6 social media apps to watch in 2021

by: Jen Kelly
Content Director

It’s no surprise that social media saw a huge surge in popularity at the beginning of lockdown and while overall our social media usage has stabilised, the lockdown usage spike saw a swathe of relatively new platforms come to the surface and enjoy a huge rise in popularity.

These relatively new apps, alongside the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. present fresh opportunities for brands to expand their reach in innovative and exciting ways, shaking up the more traditional means of social media marketing and adapting to the changing appetites of users. Here are a few platforms which have caught our eye.

1. Clubhouse

After the rise and rise of visual platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, Clubhouse has gone in a new direction for social apps – audio only. Launched on the Apple Store in April 2020 and on Android in May 2021, this social newbie hosts live chats on pretty much anything you can think of.

The app gives brands the chance to set up an event to speak about a topic or simply listen in on conversations in virtual rooms to give them insights into what their audience or industry is, quite literally, talking about. Previously an invite only app, Clubhouse has built a following of around 10 million active users thanks, not least, to high-profile celebrity users such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

Since Clubhouse’s launch other audio-only apps have began appearing. Twitter Spaces, which slowly launched over early 2021, now reportedly has 187 million daily active users. Spotify Greenroom began it’s launch in June 2021, but seems to be lagging behind the others, attracting just a small percentage of Spotify’s large user base.

2. Peanut

Peanut is a social network for women throughout all stages of motherhood – mothers, expectant mothers and those trying to conceive. It was set up in 2017 to help women in this community establish strong, supportive networks, build friendships and combat negativity online. It has 1.6 million users and 10 million connections across the UK, US and Canada.

Peanut offers its followers a wealth of useful resources, forums and groups, including a community area set up in 2020 for people to share their experiences with infertility, pregnancy loss and adoption. It also launched Peanut Menopause in September 2021, to expand the support network to women in other life stages. And of course Peanut also got in on the audio-action, launching a new feature called Peanut Pods allowing for Clubhouse-style voice connections.

Backed by the NHS Innovation Accelerator, Mush is another app to keep an eye on, with a similar focus on creating support networks and social connections for new mothers. Mush was also recently acquired by Mumsnet so will be one to keep an eye on over the coming months.

Unless you share Peanut or Mush’s target audiences there are limited opportunities for marketing your brand, however it’s worth taking a look to see how the app builds meaningful connections and segments its content – for new mothers, expectant mothers, women going through IVF and adopted mothers – to achieve much greater levels of personalisation and meaningful engagement.

3. Twitch

Twitch is a live-streaming platform, mostly used by gamers to stream game play or to watch other gamers. Users can interact and engage with live streams or upload videos to Twitch for their audience. On average Twitch has over 7 million streamers per month, watched by around 30 million daily viewers.

Twitch has been actively expanding its content base, which now makes it relevant to many more businesses. Twitch’s popular communities go beyond topics like programming, video editing and comics, reaching those interested in areas such as music, art, and DIY. Music broadcasters play guitar or piano or sing, sharing covers or original compositions.

Whether or not marketers create content for Twitch, it’s a great place to learn how to market in a more natural way. The Twitch community is very anti-marketing. Brands beware – if you share pitches or webinars, the community will tear you apart and you could do more harm than good, so livestream with caution.

4. Discord

Like Twitch, Discord started life in 2015 as a platform dominated by gaming but has now spread to a broader audience as a result of the pandemic. Once they have an invitation, users enter a forum-like space where they can communicate with each other by voice or video calls, messaging and sending media either among communities – known as ‘servers’ – or in private chats.

Discord has over 350 million registered users so if it’s popular with your target audience, it could be a good place for your brand to engage and build your community.

5. TikTok

You’ve probably come across TikTok by now, a short-form video sharing platform which is the fastest growing social platform with more than 1 billion users per month. Having first become famous for it’s lip-sync videos, viral videos on the app include dance videos, food videos and a man skateboarding to work after his car broke down.

TikTok is also leading the charge for positive mental health by encouraging users to spend less time scrolling and more time outdoors. It has also partnered with Barnardos children’s charity to launch a webinar on Digital Wellbeing and Screen Time for parents and professionals working with children.

While content from leading TikTok influencers make up the majority of the most-watched sponsored videos, marketers can make their mark on users by posting shareable clips that reflect an authentic and fun side of their brand’s personality. Not sure where to start? Discover the latest video trends.

6. Triller

Finally, Triller is worth a quick mention. Since it went live in 2015, the social media app has hit more than 23 million downloads – while it has a way to go to make TikTok shake in its trendy boots, Triller is definitely up and coming.

This AI-driven music video app lets users create professional-level videos in seconds and offers features similar to what you’ll find on TikTok. Like TikTok, Triller users create music and lipsync videos they can share with their followers.

Need some help with social media?

If you’re looking to establish your brand presence on social media or it’s time to refresh your social marketing strategy to grow your business, get in touch with our team of experts.