In the herculean effort to advance their brand amid Twitter’s seemingly constant controversy and chaos, some marketers are on the hunt for an alternative — and lately several are vying for attention. Most recently, it's Hive Social.

But can a platform without advertising and strict limits on commercial contact be the answer?

CMSWire reported last week that Hive has been downloaded 2 million times and currently ranks sixth out of 83 of Google Play’s top free apps. Comparatively, Twitter ranks third among the top free social apps and just over 237.8 million users.

There are differences that may appeal to marketers. In an apparent conglomeration of features enjoyed within various other social media platforms, Hive Social enables profile music (Hello Myspace), polls, color themes, image posts (but only photos you have taken or have the right to post) and an no-character limit on text posts, which are presented in a chronological feed. This does away with Twitter’s practice of prioritizing one account’s posts over another.

What Does Hive Social Offer Marketers?

Despite the fact that Hive doesn’t currently have advertisements or business accounts, marketers can still use it to promote their brand by posting links that connect back to their own site. And the lack of traditional ads and focus on authenticity could prove a boon for marketers who learn how to navigate the rules successfully and evoke a more genuine, trustworthy campaign.

Further, Hive Social provides access to a curated community by allowing users to follow a variety of topics — like tech or marketing — and follow different hashtags to discover similar content. However, posting repetitive comments or content and repeatedly contacting people for commercial purposes without their consent — like marketers are prone to do occasionally — is not allowed.

And it appears the platform hasn’t yet reached its footing within the marketing community. Among the dozen or so marketing professionals contacted for this article, nearly all assumed Hive Social was a different company — the email marketing company, or the project platform —

Many others are making the same mistake — so much so Hive (the project platform) posted to Twitter:


Poking the Hive: Is Trouble Abuzz?

But is there trouble in the Hive Paradise? Finding a “number of critical vulnerabilities,” security investigators from the German cyber collective Zerforschung released a statement on Nov. 30 that “strongly advised against using Hive in any form in the current state.”

Reported vulnerabilities included “allowing any attacker to access all data” such as private email addresses and phone numbers as well as private posts, messages, shared media, deleted direct messages and the ability to overwrite the posts of other users. The next day, via Twitter, Hive Social announced they’d temporarily deactivated its servers for maintenance.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: What Is Hive Social, the Latest Twitter Alternative Gaining Steam?

What Do Marketers Have to Say About Hive Social?

Ajay Porwal, head of marketing and co-founder at DroidOwl, said Hive Social has great premise behind it.

“I can see a lot of marketers loving it, the icons make it easy to navigate and the newsfeed page looks great. It's the best Twitter alternative I have seen for iOS,” Porwal said. “I like how it incorporates the square display of Instagram and the text posts of Twitter. It's quite straightforward, which I appreciate.”

But Joe Davies, co-founder of the SEO and marketing company FATJOE, said the move to Hive may be temporary because the key strength for any social network is the network effect — and it doesn’t make sense to stay if your friends are not around.

Davies also advises marketers to be aware of the age demographic (he predicts it will be 16-25) and then determine whether your product or brand fits. Further, he points out the platform has not yet developed a full suite for marketers to run their ads — nor is any information available on their site related to marketing or advertising.

“So far, I see no reasons for people to stick to Hive," Davies said. "Hive’s feature is standard as a social network site with photos, comments and groups but Hive is only available in iOS and Google Play, which — from a marketer’s perspective — will limit your reach a lot. Moreover, Hive is highly unstable, as it has suffered outage multiple times in the last few months. If you want to try out Hive for your company as a marketing channel, go ahead. Create an account and cross post from Twitter and Facebook. However, do not spend any marketing budget on it yet, due to its fleeting hype and undeveloped infrastructure to support its growth.”

Dustin Ray, chief growth officer and co-CEO of incfile, agrees that Hive Social could be very popular with Generation Z which could bode well for brands marketing to that demographic. 

"Young people are excited about this new platform, especially after the disappointment that the changes in Twitter showed itself to be," Ray said. "I personally have not had the chance to explore it for myself as of yet, but I do plan to create an account because I'm really curious about how this platform works and its appeal. From what I can see, it has the best of several social media worlds, plus it's something new and different. To marketers, I would first advise them to really study the platform and how it works because I see a lot of possibility in it. However, I also believe specific industries would not thrive here, so make sure to plan accordingly.”