When deciding that social media is a great idea for their marketing, most business owners hop on the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or maybe even Instagram trains to access a wide audience (and hopefully, wide customer base as well). This is smart– most of the digitally in-touch world resides on these platforms and they will give the best, most profitable success rate in 99.9% of cases.
However, with new platforms such as Ello, the anti-Facebook, we know that not all customers are happy with platforms in their current iterations. Ello exists as a reaction to the profit-driven stream of Facebook’s ads and business pages. The masses have revolted against pay-for-play advertising. Ello most likely won’t take off anytime soon, but it’s worth understanding what consumers are enchanted and disenfranchised by in order to respond to that on your existing platforms. Understanding what people don’t like about Twitter can help your own Twitter page be more successful.
The very same theory can be tested on another semi-new platform, Bubblews. I say semi-new because it’s been around since 2012, but it hasn’t received that much attention until recently. Bubblews reverses the direction of dollars flowing into social media by actually paying its users for great content shared on social media– imagine getting a penny for every time someone reads something you post on Facebook. You’re already creating content, so why not make money from it? The founders describe this as “a holistic macro-blogging platform and social ecosystem where users can come to express their opinions, meet like-minded individuals from around the world, and be compensated for their contributions to the network.”
Currently, Bubblews has 300,000 users and pays out in $50 increments (meaning that it could take awhile before you receive that big fat check). On the darker side, they’ve also made the news regarding whether or not they actually pay. The consensus is that if Bubblews has problems, they’re working to fix them. The Examiner, who called the platform “one of the most promising social media sites of 2015,” says “Bubblews seems to be the only social media site listening to its users. Members of Facebook have complained about ads for ages, newsfeeds with posts they care nothing about and even loss of connections. All of which seem to fall on deaf ears.” In contrast, Bubblews created “Featured Posts” when more users wanted their work seen and they opened up a “FAQ” section for members confused about the business model.
What can we learn from their potentially successful model? First, users believe that they create important, valuable content that deserves compensation. Businesses on Facebook can mimic this by giving one dollar off a meal or product for every post a user makes on Facebook, or even create some type of social media rewards program designed to reward users for interacting with the company. Even if the posts themselves aren’t relevant to the end-goal or profit margin, your customers believe they are (everybody loves to believe that what they create is worthwhile) and it may be worth fostering relationships with your customers to support this.
And finally, listen to your consumers. Social media buzz is there for a reason and Bubblews is a great model of a business that legitimately responds to complaints– they want their users to like them! Don’t you want your customers to like you too? It’ll go a long way towards fostering goodwill and fending off mistakes that every business inevitably makes. Listen to the chatter and actually respond to it in a valuable and meaningful way.
It’s yet to be seen whether or not Bubblews will indeed be the most promising social media platform of 2015, but if it is, you’ll be aware enough to learn from it and see it.
Image credit: CC by Michela