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Two Social Platforms Speak to Specialized Audiences

Social networks for more specialized audiences may not be on everyone’s radar, but they could prove valuable to agencies with celebrity clientele or brand clients focused on specific interest areas. The CEOs from two such platforms, WhoSay and Wikia, spoke on a panel at Wednesday’s Digital Hollywood Media Summit in New York to describe their networks.

WhoSay helps celebrities handle and protect their digital presence. Wikia, similar to its sister site, Wikipedia, is a collaborative content site, but instead of serving as an information reference, it revolves around highly targeted topics and passionate users.

The WhoSay platform “handles one thousand famous people,” according to its CEO, Steve Ellis. The start-up launched last year with talent firm Creative Artists Agency and Amazon among the investors. The client list is by invitation only and represents celebrities and influencers from the worlds of film, television, music, sports, arts, and culture.

The company aggregates content from the celebrities’ social media networks and offers photo and video hosting as well as a private mobile app that links to their publicists. Most notably, WhoSay provides copyright protection that gives celebrities ownership of their images and other social material that they share. That benefits WhoSay clients such as Steve Martin, the Dixie Chicks, and Andre Agassi.

As for content, Ellis “encourages his clients to be as authentic as possible, since inauthentic celebrity messages aren’t tolerated by the public.”

“’It’s not just ‘buy my album’. Some of the most successful content may not even be related directly to their talent. It may be what they did that day,” he added. “We need to figure out a balance between endorsements and targeted ad buys. Overall, celebrity content has huge amounts of engagement, and our clients’ recommendations carry a lot of weight with their fans.”

Wikia is a collaborative publishing platform that has been around longer than WhoSay. Although it is far less well-known than Wikipedia, it is high on the priority list of its participating community members. At present there are over 200,000 wiki sites on this user-generated platform, and the topics include TV shows, food, hobbies, fashion, and gaming, the hottest area.

CEO Craig Palmer explained, “Wikia is a platform where users discover, create, and share content. With some other social platforms, it’s short attention span theater… With Wikia, users engage deeply in their areas of interest.” Wiki examples range from popular sports such as ice hockey to more obscure areas like solar cooking.

Palmer also detailed Wikia’s relevance to brands and how the site is evolving in that area. “Until now, brand-focused wikis got no traction. But a Disney wiki that wasn’t created by Disney has been popular. We need to find the right balance, and now Wikia is experimenting to create programs where brands could be adopted by a community, with their approval.”

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