I know you’re already busy keeping up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.  But there are two social nets you need to start tracking, or you’re likely to have that horrible, sinking “I can’t believe I missed it, and I hope my boss doesn’t notice” feeling six months from now.

Flipboard and Houzz.

Both social nets are growing like wildfire, provide great opportunities for building brand awareness and connecting with customers, plus offer ecommerce options.

First, Flipboard.

It started as an app to organize all your social media feeds into a visually attractive “magazine” on iPads and otherFlipboard2.jpg mobile devices.  About a month ago, Flipboard announced a new version that allows users to create personalized magazines including pictures, audio, and video content and then share them with others.  Flipboard 2.0 also lets people connect their magazines to Etsy for ecommerce.

With the new version, the apps’ growth trajectory changed from rapid to something else entirely.

In two weeks, over three million new users signed up for the service.  They created 500,000 personalized magazines to share with friends and subscribers.  The average magazine reader looks at Flipboard content daily.

It quickly became clear that creating a personalized magazine is dead easy and reading them is pretty darn addictive.  Suddenly, Flipboard has over fifty-three million unique monthly users, up from twenty million in August 2012.

The marketing opportunities are now very apparent.

Early adopter companies created their own Flipboard magazines.  CBS.com now has over 1.3 million subscribers.  They just announced their first long-term advertising contract with General Electric.

The new Flipboard is only available for iOS products.  The company says an Android version, plus ecommerce connections to retailers beyond Etsy, are in the works.

If you haven’t yet played with Flipboard you should.  Five minutes in and you’ll understand its marketing potential.

Second, Houzz.

Every brand can use Flipboard to drive business.  Houzz is more focused, but equally relevant if your business is in any way connected to houses.  Home improvement, kitchen utensils, furniture and decor, architecture, decorating services, home buying—all are central to Houzz.

Houzz2.pngThe social network bills itself as “a collaborative platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community.”  I think it would be more aptly described as the love child of Pinterest and Angie’s List that spent a lot of time during its formative years with Quora and Facebook.

The site is a well-balanced blend of inspiration, practical advice, and business connections.  It has a number of ways for brands to showcase themselves as well as interact with consumers via recommendations, ideabooks, and ecommerce.

It’s not easy to get statistics about Houzz.  Rough numbers indicate it currently has fourteen million monthly visitors, up from four million a year ago.  The clearest sign of its success is that Zillow has copied it, launching Zillow Digs.

Once again, a few minutes on the site will show you its potential to transform the way house related brands communicate with consumers and sell their products.

Make the time to explore both social networks.  They are worth it!