It seems like every former life coach is searching for new social media platforms unpolluted by the 10X-ers and Tai Lopezses of the world.
But who can blame them? Besides the obvious advantage of dodging rambling #humblebrags, the benefits of being an early adopter of social media are obvious.
After the dust cleared on Meerkat (RIP), Periscope (outlook bad), and Vine (RIP), influencers and social media marketers became aware that first discovery of a nascent platform gives creators an almost unfair advantage.
Do you only possess cheap camera equipment? Have a squeaky voice? Do you lack video editing skills? If so, life coaches will warn you that you’ll never make it on YouTube these days.
But if you find a tiny app that has more potential than population, you don’t have to make better-produced videos than Burberry or Northface, you don’t have to be funnier than the h3h3Productions duo, and you don’t have to be another gorgeous member of an extended Armenian-American family empire to get ahead.
If you produce even mediocre content on a reliable schedule, that new, tiny social media startup will do everything within their power to get as many people to see your content as possible.
For this reason, it pays to be first.
So how do you find new social media platforms?
Here on Medium, there are plenty of articles promising to help you find the perfect social media channel for your business or personal brand. But if you’re looking for something new you can’t rely on advice from experts who should be more successful, and therefore, busier than you are.
When someone discovers something cool and new and big, like when Eddie Morra discovered the performance enhancing drug NZT-48 in the movie Limitless, they don’t sit down to write a long article about how to replicate their success.
(At least not until they’ve become a VC.)
People who discover The Next Big Thing are and should be too busy to write a well-crafted essay on how to follow in their footsteps. Not everyone is Gary Vee, unfortunately for the rest of us.
If you are looking to find a new social media channel the only way is to find it yourself.
The good news? It’s not difficult. There are 6 resources I’d recommend you monitor to keep an eye on what is developing, and to know what to explore:
Go Apple or go home
Having an iPhone is important because their developer platform is (despite setbacks) still kinder to programmers than that of Android.
If a startup only has the resources to develop for one platform, most will choose iOS because it’s easier to learn, less painful to use, and Apple’s language, Swift, has turned out to be pretty cool.
So if you’re trying to explore a brand new mobile app, an iPhone will often come in handy.
Tip top of the charts
Top app store charts quickly reveal trends in social media. There isn’t a better way to keep an eye on up and coming apps, except for App Annie.
App Annie’s got your gun
No one has a better eye than App Annie when it comes to spotting a trend in app usage.
App Annie is a private, centralized database of information on global adoption and popularity. Registering for a free account will grant you access to a limited reports.
Even Annie’s free information is more than enough to take aim at a market.
If you represent a brand with a good marketing budget, shell out for the paid plan. AA’s reports are high quality and will provide insights your competition likely lack.
The Product Hunt cat knows where it’s at
Product Hunt is a site that aggregates new technologies and allows early adopters to upvote useful products in a manner similar to Reddit. Product Hunt can also send emails with daily or weekly summaries of top-voted products.
If you’re looking to monitor Product Hunt for within a certain market, like our search for a new social media platform, set up labels in your email client to flag key terms. That way you can quickly surface relevant products when you’re short on time.
To the Googles, Batman!
I have to be honest: Google Alerts are flawed. While they promise to send an email alert if new search results appear for a keyword, invariably so few alerts come through that you begin to wonder when Google switched to paper mail carried by Pony Express historical reenactment troupes currently on strike.
Still, for something like your quest for a new social media platform — an ongoing but not urgent search over months or years for a very few keywords — Google Alerts aren’t a bad idea.
Here’s the search I would recommend setting up: “[your current favorite social media platform]” + “algorithm change.”
Use Google Alerts (or, if like me you don’t trust the service, a bookmarked search you manually repeat upon occasion) to watch for major changes to the surfacing of content on social media platforms you’re already using.
If you had this search in place two years ago, you would have been primed for LinkedIn’s switch to organically-surfaced video content.
Initial articles that reported on LinkedIn’s algorithm change were highly dubious of their new strategy. However, early adopters of LinkedIn Video have seen astounding growth in their social media following, and now LinkedIn is a staple of social media marketing strategies.
It’s not stalking if you don’t block the ads, right?
Successful influencers have learned to carry fans from one platform to another.
Therefore, to follow Internet hotties, the kind that stick in your memory enough to join a new platform to continue watching, is a great technique to find experimental platforms.
Whether they started as a Meerkat livestreamer, a Blab talking head, a YouTube star, or Instagram model, you can bet that people who profit from appearance use (a paid, private?) Snapchat, have their own Discord server, and update a popular profile on TikTok.
If you follow these attractive individuals, you’ll likely be able to skip a few of the tools I’ve listed above, because the will do much of the research for you.
The caveat: Internet hotties tend to gravitate toward visual platforms, so you’ll still have to research the not-sexy tools such as newsletter builders, podcast hosting, and blog CMSs.
These tools should give you a great start toward spotting new trends. Of course, if you have any suggestions for us, please feel free to respond.
Do you, like me, believe that the time to board the good ship TikTok has passed? I believe that boat sailed when they introduced paid advertisements. If you think I’m wrong, I’d love to hear why.
That is, if you’re not already too busy killing it on some platform we have yet to discover!