Image: Periscope Image: Periscope

Social media has revolutionised the way we interact, connect and keep up to date with the world. It is estimated that around 2.2 billion people use social networks globally, a figure expected to rise by over 20% in the next three years. You may think you’ve heard of all the top social media networking sites, but there are a few that may have flown under your radar. As a digital content manager, I have experimented with lots of alternatives so here are my five emerging social media networks to watch for in 2016:

  1. Periscope
Periscope, which was recently acquired by Twitter for a reported $100 million, allows users to share videos in real-time. Think of it as the “next generation of real-time tweeting,” according to Debbie Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer.

The live-streaming social network has really taken off. It currently boasts 10 million users, including 2 million active users. As of January, Periscope has hosted a staggering 100 million broadcasts.

2. SlideShare

LinkedIn users will appreciate SlideShare, which allows professionals to create slideshow presentations and other dynamic content. Think of it as YouTube for professionals.

While SlideShare still has a long way to go before establishing itself as a social media heavyweight, the platform’s integration with LinkedIn – a network with over 400 million users – can really help it take off. To-date, there have been around 20 million SlideShares posted to LinkedIn. Additionally, a huge percentage of SlideShare users are based outside the United States. Who knows how far it’ll grow once it grabs the attention of the world’s largest economy.

3. Ello

Ello operates much like Facebook, allowing users to make new connections, share dynamic content and interact quickly and efficiently. While the platform isn’t nearly as big as Facebook or Tumblr, it stands on its own for its commitment to never force advertising on its users. If you enjoy social networking without all the ads (and there are many of you out there), Ello might be worth checking out. I’m not a huge fan however with 35,000 subscribers per hour this is a rapidly growing network.

4. Wanelo

Want, Need, Love. That’s the tagline of Wanelo, a social media mall where people can discover and buy products online quickly and easily. Wanelo, which operates as a downloadable app, allows users to parse through millions of products from major brands, retailers and even independent producers. Think of Wanelo as a mix of Pinterest and Amazon. This unique combination allows users to buy products easily while enjoying appealing visual components. The app appears to be a hit so far, boasting over 11 million users as of 2015.

5. Weibo

Weibo is essentially a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social media sites on the web. So why haven’t you heard of it? Probably because it’s aimed at the Chinese market, where the platform dominates. As of 2013, Weibo had a staggering 600 million users, making it one of the biggest social media platforms on the web. According to researchers, over 30% of internet users in China are registered on Weibo.

The company is reportedly developing an English version of its platform. This means Weibo might become a household name sooner rather than later.

Did you try any of these social networks? Which is your favourite?

By Charli Day, writer and content manager