This article originally appeared at American Express OpenForumThere are countless social networks out there, riding the success of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Most aren’t worth a business’s glance, but some can provide some real value.
One of the latest attempts to shake up the industry is Chime.in, made by the folks at UberMedia. It launched on Oct. 17, and fancies itself as an “interest network” that makes connections based on content, rather than people.
It’s getting attention, too. Actor and Twitter superstar Ashton Kutcher is on Chime.in, and big brands like Disney, Universal Pictures and E! have already signed partnership deals.
But is Chime.in actually worth your small business’s time and resources? We signed up and took a look at what it has to offer.
One of the most important aspects of social networks for businesses is the ability to share content, and as you’d expect, Chime.in has its own take on a status update or tweet.
They’re predictably called “chimes,” and they’re like a Facebook-Reddit-Blog combo post. Chimes can be 4,000 characters max, displaying a headline, a few sentences of text as a preview, an image or video, profile picture, and tags. Plus there’s a comment thread for each chime, and an upvote-downvote system.
Chimes are also categorized—a key part of that “interest network” idea—creating a much more structured version of the hashtag system on Twitter. Every chime needs to be tagged before being posted, so that they’re ready to slide into users’ categorized feeds. Chimes can also be saved for later, like “favoriting” a tweet.
Another quirk is the integrated polling system, which businesses can use to quickly survey their followers. On Twitter, you’d have to hook up to a third party to get that done.
Chime.in profiles boast customisable backgrounds and a Facebook-like timeline (and yes, it’s called a “chimeline”), plus a categorized list of your recent posts that followers can read through.
But here’s the kicker, and the biggest selling point for businesses to adopt Chime.in. You’re given control of the advertising and sponsorships on your profile page. You can have either UberMedia publish the ads for you (and it will take a 50 per cent chunk of what you make from the ads), or do it yourself and keep 100 per cent of the profits: simple, and fully controllable, monetization.
You also have the opportunity to run advertisements on the Chime.in mobile app, which has nearly all the features that the website does. The app is available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, but not on feature phones.
Similar to Facebook or LinkedIn groups, communities are perfect for promoting events, or they can be used as places for fans to congregate—a plus for business in either case. Again, the threaded discussions in the feeds are categorized.
The communities are set up well to promote engagement. The sidebar has a broad discussion thread that users can contribute to in addition to the comment threads in each post. They seem to be a popular component of the site in the early going; UberMedia says that there have been 4,000 communities formed within the first week.
So, should your business sign up?
Yes, the ad revenue model alone warrants a test run from businesses. And remember, it costs your business nearly nothing. So what have you got to lose? After all, setting up a page, learning how to use it and chiming daily aren’t huge investments.
But be patient with it, and monitor the network’s overall progress. Social sites don’t just blow up overnight, and with the space already so cluttered no one knows if Chime.in will actually take off. The success of a social network comes down to the adoption of the masses, not businesses.
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