Forget Facebook: Why Retailers Need to Know About Social Networks Like Snapchat



As a modern jewelry retailer, you’re probably already utilizing the A-list social media sites—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram—to promote your store. But if luring millennials is a priority, consider establishing a presence on one (or more) of the many newer social networks.

There’s certainly good reason to market on, say, Facebook; that’s where your 40- to 60-year-old clients are hanging out. But Twitter trumped it in popularity among teens in 2013, according to Piper Jaffray market research. (Only 23 percent of those polled said Facebook was their favorite network, down from 42 percent the year before.)

Where are millennials getting social? Where their parents and teachers aren’t, of course. Here’s a primer on the networks capturing their attention:

Tumblr

The blogging platform Tumblr, which was acquired by Yahoo! in mid-2013, also allows users to post content to a short-form blog that others can follow. A dashboard with the option to post content from other blogs a user follows appears on every blog, a la Facebook. It’s already a vast sharing mechanism; in February, the site hosted some 170 million personal blogs. (tumblr.com)

Snapchat

This photo-messaging app delivers images and videos to friends for a pre-set time (1–10 seconds) before they vanish from devices and the network’s servers forever. So users can be more freewheeling with the type of content they capture. Basically, that clip of them downing a tequila shot in Cabo won’t hurt their chances for a new job next year. The app launched under the name Picaboo in 2011 and in December 2013 had 30 million monthly active users. (Available from the App Store for iPhone and the Google Play store for Android)

Whisper

Whisper is, by all reports, the hot new social network on college campuses. Taking the ephemeral nature of Snapchat posts a step further (the networks share a major investor), the 2-year-old app allows users to post content anonymously, in the form of text overlaid on top of a picture—much like a digital greeting card. Users pick the photo, write a message, and post their “secret.” Other users respond publicly or privately, also anonymously. In December, the company said the app was nearing 30 billion monthly page views and that more than 70 percent of users were women. (App Store, Google Play store)

Path

Cofounded by Napster creator Shawn Fanning and former Facebook executive David Morin, Path is a lot like Facebook in that users can share messages, videos, and photos with their contacts. But the app, designed expressly for mobile devices, offers a more curated, ad-free arena for chatting. Users are allowed 150 contacts and can choose who sees each post; you create an inner circle, then concentric circles of friends around that. You can also message via text, voice, and/or emoji-style stickers. Last fall, it claimed to have 20 million users. (App Store, Google Play store)