, you can manage those pages from the Paper app.
So while it may not seem necessary, you may find that you enjoy the experience of Paper much more than that of the regular Facebook app. I say try it, and decide for yourself!
Secret is a newer social media mobile application (it launched in January of this year), and it has made quite the splash. The concept is simple: You create an account, it secretly follows your friends who are on the app (whether they’re from your phone contacts or from social media), and then you are able to anonymously post a brief secret and read other secrets.
Within the app there are two sections: “Friends” and “Explore.” “Friends” is a feed of anonymous secrets from your friends and their friends. “Explore” features some of the most popular secrets from around the world. How do your secrets become popular? You are able to “heart” and comment on each secret that is posted, making for a much more engaging experience than if you were only able to read secrets.
When you write a secret, you’re able to add colors, textures and even photos to the text that you post (i.e. you can make it pretty!). Many people have been concerned about Secret’s bullying or trolling potential, but the company has made it clear that they have a zero tolerance policy for bullying, and take action on posts that are viewed as emotionally damaging. They also make it very easy to report any secrets or comments that you find inappropriate.
This app is nothing more than a way to waste more time on social media, but I will admit that it’s kind of fun. Warning: some secrets can be quite explicit, so if you’re easily offended, I would suggest skipping this app.
This is a social media app that I’ve been actively avoiding, as I am not a teenage girl. However, I decided to download it to see what all of the hype was about. Think Pinterest, but with less recipes and more sassy sayings imposed on pictures of beaches.
With over 25 million users, We Heart It is a visual social media application where you “heart” images that you like or find to be inspiring. Those images are then added to your profile, and you are able to sort them by “collections.” Engagement on images is very high (think Instagram), and you can even add a link to an image (i.e. there is social referral potential).
When adding images yourself, you are able to add images from your own device or from around the web. In fact, there is even a We Heart It button that you can download in your browser, and it will make images on your website easier for users to share on this platform. So, if you’re a brand that sells your products online, it may be worth your while to include the We Heart It option on your website, as this app could potentially drive traffic to those product pages.
While this app may not be for me, I can see why it could be fun for a certain demographic: teenage girls. It’s easy to use, and scrolling through the many images could be something to help pass the time while you wait for Bobby to call you back (OMG, what is he even doing?).
With the hundreds of social media apps out there today, I found these to be the most popular or recently talked about. However, I would love to hear if there are any that I should be paying attention to specifically. Feel free to weigh in by leaving a comment below, or send us a tweet. Because if there’s one thing I need to do, it’s spend more time on social media.
Senior Social Strategist
Braxton is a Social Strategist at Portent, Inc. He is a graduate from the University of Washington, and has worked in the social media world for four years. Braxton helps establish and maintain client social platforms, develops a comprehensive strategy, and also analyzes performance. He dreams of meeting the Barefoot Contessa and the Muppets, preferably at the same time. Read More