By Alison Freeman
Shoelace is a new ‘hyperlocal’ social network, created by Google in its ‘workshop for experimental products’ – otherwise known as Area 120.
Shoelace, a name designed to make you think of tying things together, is aimed at allowing people to form groups of friends online, then in real-life, based on common hobbies and interests.
Still in its infancy, invite-only and available to begin with just to New York City residents, Shoelace feels like a mashup between Facebook Events and a WhatsApp Group chat. Furthermore, it doesn’t want to be known as just another social network. Like ‘Meetup’, it sees itself as a social app which inspires real world connections.
The global social media market was valued at $33.8 billion in 2017, and this is Google’s fifth attempt at establishing a social media network following four high profile failures, the latest being Google+ which wound down in April of this year, so will it be fifth time lucky for Google?
How it works
Users will be able to connect with people in the same city (or certain vicinity) through interests and (most likely) ‘liked’ activities. People can join, create or suggest “Loops,” events or activities, and are invited to organize and participate in Loops nearby. Loops seem to act in the similar way of Facebook Events so far, but the app is still in Beta.
Shoelace: huge opportunities for business
If Shoelace takes off, the combination of local advertising, Google Maps and Shoelace will be very appealing to business owners. One day advertisers could have the opportunity to target prospects in real-time based on triggers such as situations, places, weather and more.
‘Hyperlocal marketing’ is not a new concept and is based currently on mobile phone users carrying out ‘near-me’ searches and local businesses tapping into this search behaviour.
Hyperlocal networks, such as NextDoor, which was established in 2008 and is now valued at $2.1billion, have people using them in specific neighbourhoods, so Shoelace could become the go-to place for local businesses to spend budget on hyperlocal advertising.
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