What is Pheed?
Co-founded in October 2012 by O.D Kobo, a renowned Hong Kong based Internet entrepreneur and a computer programmer, Pheed is a social media platform that is a very smart combination of all the top social media websites that exist on earth. Pheeders (the Pheed users) can create their own channels, post videos, audio clips, chats, text, photos, and interestingly live broadcasts. Pheed’s audience is mostly teenagers, which presents a unique opportunity for businesses to connect with and build experiences for teenage demographic.
Pheed’s initial success
Calling ‘Retweet’ from Twitter as ‘Remix’, and ‘Like’ from Facebook as ‘Love’, Pheed launched its iPhone app in November 2012 that became popular among teenagers, and it took no more than 4 months to rank #1 on Apple charts in social apps category. Ilya Pozin, the founder of a digital marketing agency Ciplex, and a writer for Forbes magazine labeled Pheed as ‘The New Twitter‘ and a ‘Twitter with a business model’ as it is the world’s first social media app to offer pay-per-view live broadcasting on mobile.
Pheed for celebrities
Pheed has a great potential if businesses and celebrities use it to promote content that will benefit the channel host and the platform as they both share 50% of the subscription fees for the premium channel, which enables its holders to monetize their content. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton, who are popular among teens, have gained more than 200,000 subscribers by sending their Pheeds on regular basis. This means roughly 20% of the Pheed’s users follow them.
Still, the majority of celebrities who are present on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are not leveraging Pheed in their social media portfolio. This raises a few questions: are celebrities and businesses confident that they can gain subscribers who will pay to consume their content? Are they confident that Pheed will help them grow as a brand? Is Pheed different for them than other social platforms or does it have more loyal target audience?
These are really crucial questions to be addressed because Pheed is not becoming as big as or as important as Facebook or Twitter. But does it need to? In addition, Pheed needs Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to market the platform, but these successful players do not want Pheed to take away their audience to discover and pay for content on Pheed. That said, Pheed has a long way to go to rival the biggest social networks and needs to continue to innovate and expand.
Pheed for businesses
Despite numerous challenges to establish and retain its audience, Pheed has been growing impressively. Pheed can actually watermark the content of the brand to keep it safe, so that the creator can monetize the content and reap the profits, of which Pheed takes its share. Brands such as Taco Bell and MTV who have verified Pheed accounts can monetize (not only monetarily but also intangibly in the form of brand equity) the unique content they produce and share it with increasingly influential teenage demographic.
Here are three simple ways brands can benefit from Pheed:
- Share user-generated content - There is a real nice Italian restaurant right by my apartment. I went there couple times and met the same employees; they were good but not great. They noticed me for three consecutive days, but they never went out of their way to make me feel welcome (just a genuine smile would have worked. Seriously!). I stopped going. It is not only a good business practice to develop your community and brand advocates, it is the essence of Pheed and social media marketing. Sharing user-generated content (one remix on Pheed when the audience is not as big in number as it is on other social platforms) is like that one warm smile that tells one’s followers that one cares about them and their presence.
- Stay active - One of the major reasons I have seen brands not doing as well as they could on Pheed is that they are not consistently active. MTV was last active 3 months ago whereas Taco Bell was active 19 days ago. However, I have never seen both of these brands inactive for more than a day on their respective Twitter handles and Facebook pages. Active brands motivate people to engage with content, get into conversations that turn into a dialogue rather than a monologue, and that increases brand loyalty.
- Create your persona - When I think of Audi as a brand, I think of luxury, strength, design and toughness; brands should know what kind of user persona they should connect with – i.e. who is their customer and what they like, whether Pheed would work for them as a platform, whether they want to cater to the young demographic, and etc. There are infinite ways to be creative, but I can think of a lot of pharma or IT brands that may not benefit from ‘Pheeding’. Whereas MTV, the channel for the youth can immensely benefit from Pheed. Make sure you have created user personas to figure out if your audience is on Pheed.
Now, we know that Pheed has been growing, and it has a lot of potential. But, how much this ‘new generation’ of teenagers would want express itself outside Facebook. Does it want to share so much on so many platforms available including Pheed? My concern is: do the consumers have room for another social media platform? These days, everyone around me is using a cool app called Vine. Lowe’s recently started a Vine video campaign giving people home improvement tips for free, and the six-second videos went viral enhancing the brand image of the company. It still may be too early to predict the success of Pheed as the company launched its Android app in May 2013, but the clock is ticking for the creators to establish a sizable share and attention of social media users.
Why is it difficult for Pheed to grow?
Pheed has grown fast reaching a million users, but has a tough road ahead competing with Facebook that has more than a billion users and Twitter with more than 550 million. But businesses and celebrities want to connect with target audience, and consumers want to create and share the content they are interested in with the people they want, so Pheed may just fit into the teenage social media void created by decreasing influence of MySpace.
According to Matthew Capala, Adj. Professor at NYU and Head of Search at Profero: Teenagers are looking for alternatives to Facebook so that they are not on the same social network with their parents and teachers. In a way, Pheed offers a teen-exclusivity, which could be appealing for the younger demographic. However, the risk is that the users will abandon Pheed as they reach adulthood and move on to Facebook, so Pheed needs to constantly bring in new users. If you are marketing to teenagers, I can’t image you not being on Pheed though.
Here are the two major reasons that show Pheed has a tough road ahead:
- Inactive Pheeders - The brands that I have followed on Pheed are not very active; it feels like they don’t feel the need to be very active on this platform and to devote their crucial social media time and strategy on Pheed.
- No big difference - Low scale and reach is a problem for Pheed. Pheed is new, and it has a very cool interface; ‘we are not a pay-to-access platform’, Chrysta Olson at Pheed says. But then, just incorporating all the best features of all the already huge social platforms may not work for Pheed because the audience on other platforms is already huge, and users already have their space.
Without a doubt, the scale of Pheed is low compared to Facebook and Twitter, but if you want to connect with teenage demographic, you should definitely incorporate Pheed into your social media strategy.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!