Social networking is evolving with promising new platforms popping up and entrepreneurs are noticing. While platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are the powerhouses in this space, there are lots of others that have failed to maintain their competitive advantage and are steadily losing users to date, or are gone completely.
Meetup falls in the first category. The part of its user base that is most quickly declining almost entirely millennials seeking instant social connections, not the delayed connections that Meetup provides. Many users regularly complain about spam, promotion of events unrelated to their demonstrated interests, decreasing active events, and no-shows at an alarming rate over the past few years. People want to connect in real time, and platforms like Meetup fail to deliver that one crucial functionality.
Due to consumers’ increasing need to connect and interact in real time, more and more users are turning away from platforms like Meetup and towards new, faster alternatives where communication is as instant as in-person conversations. This trend creates a demand that some startups are beginning to fill. It’s no secret that Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram dominate this space, but there are many unsung heroes that are looking to make their mark.
The Best Up-and-Coming Localized Social Apps
One such platform is Postcard, a real-time event and social discovery app. Postcard not only represents an evolution of Meetup’s platform, allowing users to connect to venues, exclusive offers, events, and discounts. They drive engagement with content linked to events as well, such as photos and using their ever-changing topographical heatmap to monitor and alert users to events and offers around them as they travel. One of Postcard’s founders, Giancarlo Roma, believes that Postcard is the next evolution of how New Yorkers connect to the city and each other.
“There are plenty of apps that help you plan your night a few days in advance (like Meetup), but there’s nothing that shows what’s actually going on around you in real time. Now there’s Postcard. Postcard is a new way to navigate New York City that connects you directly to what’s happening at that moment.”
Localized social apps aren’t just taking cities by storm, but college campuses as well. Friendsy, a new social app designed exclusively for college students, makes the process of finding new people on your campus easier than ever before.
The app is designed to facilitate genuine and meaningful social connections between college students in real time, while eliminating the fear of rejection. Unlike competing apps such as Tinder, Friendsy allows users to make their intentions clear, which has been a problem for Tinder users in the past. Whether users are looking for friends, dates, or something in between, Friendsy allows ensures that they and their match are on the same page, even before meeting up. After raising a seed round with investors including Slow Ventures and Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Friendsy is poised to revolutionize the social experience for college students. Friendsy founder and CEO Vaidhy Murti has high hopes for the app.
“When I was at Princeton, I wanted to create a better way for students to meet the incredible people around them. Since then, Friendsy has grown from a dorm room dream to a venture backed startup that’s made over a million matches so far!”
Indeed, localized social apps seem to be everywhere these days. Nextdoor, a “private, localized social network,” is creating what will eventually be a web of hyperlocal, interconnected, and private social grids that anyone, anywhere can join, depending on their location.
Once a part of their area’s social grid, users can access local information on everything from local politics to supermarket lists to housing listings and so on. The possibilities are endless! Nextdoor has quietly been increasing its total users and expanding its social grid coverage over multiple states, making it possibly one of the most powerful social apps you’ve never heard of. They have been covered in CNN, The New York Times, USA Today, ABC 2020, Yahoo, and The Wall Street Journal.
It’s easy to simply look at these apps as cute but brief flashes in the pan, but together they bring to bear an important question: given that the media and investors are very interested in these localized social apps, what exactly does their existence suggest about the social media market as a whole?
SmartInsights shows that even though Facebook outranks its competition by multiple orders of magnitude, apps like Snapchat and Instagram are its two greatest competitors with regard to penetration of the 18-34 age demographic, with ≈400 and ≈300 average monthly minutes per visitor, respectively.
Given the baby boomer generation is shrinking and the Millennial population is growing, apps allowing users to communicate with not only each other, but with everyone on any given social media platform in real-time, are going to be pivotal investment opportunities down the line, as they conquer the social world.
Any savvy New Yorker would be well-served checking out these great apps to help them have fun this Fall.