If you haven’t heard of Lemon8, she’s TikTok’s little sister. The Insta meets Pinterest meets Depop kind of content is posing all sorts of questions for brands. So that poses the question – while the app is still a baby, how much attention should brands be paying it?

Lemon8 divides content between five main categories: beauty, fashion, travel, wellness and food. Lemon8 has already built a strong presence in Asia. After Japan, it expanded to countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The majority of Lemon8’s active users are still predominantly based in the East. Having said that, 34% of downloads have come from the US since it launched there in February. According to market research firm Sensor Tower, the average age of Lemon8’s users is between 28 and 30 years old.

The app is clearly investing in its growth via many creators with many posts being tagged with #Lemon8Partner, meaning Lemon8 is paying the creators and micro-influencers to post. This is a very different approach to how Instagram and TikTok grew which, instead of relying on paid creators, developed followings of everyday users, then they became corporatised. The difference is that Lemon8 is optimising for a shopping and influence landscape from square one — and this is hugely important to the platform experience.

Most everyday users – including myself – are posting on the app and waiting for its moment as, like wth TikTok in 2019/2020, we never know when it will blow.

It is not yet possible to directly tag items or add shoppable links to content on Lemon8. However, content creators are finding ways to monetise their posts. Beth Bartram, who has almost 350,000 followers on Instagram, recently joined Lemon8. “I’ve been using it to share fashion inspo, outfit ideas, fitness tips and high street style ideas for over-thirties, which can be shopped from my bio link,” she says, adding that she is working with the shopping platform Like To Know (LTK) — which allows influencers to upload their images and shop the products feature through the a link in the creator’s bio — to monetise her content. “I’ve used a mix of new imagery as well as repurposing older and popular content that I’ve previously shared on other social media,” she adds.

What is clear is that Bytedance really wants educational [content]: step-by-step tutorials, makeup carousels. Where to buy [products], how much did it cost etc which leads to many monetisation abilities.

Kelsey Chickering, principal analyst at research and advisory firm Forrester, points out that it’s becoming easier for brands to test and learn as new platforms emerge, as today’s creators often work across several apps. “For brands with established creator programmes and an appetite for experimentation, consider co-building content with your existing ambassadors who are already activating on Lemon8,” she says.

Ultimately, Lemon8’s success will depend on whether it is able to build and sustain demand as a standalone app. Other social media platforms such as BeReal also experienced explosive growth during the beta stages, but that demand is starting to decelerate.

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