Spring.me: A Closer Look Into a Resurrected Social Media Concept

What is it?

Originally Australia-based Spring.me is a social media app and website platform for generating questions around various interests. They call themselves “a social network for meeting people and starting conversations.” Ever heard of them? I hadn’t either and was suprised, until learning that they had just launched Beta this time last year, after acquiring an existing social media platform that had gotten a “bad rap”.

The Stats:

A relatively new social media platform, Spring.me has over 4 million visitors each month: 82% of which are between the ages of 16-24, according to their website. Part of this large number could be attributed to the fact that Spring.me acquired the (now closed) Formspring website, along with all of their users in May 2013. The existing Formspring users were given the opportunity to continue as Beta users on the new Spring.me platform in July of last year, before opening to the public in September 2013.

To prepare for its launch after raising over $2 million from various investors, Helpa Services (owner of Spring.me) recruited a technical team to build a platform ready to support Formspring’s existing 25 million users. In the last few months, an announcement has been made that Helpa Services will be acquired and rebranded: “[…] GRP Corporation will acquire Spring.Me’s parent company Helpa Services, and rebrand as Spring Networks, as the company seeks to raise $4.5 million from existing and new investors on the sharemarket.”

So you’ve got the scoop…but what exactly is it used for?

Spring.me is a place for questions…questions about love, questions about life, questions asking “would you rather,” and so on. Spring.me’s open community allows users to ask all types of questions, post videos, pictures, send both public and private messages, and “smile” at other users’ posts (similar to Facebook’s “like” function.) If you’re familiar with Formspring, you are probably aware that it received a reputation for cyber bullying. Spring.me has revitalized the original concept of “starting conversations” based on common interests making an effort to keep risqué or vulgar posts away by their extended list of privacy, security and content settings, allowing users to select from “Green” content: suitable for everyone; “Orange” content: suitable for 15+, and “Red” content: suitable for 18+.

New users can integrate their Google +, Facebook and/or Twitter accounts to see which of their friends or followers are already using Spring.me and connect with them. The Spring.me app mirrors the website, both visually and with its functionality.

spring.me 1 spring.me 2

Key features and functions within the mobile app and website:

  1. The ability to ask any or all users a question: (your status as an active user or influencer, based on number of followers, determines just how many people see your post)
    spring.me feature 1
  2. Users can use suggested questions to get a conversation going:
    spring.me feature 2
  3. Top users (Spring.me, in most cases) posts a featured question that generates a large response:
    spring.me feature 3
  4. The “Gallery” function allows users to share photos publicly:
    spring.me feature 4
  5. The “Opinions” feature allows users to participate in polls.(Currently in Beta, this feature shows the percentage of other users that selected the same answer, however, it does not show the total number of users that participated.)
    spring.me feature 5
  6. The “People” function gives users the ability to see others who are ready to chat, followers, and featured profiles.
    spring.me feature 6
  7. Additional feature: ability to create meme images:spring.me feature 7a spring.me feature 7b
  8. Users can post a Widget directly on their blog or website, encouraging site visitors to ask them questions:

spring.me widget

 

Now, how can these features be beneficial for a brand’s marketing efforts?

After researching the Spring.me channel, I noticed this platform is hardly used by brands. Sure, many more users can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and other major social media platforms, but there is something to be said for over 4 million visitors each month. Spring.me could be a mecca for brands that target the younger crowd. They can ease their way into the “conversation” by asking open-ended questions, generating a discussion with their followers. This could be an added effort to establish or maintain a relationship between consumer and brand. Plus, consumers know what they want and can give feedback for new or improved products.

Spring.me encourages organizations to become an “influencer” on their website. Whether you are a major corporation or a small mom & pop storefront, various price options are offered.

spring.me influencer

Spring.me welcomes organizations to participate in conversations: “Our targeting options allow you to setup a Spring.me account and build a following of members who are passionate about your business. We can connect you with customers in a specific geography or across specific demographics allowing you to engage them in meaningful conversations.”

To demonstrate the response one question can receive, I posted the question: “How often do you log into spring.me?” Within 30 minutes, I had three responses:
spring.me 2 spring.me 3

If my measly little week-old profile with no true profile picture and 1 follower could generate a handful of responses within half an hour, a brand that is widely recognized by consumers could receive a massive response to their posts. (Due to the lack of brands on Spring.me, I was unable to capture this response and, therefore, these are only my assumptions based on project research.)

Not only would adding Spring.me into a company’s communications plan reap benefits from a virtually untapped platform, it would also be a smart IMC move, which is perhaps the biggest benefit…

Let’s say “ABC Ice Cream” company posted the question,”What flavor would you like to see on the shelf next?” on their Spring.me page, selecting the options to post via Facebook and Twitter. Not only would they receive answers from the original platform, but current Facebook and Twitter fans will also be able to see this question and have the opportunity to share their thoughts.

spring.me facebook

As previously mentioned, Spring.me is still in its early stages, but appears to have promising results with the current number of visitors to the mobile app and website. There is much room for brands to begin making their presence on this platform, especially those that target young adults, or are looking for ways to include their current audience in relationship-building discussions.

For information on how Spring.me can benefit a brand’s IMC strategies, as well as a brief walk-through of Spring.me, check out this Prezi.

 Sources:

Spring.me “Advertise”: (Retrieved: 2014, July 1).  http://new.spring.me/#!/static/advertise

 

Spring.me “Become an Influencer”: (Retrieved: 2014, July 1).  http://new.spring.me/#!/static/influencer

 

Hutchinson, J. (2014, April 29). Social network Spring.Me latest to take backdoor to the ASX. . Retrieved June 30, 2014, from http://www.afr.com/p/technology/social_network_spring_asx_latest_vR9u5G0033ZjDqYRhOTbyM

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