When most individuals hear “social media,” the platforms that probably spring to mind are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and “New Kid on the Block” Snapchat.

This is understandble, as these sites have proven their staying power in a constantly changing and versatile space.

Other sites have come and gone (Rest In Peace, MySpace…), however 2016 is proving to be the year of expansion for social media. While the stalwarts of the industry continue to hold on to their dominance, other apps and sites are quickly filling niche markets- much to users chagrin.

1. Wanelo


Launched in 2012, Wanelo was founded by Deena Varshavskaya and brands itself as the “Best Way to Shop on Your Phone.”

Its name is the combination of three words specific to the shopping experience: want, need and love.

Think of the app as Pinterest and Tinder’s lovechild, as users can browse thousands of stores and swipe right to save and share items they hope to purchase in the future.

The typical mall offers roughly 150 stores from which to choose. Wanelo has over 550,000 vendors, ranging in size from national chain stores to Etsy-style independant merchants. With over 30 million products available for purchase, as well as the ability to make users feel as though they are shopping in the mall of your dreams with their friends, Wanelo has an incredibly bright future in the social media spac

2. Yik Yak


The anonymous, location-based sharing app came on the scene in 2013, and has quickly grown into a social media contender.

Yik Yak uses a member’s GPS location and allows them to add content to a microblog specific to said location. Users interact much like those on Reddit, using Up Votes (its version of “likes”) and Down Votes (“dislikes”) to rate posts. The most relevant posts are propelled to the top of a location’s feed. Not only can users access local threads on Yik Yak, they are also able to see what’s going on with the rest of the “herd” all around the world.

Founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington developed Yik Yak as a way to “make the world feel small again”. With a steadily increasing user base and the recent addition of a web based format, Yik Yak won’t be sitting at the “Kid’s Table” of social media much longer.

3. Shots


Think of Shots as the throwback mixture of Instagram and Snapchat.

The comedy app, launched in late 2013, first made waves in the social media world due to its intended absence of user ability to comment or “like” any content published.

Founders John Shahidi and Sam Shahidi left out these features as a way to combat cyberbullying and alleviate any stress associated with user posts. The mobile application allows users to take Selfies or “Shots” and record 30 second videos for sharing. That content is date and time stamped, mirroring the look of old VHS tape material. Shots also added a GPS locating system to find friends nearby, as well as a private messaging forum.

Shots may be a long way away from Snapchat in terms of popularity, however its rising recognition amongst Millennials has shot (pun intended) the app to the front of the social media newbies line. Plus, Justin Bieber is one of the original investors, so that can’t hurt, right?

4. Hyper


At first, Hyper may appear to be yet another photo sharing social media app.

Much like its behemoth of a competitor Instagram, users can upload photos to Hyper for others to view. Those photos are then voted upon in Reddit fashion of upvotes and downvotes (are you seeing a pattern here?).

However, what sets Hyper apart in the market is its devotion to privacy and anonymity.

Users do not have actual profiles that are connected to content, meaning that very little information about a user can be discerned from their posts. Users can find one another through the use of geotargeted hashtags, and can share information in a secure and non-intrusive manner.

For those reasons, Hyper seems to have a deserved presence on anyone’s smartphone.

5. Snapchat


Yes, we know: Snapchat is certainly not flying under anyone’s radar.

In the past few years, Snapchat has handedly given Facebook a run for its money when it comes to reaching Millennial users in the live streaming sector.

Most anyone you see walking down the street making a funny face at his or her smartphone is almost certainly using Snapchat and one of its array of entertaining filters.

What has changed with Snapchat and justified its place on this list is the way that businesses are now utilizing the platform.

Advertisers like Gatorade and Taco Bell are quickly showing the business world how affective Snapchat geofilters are for brand recognition.

Snapchat can geofence a particular event in any city, and serve a business’s ad to anyone on Snapchat in that defined location. To that point, advertisers spend large amounts of money in producing television commercials in the hopes that it may reach their intended audience.

Conversely, Snapchat geofilters are extremely inexpensive, and provide an interactive messaging platform. Snapchat for business is relatively new to the scene, but as long as the platform can mitigate the amount of advertising a user encounters during a session, it has profoundly changed the social media game.

What are some of your favorite under-the-radar apps and social media platforms? Let us know in the comments!