Try as they might, brands and publishers simply can’t resist the latest shiny social bauble.
The latest object of interest: Peach, a new social networking app that combines Slack-like commands with a Facebook Messenger-style interface, introduced last Friday. Major brands like Asos and Merriam-Webster are up and running, along with several publishers like Vice and The Washington Post.
On Monday afternoon, clothing retailer Asos penned a literal love letter to the app on its corporate blog.
Merriam-Webster, which is using the network to doodle its “word of the day.” Jesse DeWitt, director of digital product management, said that Merriam-Webster has a new strategy focusing on exposing people “to the love of language” rather than just share definitions, and Peach is its first opportunity to do that.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) January 9, 2016
“Resources are a problem, but we have such a well-established routine with other social networks,” he said. “It helps to have a little left in the tank.” Merriam-Webster has racked up close to 1,000 friends on the network since it got on Saturday.
The haste is surprising. Most brands are stretched for resources, especially in social and digital, so staffing for new platforms is frequently cited as a major challenge for companies, regardless of size. “First is not right for all cultures,” said Moxie CEO Sean Reardon. “As they say, ‘The pioneers get the arrows, the settlers get the land’.”
J Crew, Starbucks and Taco Bell have Peach accounts, but it’s hard to tell if the brands themselves set their accounts up or not. When reached by email, a Domino’s rep first said that the brand wasn’t on Peach, then said the company was “looking into” who set up the account. Abercrombie said the account claiming to represent the retailer wasn’t actually sanctioned by the brand.
Peach has certain hallmarks of Snapchat, too: It’s hard to find brands to follow or surface brand content. And you have to request to “Peach” someone and then be accepted, which takes time. And while there are plenty of people proclaiming this as the next big social network, there’s also indication that Peach, which peaked at No. 85 on the Apple App Store Saturday, is already on its way out. (It was No. 121 in rankings Monday afternoon, and there are plenty of Meerkat comparisons already being made.)
And publishers have also gotten on: The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post both hacked a way around the verification process by posting photos and videos from their newsrooms as “proof” that it’s actually them. Other publishers with presences include Popular Science, Mic and Vice’s fashion vertical, i-D. One reason for them to jump on board is so they can claim their social handles before squatters do.
“Newsroom resources are always a concern, but this requires relatively little time and we have to embrace doing it as early as possible versus jumping in much later,” said Scott Kleinberg, social media editor at the Chicago Tribune.
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