As social media continues on its quest to dominate the way we interact with the web, users benefit from inventive new tools, resources, and capabilities as well as greater specialization and focus. But it's not just the Facebooks and Twitters of the world that offer value and innovation. Often, it's the smaller players that infuse creativity and practical ingenuity into the social space, especially for niche audiences.
In particular, three relatively new social platforms merit a closer look based on their distinctive features, approaches and functionality-and for garnering increased attention from social media experts.
Glipho.com eschews the traditional blogging model by combining its blog platform with a social network approach, encouraging community interaction and promising its writers easy promotion for their content. Compatible with platforms like Blogger and Tumblr, Glipho (a word from Ancient Greece that means "carving a rock") simplifies sharing of and handling the SEO for original content, spotlights content via features like Trending Articles & Writers and Active Writers, and enables users to build their own personalized content feeds by following writers and topics of interest. But unlike other platforms, Glipho is text-based with a minimum word count of 150 words, ensuring longform content and a stronger spotlight on quality writing. Glipho content is also ranked and highlighted by its users, and the site's network easily connects with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.
"We have completely transformed the way we use the internet over the last decade, and yet traditional blogging has remained the same as it was at its outset, which can be a frustrating, unrewarding and isolating experience," says Roger Planes, Glipho founder. "So we wanted to offer a platform where people could simply write and engage with the writing of other people from all over the world while we handled everything else. Glipho is the first platform that combines text blogging with social networking."
Of course, rivals like Medium and WordPress may take umbrage with that last statement.
Businesses seeking a social advertising platform that leverages celebrity endorsements to drive consumer engagement with brands now have a powerful ally: Adly.com. Adly skips the complicated endorsement contract to connect brands directly with a relevant star or influencer (the platform boasts relationships with over 75,000 celebrities) for social activation. The platform goes beyond a "pay-per-tweet" model with arbitrary sponsored messages, instead encouraging real dialogues by a celebrity with their followers. Additionally, Adly tracks the reactions and behaviors of consumers for more precise targeting and efficient optimization.
"(Adly) is betting that sparking a conversation by a celebrity or influencer with their social followings will lead to sales for businesses. As long as it's integrated into a larger, sustainable social media and marketing campaign, it's a safe gamble," says Paul M. Rand, president/CEO of digital marketing agency Zocalo Group, who identifies IZEA and SponsoredTweets as Adly competitors.
Hobbyists, collectors, and enthusiasts unite-you now have an online community where you can link up with kindred spirits, a la Binteo, which prides itself on connecting users who share common interests, skills and pastimes. The site serves as a vehicle for sharing expertise with a much larger audience than has been traditionally available, while also offering a platform to expand your knowledge and get better at your chosen craft or pursuit. Case in point: photography, for which Binteo provides a growing list of experts (including award-winning photographer Rachel LaCour Niesen and celebrity shutterbug Chris Weeks) who can offer advice on how to take better shots, choose quality equipment, and more.
Binteo co-founder Will Bowen says his team quickly recognized a void in the social media realm and attempted to fill it by launching the platform.
"Prior to development of the site, we were discussing the sparse availability of instructional resources online that help develop a hobby or passion," says Bowen. "Now, whether you're looking to become a gourmet chef or grow a beautiful garden, we are a go-to resource for individuals looking for advice across a multitude of verticals."
Matt Krayton, director of social media at ebrand studios, finds Binteo "interesting in that it tries to take one aspect of the social web, rope it off and filter out the noise in a more social and confined way than on a question-and-answer platform like Quora or Twitter. From the expert's point of view, it's a way to get more exposure and build some credibility, but the question is, is anyone listening?"
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)