5 Startups Every Brand Should Have On Their Radar

By Tiffany Hopkins

Do you have social media campaign fatigue? Symptoms usually include waking up in cold sweats at the thought of doing yet another sweepstakes, pin-to-win, or other semi-generic campaign. Fear not; cool new platforms, products and apps are launching  every day and are here to cure your mundane campaign woes. Keep reading to learn about five of the hottest ones--before your competitors do.

1. Medium: Ever feel like 140 characters just isn't enough? That’s where Medium comes in. The site streams articles written by its diverse community of writers and includes the estimated time it will take to read the story. Medium is a great option for brands who aren’t quite ready to dedicate resources to a blog or Tumblr, as you can write as frequently or infrequently as you like. Aside from a recent contest with Man Repeller blogger Leandra Medine to promote her new book, the site appears free of any advertising or brand partnerships. However, that could change at any moment, so if Medium sounds like a fit for your brand, strike now.

2. Plyfe: We all cringe when the dreaded word “viral” is mentioned as a campaign goal. Virality is not something that can always be planned. Or can it? Plyfe is a gamification platform that rewards user actions like watching a brand video, tweeting a brand message, liking a brand Facebook page, or playing a simple branded game to acquire points. The user with the most points wins or all users who complete the challenges may be entered into a sweepstakes. The challenges are housed within a widget that can be utilized  across platforms guaranteeing a high number of user actions on behalf of the brand in exchange for a simple giveaway.

3. Frontback: Does missing out on a photo opp because you’re the one taking the photo give you serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)? There’s an app for that. It’s called Frontback. The app allows you take photos simultaneously using the front and rear camera of your iPhone. It’s already generating major buzz with famous users such as Ashton Kutcher and Jack Dorsey, and has 300,000 downloads thus far with little  to no marketing. Word on the street is that Twitter has its eyes on the fledgling app which means it’s only a matter of time before it goes mainstream. The possibilities for brand integration are endless so make sure to keep Frontback on in mind for 2014.

4. Snaps: Establishing a one-to-one connection with consumers can be tough. Snaps makes that process a little easier. The app allows you to virtually integrate different images like a photo of a celebrity, product, or film character into a new or existing photo. It's a fun and engaging way to generate branded user-generated content. The content can be used on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest and the app contains a robust set of analytics to track ROI.

5. Coin: Perhaps the buzziest new startup of the moment is Coin. Coin allows users to combine their credit cards into one single digital card. When ready to buy, simply choose which credit card you want to use via a selection screen embedded on the actual card, swipe, and your purchase is complete. Critics have identified a few weaknesses with Coin such as lack of a rechargeable battery and its dependence on cell phone technology to remain active. That hasn't seemed to hurt demand.  The company met its pre-sale goal of $50,000 in sales in just 40 minutes, proving the demand is there. The real question is: Which brand will step up and be the first to capitalize on this hot startup?

Do you have any up-and-comers on your radar? Tell us in the comments!