TikTok, Facebook and Instagram are truly the dominant social media platforms, with slightly over 6 billion active monthly users combined. Even though Twitter (or X as it is called this month) is much smaller, with 556 million active monthly users, it garners a ton of media attention from its almost daily drama and seemingly endless changes. With the giants of social media dominating the space and the media’s attention affixed to X, it can be difficult to discern whether there are any alternatives out there.

The truth is that there are other social media sites beyond the “usual suspects.” Sure, they can’t match the sheer numbers of TikTok, Facebook or Instagram, but some are surprisingly active. Many enjoy regular growth as people increasingly search for alternatives to legacy sites they have grown tired of. Engagement also continues to trend downward on most larger social media platforms for a variety of reasons, making alternatives even more attractive. They currently can’t replace the reach of the larger platforms, but they are worth exploring as additional digital marketing and brand-building opportunities. Here are our top eight alternative social media platforms.

YOUTUBE

There is a decent amount of debate on whether YouTube is actually a social media platform. While it is mainly a video-sharing site, it does have social aspects. Users can upload their own videos, comment on other videos, take polls and interact with others on the site. It even has short-form videos similar to TikTok called YouTube Shorts. Honestly, the debate doesn’t really matter. The point is that YouTube shouldn’t be overlooked. Why? It is the second most visited website in the world, with 74.8 billion visits and 2.6 billion unique visits every month. YouTube’s traffic is more than Facebook, Wikipedia, Instagram, X (Twitter), Reddit and Amazon combined. If those aren’t enough reasons for you, there are plenty more in our blog post that explains precisely how big YouTube is.

LEMON8

What is one of the most downloaded lifestyle apps in the Apple App Store? The answer is Lemon8. Created by ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, Lemon8 is a mix between Instagram and Pinterest. It doesn’t support vertical video scrolling and is more photo-centric than TikTok. Content is split into seven tabs: fashion, beauty, food, wellness, travel, home and all. Lemon8 pushes highly polished and aesthetically pleasing images and videos without the notion that the content occurred naturally or spontaneously. The app is also geared towards influencer marketing, with many influencer posts and a blurrier line between organic and sponsored content. While there are currently no major influencers on Lemon8, that may change as TikTok continues to promote the app hard.

TRUE

True recently received a $15 million influx from Microsoft veteran Paul Maritz. Developed in response to people’s privacy concerns over the use of their data on social media, True’s stated mission is to protect privacy. The unique platform does exactly that by having both public and private threads. While the public threads are open, the private threads cannot be found by any online searches or even other users. Private threads can be between two people or hundreds, but the thread creator can only invite one person at a time to prevent spam and mass invites. An invitation is also the only way to join a private thread. All messages on True are entirely encrypted and not searchable. Currently, True is in its infancy, with only 10,000 active members. However, it could see considerable growth as people increasingly tire of their data being mined.

TELEGRAM

Telegram doesn’t receive much attention in the United States but is significantly larger than X (formerly Twitter), with roughly 775 million active monthly users. It had 430 million downloads in 2021 alone, 32% higher than the previous year. The most significant difference between X and Telegram is that the latter is a cloud-based messaging app. Nikolai and Pavel Durov started Telegram to rival WhatsApp. The platform has seen widespread adoption outside Russia, with India, Indonesia and the United States among the top four countries to download the app in 2022. Like WhatsApp, Telegram also allows businesses to run ads on the platform to Telegram Channels with over 1,000 subscribers. The advertisements are only available in one basic format, but they are easy for anyone to create.

NEXTDOOR

NextDoor is another social media platform that doesn’t receive a lot of attention. However, it continues to enjoy the growth it saw during the pandemic and currently has 42.4 million weekly active users. The “hyper-localized” approach of NextDoor is unique as it allows users to connect with others within their specific neighborhoods. Currently, there are over 280,000 active neighborhoods on NextDoor. Members can exchange information on the latest happenings in their communities and suggest local businesses to others. Advertising on NextDoor is a great way for local businesses and service providers to tap into the highly localized nature of the platform. However, you don’t have to spend money to make an impact. Being an active member of your NextDoor neighborhood and a good neighbor is also a great way to get your business recognized.

SNAPCHAT

With the rise of Instagram Stories and TikTok, some have completely forgotten about Snapchat. The fact that it hardly gets any attention in a media seemingly obsessed with a possible cage match between Musk and the Zuck doesn’t help either. Marketers would be wise not to ignore the once darling of social media as it continues to exhibit healthy growth. In the last three years alone, Snapchat has added just over 145 million daily active users (Snapchat prefers to report daily user metrics) for a grand total of 397 million. When adjusted to the more commonly used monthly active user metric, the number inflates to 750 million. Snapchat is still popular, with 59% of internet users ages 13 to 24 using the photo-sharing app, according to a recent report. While it might not get much attention, Snapchat can still be a worthy marketing platform if your brand and products appeal to a younger audience.

DISCORD

Discord originally became very popular among gamers but has since branched out. Currently, there are just over 196 million active monthly users on Discord spread over more than 8.6 million servers. Discord saw strong growth during the pandemic as it shifted its focus from solely gamers to communities and other topics. Individual servers are private, invite-only spaces for groups of friends or communities to exchange messages, videos, audio recordings and more. There are also much larger open communities open to anyone around a wide variety of topics. There is no advertising on Discord, but brands are active on it. Finding a community that aligns with your products and being part of it is a great way to make others aware of your brand. It might take some work, but it is a more genuine and authentic way to connect with potential customers.

THREADS

Meta’s Threads is a bit of an unknown right now. Launched in July, it quickly saw over 100 million signups in its first week alone. Engagement promptly dropped off as early users reported limited functionality and feeds flooded with brand posts. However, Meta has been quietly working on Threads, adding more features and improving the user experience. The effort seems to have paid off, as there has been a rebound in engagement somewhat fueled by the continuing unpopularity of changes to X. On the company’s latest earnings call, Zuckerberg reported that Threads has just under 100 million active monthly users. The Zuck also thinks that there is a good chance that number could climb to 1 billion in the next couple of years. There is no advertising on Threads, but expect that to change with Meta’s interest in generating revenue. And if Zuckerberg wants to continue to burn through money to build the Metaverse (read our blog post on the Metaverse here), he is going to need lots of capital.

X

If your math skills are polished, you might have noticed that X (formerly Twitter) is the ninth entry in this article. Think of this as more of a bonus mention, as X isn’t exactly an unknown. However, it is an “alternative” social media site, as more brands are pausing advertising on it, and there has been a wave of articles about its impending doom. However, like all the noise surrounding the supposed demise of Facebook, most of it is hype. X is still around with sizeable traffic, and there are some reasons to consider it as a marketing option. First, there are a lot of journalists on X, so it is an excellent way to reach them. Also, it is easier to stand out on X as the competition diminishes and more brands flee the site. Yes, it is not without risk, but if your brand can stay apolitical, X may be worth considering as it still offers significant reach.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP

Effectively using social media to increase brand awareness, connect with potential customers and generate sales is hard. Engagement across most platforms is trending downward, and there are now more options than ever. Perfecting the right mix and maximizing your budget can be a challenge. However, at Kahn Media, we have a skilled social media team that can help your brand grow online. Our award-winning digital marketing team is adept at crafting high-ROI campaigns that deliver results. As a full-service marketing agency, we also have in-house public relations, influencer management, content creation, photography and videography experts. Whether your brand needs help with social media or a turnkey marketing team, we can provide a solution. Contact us to see what is possible.