Gone are the days of each social media app serving an individual, unique purpose.

In its infancy, Facebook was the designated platform for connecting with classmates, friends, and family. Instagram was intended to share photos. LinkedIn's sole purpose was professional networking.

Suddenly, Instagram had stories, which had previously been a Snapchat exclusive. Then TikTok came along and changed the game as the leading platform for short videos.

As Silicon Valley evolved, features that were once considered cutting edge became ubiquitous in a sea of copycat platforms. Instagram Reels—a near-replica of TikTok—even went so far as to introduce a Remix option.

TikTok is not the only victim of the copycat technique, however. Clubhouse, an audio-based app, is used by everyone from everyday people to executives, celebrities, and athletes. Audio-based apps are one of the hottest trends in the social media market. Since Clubhouse's rise in popularity, Twitter has introduced Spaces, Facebook has been testing Hotline, and Instagram and LinkedIn have been in talks to incorporate similar features.

Such changes mean marketers might feel inclined to invest in new channels, but they also raise a big question: Which apps or features should brands take advantage of, and which ones should they sit out on?

Here are a few tips to navigate the influx of emerging social media apps.

Learn to follow etiquette on emerging social media platforms—and then differentiate yourself

Taking the time to properly familiarize yourself with a platform before committing too much time or money is a good place to start. By understanding the purpose of the platform and its user etiquette, you'll also assess whether it's a good fit for you and your organization.

On Clubhouse, for instance, familiarize yourself with the groups and listen in on conversations. By taking time to understand what others in your industry are talking about, you'll gain insight on what is working for your competitors and customers.

Understanding the differences among emerging social media platforms is crucial. Consult with your team and the influencers you work with to see what is working for them. What tools are they using you might not have considered? What trends are they seeing in one app compared to another?

Comprehending the etiquette of a social media platform allows you to explore new ways to creatively and effectively reach your targeted audience and build your brand with thought leadership and content.

In the realm of audio-based apps in particular—where there are no faces and a brand's identifier is a name, logo, and voice—finding ways to differentiate yourself and bring value to already-formed communities is worth the effort.

Just because a platform is popular doesn't mean it's useful for your company

FOMO is real in the world of emerging social media. But before jumping right into a new platform, take the time to research whether the app is a fit for your organization. Identify the various features and understand the tools you can use.

Many social media platforms are exploring new methods to one-up their competitors—even merging the concepts of audio, video, and text in creative ways. That trend will likely continue.

When exploring new social media options, keep your organization's goals in mind. If your company is small and your goal is growth, it might be wise to use audio apps such as Clubhouse or Spaces for networking. However, if your goal is to have people see your products and services first-hand, visual apps such as TikTok or Instagram might be the better route.

To stay grounded in an ever-changing social media landscape, know who your target audience is for a campaign, and understand how they consume social media. Consulting with influencers and agencies can help to keep your social media efforts streamlined, targeted, and ready to make an impact.

Experience the hype but without putting all your eggs in one basket

It's easy to get overzealous and to want to dive in immediately when everyone is talking about a new app. But buzzworthy apps still require proper planning—perhaps even more so than others.

Ensuring you have a content calendar in place helps to keep your content streamlined and strategized. Planning around themes, focus areas, and goals—as well as partnering with influencers to align on content calendars—prevents you from spreading your efforts too thin and ensures you are not neglecting or hyper-focusing on certain apps and platforms solely because they're generating mainstream attention.

No matter which apps you plan on using, it's important to post consistently on those platforms to maximize the number of people who view your content. Doing so shows customers and potential partners that you're present and active and introduces fresh content for those who might not follow your brand on all channels. You don't always need unique content for each platform, however; sometimes, cross-posting can make sense—and it can save you time and money.

Committing yourself to one platform with proven value in your industry deserves its own strategy—because it's more likely to drive ROI. Again, consulting with a marketing agency and influencers familiar with the platform you choose is a great way to better understand and more effectively reach your audiences in the oft-confusing world of emerging social media.

More Resources on Emerging Social Media Platforms

What Marketers Need to Know About Clubhouse [Infographic]

How to Establish Thought Leadership on Emerging Social Platforms

Why Marketers Should Invest in the Stories Format and Stories Ads, and How to Do It

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image of Justin Kline

Justin Kline is CEO, managing director, and a co-founder of Markerly, an influencer marketing agency and technology company.

LinkedIn: Justin Kline

Twitter: @justinkline