Social presence is a trend that isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, it just keeps growing, with companies like Inkster and Campfiyr contributing. There are several trends that industry watchers are paying attention to, including a focus on authenticity and an increase in brands going live. Social commerce will also reign supreme, as retailers and brands find ways to make money more than just gathering “likes.” Community will also continue to be vital, as we join each other in niche groups and connect about our interests and shared experiences.
Inkster might seem like any other social media platform out there, but if you’re an artist, you’ll quickly see it’s designed for you, and it does much more than let you connect with fans — it gets you paid.
The live-streaming platform was built for artists who have a community behind them. To put it as simply as possible, the artist who produces content can distribute it on any social media network, but on Inkster, not only can fans still like and comment, but they can also give tips and pay for live-streaming events. “We’re open to all artists, but our major focus is the music industry,” says founder Danny Gibson.
There’s a feel-good story behind Inkster, but it’s also quite personal. Gibson says he was going through a life-changing time when he hit rock bottom and found himself thinking about where he wanted to take his life. “I’ve always been involved in business, but I’m also very creative, so I’ve always had skills on both sides. And being surrounded by a lot of artists and having a lot of people close to me who are musicians and other artists, I started to realize that a lot of creative people suffer from a lack of business skills,” he says. “It became a real interest to see if I could create something that would not only help them make money, but help them to market themselves, get their stories out and get exposure in a much better way. I’ve had such a strong passion for business and art that I wanted to find something I could do that would entail both and helping artists and creating Inkster seems to be this.”
Gibson has been working on Inkster since 2014. He started the company with two friends, but things didn’t work out. “So, I decided to make a huge decision and we went our separate ways and I continued working.” He’s been working on it himself for less than two years and he’s at the final stages of product testing. “Social media is an incredible tool and I’m a fan of it, but I don’t use very much of it myself anymore because there’s just so much. We need more niche platforms now. Artists love social media, but they really need something that’s more for them. If you have 10,000 followers on Instagram, for example, you can now go to Inkster, start a live-stream and announce it to all your followers on Instagram. If 500 of those people show up on Inkster on a Friday night and give you a dollar, you just made $500. The power of numbers here is just amazing.” Gibson has allowed artists close to him to try it out. The feedback has been exceptional, and Inkster will launch in January.
Gibson says persistence and stubbornness have played important roles in getting to this point. “If you lose that drive to innovate, you’re going to lose the drive to continue on. Being open-minded to innovation and being willing to pivot and change is mandatory. I wake up every day so excited. I just can’t wait to introduce it to artists.”
There are a host of shopping apps out there. But the reality is that there wasn’t anything on the market that let shoppers interact with their local stores — those neighbourhood hotspots and hidden gems that you walk by on your way to the bus stop or walking your pup.
Campfiyr is the latest social media app on the market that allows users to #supportlocal. Designed and launched by a group of recent university grads who wanted to help local businesses keep their doors open during the pandemic, the app lets small businesses “improve the interactions and experiences of community members.”
Here’s how it works: Businesses get virtual storefronts on the app that users within 30 kilometres can then swipe through while they’re looking for cool new shops. Users can search for a variety of businesses by category such as shopping, nightlife and food, and it’s all based on proximity. You can also discover local artists and performers in the area without leaving the comfort of your own home.
But it’s not all about swiping and shopping. There’s also a social media aspect of the app that allows users to send ads and events to their friends and family by using in-app messaging. So not only can users window-shop while they swipe, they can also share special deals and promotions with friends. “Since there are no centralized platforms to create connections between local residents and local businesses, many promotions from small businesses are overlooked because their ads get diluted by the main content of social media platforms,” says Campfiyr’s website. It’s really a win-win for small businesses and locals in search of shops, watering holes and other places bound to become their new favourite haunts.
Social Media Around the World
*From the Digital 2021 Global Overview Report published by We Are Social and Hootsuite