What is Lemon8 and why is every person and their parrot talking about it? And why do loads of other countries have it and not us? ByteDance, the powerhouse behind TikTok, has set its sights on the Western social media market with its new lifestyle app, Lemon8. This Instagram-like platform has been making waves, and it’s time to delve into what makes this new social media offering so talked-about.
Lemon8: A lifestyle app combo
Lemon8 may be a newcomer to social media users in the UK, US and Japan, but it has quickly risen to the top of the Play Store and the App Store’s lifestyle app category. It is not available in Australia yet, and there is no news on when it will.
In the way that TikTok has sucked a whole pile of viewers away from Facebook and onto TikTok, Lemon8 seems to be muscling into the territory of Instagram and Pinterest, by being reminiscent of a merge between the two, but with the “For You” algorithm of TikTok.
The new social media offering is all about photo sharing, catering to users’ interests in food, beauty, wellness, and travel.
ByteDance has even gone the extra mile by incentivising influencers to promote the app, further fuelling its growth.
However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
Lemon8: Making money
Unlike TikTok’s vertical video scrolling, Lemon8 encourages users to create content around specific topics, such as fashion, beauty, food, wellness, and travel. Within each topic, users can explore suggestions, recommendations, and get-ready-with-me style visuals.
With features like the ability to tag clothing and insert prices, Lemon8 resembles Instagram’s influencer-driven approach to viewers and their purchasing decisions.
Is it worth moving to as a creator?
The new social media offering is the brainchild of ByteDance, the same company that owns TikTok. ByteDance seemingly hope to use the interest in TikTok to make people consider Lemon8 an an alternative to Instagram. However, influencers who move to Lemon8 will not be without risks. With moves to ban TikTok in multiple countries already underway, the platform could also face similar big legal challenges. The future of Lemon8 across multiple countries hinges on its ability to navigate these complex dynamics.
A Western Xiaohongshu
Lemon8 draws inspiration from Xiaohongshu (right click on this page once opened and choose translate) which translates as ‘Little Red Book’. It is the Chinese version of Lemon8 and is a prominent social networking and e-commerce platform in China.
By targeting the Western market, the app aims to copy Xiaohongshu’s success. Lemon8 lets influencers link their TikTok and Instagram accounts which potentially extends their reach.
Lemon8 currently lacks a lot of influencers with dedicated followings, however micro-influencers are getting a foothold. Getting in early in a sparsely populated platform may be a good idea if there is already a crowded market elsewhere.
Lemon8 vs. TikTok: Understanding the Nuances
Lemon8 and TikTok have different audiences and content styles. firstly, Lemon8 places a stronger emphasis on influencer marketing, while TikTok relies on user-generated content.
Also, Lemon8 influencers collaborate with brands a lot to promote aesthetics or lifestyles, much like Instagram. Whereas, TikTok creators thrive by embracing their niche, whether it’s cooking, dancing, or education. TikTok’s video format seems to be more authentic, even when sponsored content is involved.
Like Instagram, Lemon8 has creators that curate “aesthetic” content that showcases the best aspects of their lives. As the app gets traction, the same argument about authenticity is appearing. Conversations around the perfectionist nature of social media are already being debated.
Monetisation on Lemon8
Influencers may baulk at creating an account on Lemon8 because of uncertainty surrounding monetisation opportunities. They may need time to understand the algorithm and it takes a lot of effort to build a following from scratch.
Marketers may also hesitate to invest in the platform due to ByteDance’s tricky relationship with world governments. However, as Lemon8 matures and establishes its position in the social media market, early adopters could gain an advantage by getting in early and learning how to monetise their content before the rest of the hoards arrive, if they ever do.
The Future of Lemon8
Simply because TikTok has been such a massive disruptor in the social media market, Lemon8 has emerged as a viable contender. And, there are many complaints about existing platforms like Instagram, for example, constant algorithm changes, being banned due to political beliefs, disabling of accounts for no known reason, and no customer service when things go wrong. While the same problems have also plagued TikTok, there may come a day where Mark Zuckerberg’s offerings just don’t keep up with ByteDance.
Lemon8 will probably succeed in capturing the attention of users who seek aesthetically pleasing content without the limitations they find on other platforms. Lemon8 has the potential to reshape the way we interact with lifestyle apps. Or it call fall into the rubbish bins of apps that didn’t make it, like Vine, Google+, and MySpace.
In the ever-evolving world of social media, Lemon8 may be a wild disputor, or it could be a passing thought. Time will tell, and we will report more once it hits Australian shores.