There was a time only a few years ago when a new social media network took the world by storm every month. The playing field was thick with networks like Vine, Omegle, and even the once prominent MySpace. However, it seems like more and more of these networks are either throwing in the towel or being enveloped by bigger companies. So why has this once eclectic market dwindled down to five major social media networks, and are there any up-and-coming networks that could break through?
The Big 5 Social Media Networks
It’s no surprise that Facebook is, and most likely will stay the most popular of the social media networks. With over a quarter of the world using Facebook, it’s no surprise that many businesses heavily lean on this social network for recruitment, vetting, and marketing. Facebook even became public and hit the stock exchange, a first for a social media market this size. That big risk shows that owner Mark Zuckerburg could slowly try to become not just the best of the social media networks, but the only social media network. Acquiring competitors like Instagram and other apps have quickly put Facebook in sole possession of the social media title.
New Competitor – LinkedIn
Although they aren’t necessarily a new social media network, LinkedIn has slowly been carving out their own path in the industry. Focused more on the business and networking side of things, LinkedIn has continued to add new features to make the platform more appealing and easily accessible, and many companies are using the network to recruit and screen possible employees.
Twitter has essentially cornered the market on short, sweet, and to the point. What was once thought to be a less-technical Facebook has quickly blossomed into a great news source and surprisingly a much-used outlet for our Nation’s President. With the addition of live streams of sporting events, it’s no surprise that Twitter gets 80% of its users from mobile devices, so it’s a great way to reach an audience that’s on the move.
New Competitor – GAB
One of the biggest controversies that Twitter will often be faced with is the issue of free speech. Twitter’s ability to ban accounts has brought into question whether or not social media should be censored. According to the creators of GAB, the 300-character social media app believes that freedom of speech is vitally important. Set up like the popular site Reddit, users can post messages without the fear of being banned or penalized. While Twitter continues to reign supreme, too much censorship could open the door for GAB.
Instagram is known to have been the birthplace of the filter and the Instagram model. However, it’s become much more than that. The picture-sharing app has quickly become one of the best social networks for visual advertising. In fact, the network had become so popular that Facebook eventually bought it. This purchase had many industry experts wondering what they can expect. We’ve seen Facebook slowly integrate more and more features from Instagram, so it will be interesting to see just what Zuckerburg and company plan to do with the site.
New Competitor – Flickr
Flickr is still a viable alternative for those who are afraid that Instagram will become stale or too commercial. One of the best features about Flickr is that you can seamlessly upload and view images from a variety of different mobile devices. This will allow your audience to view your images on a tablet, smartphone, or computer.
Snapchat is a very interesting case. Out of the social networks listed above, this is probably the one that is in the most danger. With apps like Facebook and Instagram quickly adopting similar features, it will be up to Snapchat to figure out how to stay relevant in the social media market. With over 150 million active users, it will take a big effort from Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks to get rid of the GhostFace Chillah.
New Competitor – Wickr
Wickr has become a popular place for those who want to share photos while maintaining privacy. This encrypted messaging service has gained popularity after the various photo hacking scandals. Wickr could eventually become the ideal photo-sharing app for those who want to maintain a sense of privacy.