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A Marketer’s Guide to Lesser-Known Social Platforms

With the emergence of Threads last month, brands have started to look at their roster of social media platforms and consider whether they’re investing their energy in the right places.

You may be aware of the likes of BeReal, Lemon8 and other challenger platforms, but do you use them – and more to the point, should your brand?

While every business will, of course, require different comms strategies to align with its audience and personality, it’s clear that some apps are more marketeer-friendly than others.

In this Reading Room blog, we explore the most well-known of the lesser-known platforms, and offer our thoughts…



Users are encouraged to share a photo in the exact moment they receive a notification from the app (well, within the two-minute window). Its essence is authenticity, its ethos a rebellious answer to the culture of insincerity that permeates social media. This even extends to zero filter or editing options, unheard of in the social sphere.

BeReal also proudly encourages limited time spent on the app, restricting uploads to one post per day – unless you make use of its Bonus BeReal, which rewards those that post within the two-minute window.

The critical figure for social platform success, monthly users, paints a rather bleak picture for the platform, with the metric decreasing by 52% from October 2022 to February this year.


Yes and no, but mostly no. While the “real” trend has been flying high since the days of Covid, when polish and production value fell out of fashion, ultimately the app is being criticised for being boring.

While we can see how behind-the-scenes and people-led shots could thrive here, the app is in essence too limiting for a brand.

The platform was designed to be the antithesis of the current social media offering, meaning monetisation and brand-friendly features are not a priority (indeed, they are proudly ad-free, with no plans to change this). This too is no place for influencers and is also free of video, all of which combine to create a hostile environment for a brand.



When Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, now X, left the company, it was to take on a sister project with a very similar interface and structure to X, with one big difference: the app is invite-only.

Made up of two feeds, one of those you follow and another focused on trending topics called What’s Hot, the platform centres on conversations, much like X and Threads.

It has seen some success, but ultimately, social platforms need a stronger user base to thrive, and the exclusivity element does nothing to support this. Indeed, the UK accounts for only 4.6% of app downloads, suggesting that the appetite isn’t really there – though that’s not to say it might never be.


The exclusive nature of the platform is off-putting to brands, as is the fact that just like BeReal, it is an ad-free experience.

We saw waning advertiser confidence in X when the platform forced users to have an account in order to see tweets (they quietly reversed this move soon after).

So, if exclusivity is what Bluesky wants to stand for, it may come at a cost of brand interest and revenue.

3. lemon8


A more niche social discovery platform that feels like a blend of Pinterest, TikTok and Instagram from the parent company of TikTok. Here users centre their content around specific topics, including fashion, beauty, food, wellness and travel, opening the door for brands in this area.

With the classic Following and For You feeds now familiar to social media users, the app prioritises content recommendations and inspiration.

While it’s thriving in Thailand and Japan, the app is making its big push into the Western market this year, which could generate greater interest from UK businesses.


It may well be worth a discussion for those in one of the key categories listed above, with many brand-friendly features including taggable products and rich ground for influencer marketing.

There has however been some early criticism around the overly-curated content on the channel, and again it falls into the category of platforms without an ad experience. The difference here however is that it’s unlikely to stay this way for long.

We’d recommend that lifestyle brands with an established presence and solid strategy on their existing channels explore the opportunities of this new platform, as it could prove to be a challenger worth backing.



Rather than being a social media app in its own right, Mastodon is a server-hosting site, where brands can showcase their channels from a spectrum of platforms. It is part of what’s known as the fediverse – a collection of federated (rather than centralised) social networking sites.

The fact of it being described as a server is enough to put users off in its own right, with account set-up less intuitive than traditional social media. Users are then required to request to join certain groups – which isn’t to say they will be accepted – and the experience is being described as a difficult one.

However, it’s clear that social media giants plan to invest in this kind of technology, with Mark Zuckerberg outlining plans to integrate Threads into this space.


The fediverse is still a grey area for businesses, with the most notable entry into Mastodon being the BBC last week. The company’s blog states “We are now running an experimental BBC Mastodon server.” Their profile includes the ability to see content from social accounts including BBC Radio 5.

The Financial Times is clear in its views with its own foray into Mastodon, causing the outlet to say “We tried to run a social media site and it was awful.”

As well as the very tentative approach by a handful of brands, the platform is notably lacking in moderation, meaning sadly the site has been associated with child sex abuse material.

It remains then at present an unlikely fit for marketers, but this may change as the fediverse develops, making it one to watch.

Above all, we’d recommend ensuring your current social channels are performing for your brand, your strategy is sound, and your content is resonating. While not all emerging platforms are worth exploring, it’s always good to keep an eye out, and see which new opportunities might be worth your time.

If you’d like to learn more about social media strategy, feel free to reach out to Alex Dixon, our senior social media strategy director.

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