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Keeping an eye and ear on social media trends

legendre-glenda-col-sig-1Summer 2021 is a great time for marketing organizations to review, renew or revise their somewhat costly (in terms of time and/or dollars) social media strategies. There are almost too many to count emerging social media platforms, so anticipate that this process will be a necessary, ongoing, and time-consuming challenge. There are several emerging platforms to literally keep an eye and ear on.

Let’s begin with TikTok. This app came to the forefront in 2018 as a lip-synching video app that allows short videos and music to be easily created and shared. It is hard to believe there are supposedly already over a billion active monthly users.

The app claims that you can use it to launch your first ad campaign within minutes, with customer support and audience targeting. There are numerous success stories on its website, and more brands are starting to use influencers using their products in Tiktok formats. The current viewers are predominantly GenZ or younger millennials.

The company is hiring top-ranked computer vision scientists and plans to continue its dynamic growth. The pandemic gave new users a lot of time to experiment with this medium.

Not to be left out of this key growth market, Instagram Reels was introduced by its Facebook owner to compete with the TikTok video/music content platform. Instagram users, already an established base, can now record and edit 15-30 second video clips with musical backdrops.

The clips can be shared to Stories, the Explore Feed, and the Reels tab on a user’s profile. The features have been revised on Instagram to be front and center, with the push to get you to use and share Reels more often.

Another newer platform is one with a name that is meaningful, to me at least — Caffeine. This free downloadable app is for viewing and chatting, with live streams of entertainers, athletes and even gamers.

It’s also interactive and enables you to create your own interactive show and community. Recording star Drake hosted a live show with this format, gaining instant GenZ recognition. The events seek sponsors of course, but the apps are free.

From visual to audio

Clubhouse has emerged in the marketing/public relations community with a lot of fanfare. It is a “drop-in audio chat” application. Launched just in 2020, the platform enables shared content in an audio-only format similar to a podcast, but the audience is able to respond back in real-time.

At launch, the social platform was introduced as one accessed by invitation only in order for the site to serve as an effective conversation gatekeeper. If you don’t have an invite, you can be waitlisted.

Some immediate uses may include focus groups, spreading posts your company has published and so forth. There are already 10 million active users and some of the world’s top thought leaders, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, are adapting to live talks on the platform. There are clubs, rooms and interest groups you can join. Brands interested in building communities will likely be the users. offers information on how to track down an invitation and accept an invite to this iPhone-only format.

Now in beta testing and soon to launch, Twitter Spaces will allow users to host live audio conversations. Twitter has not surprisingly joined in this Clubhouse-like competition. With the immense Twittersphere at its fingertips, the market will likely surge quickly for this platform. A scheduling feature is in development to help followers ahead of real time activities. Sponsors should have broad reaches in targeted arenas.

Your demographic reach and goals remain a critical marketing aspect of adding any of these newer social medium platforms, but it is clear there will continue to be growth and change in the world of social media tools.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Marketing & Strategic Communications and can be reached at