If you are a social media manager or a community manager, you need to know a secret: a new iOS social app is enchanting a vast – and constantly expanding – army of users and has just caught the attention of some serious investors.
Whisper a secret
Meet Whisper, the app that lets you anonymously share secrets with others in the form of charming, postcard-style photos with text overlaid. Co-founders Michael Heyward and Brad Brooks realized that social networks linked to users’ real identities had a problem. When people are concerned about their image, as they are on identity-based social networks, they tend to post only positives about themselves. According to Heyward, this leads them to overestimate the happiness of others and to underestimate the extent of the problems they share.
He explains: “We saw a huge white space of things that people were not publishing, and wanted to give people a place to share these things that they wouldn’t feel comfortable putting out on social networks.”
A social media manager’s dream discovery
This is the kind of hidden-in-plain-sight white space that the jobbing social media manager or community manager will recognize as pure gold, to mix metaphors a little.
Whisper resembles sites such PostSecret in spirit; however, it offers a lot more, which is perhaps why it has just raised $3 million in a Series A funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. It offers real-time, mobile posting that lets people communicate ‘live’ in a way that PostSecret never has. Whisper has extra tools to let people reply to posts immediately and, for those willing to pay for it, it features a private messaging option.
Putting private messaging behind a paywall has proved a canny move, pushing revenue upwards and improving the quality of what gets shared. Heywood and Brooks didn’t want the platform deluged with solicitations or attempts to use it as a personal marketplace. When you pay, you post more judiciously.
Whisper’s popularity amongst college students is booming and it is also being used by military personnel, some of whom are on active duty in the Middle East. Since its launch in November, the number of users has doubled every month; in March the app notched up one billion page views and 800,000 private messages.
With an Android version in the pipeline, prospects look seriously good.