TikTok has been the fastest growing mobile app in history. Now their owners, ByteDance, are trying to replicate the immense success with Lemon8!
What is Lemon8 exactly?
Almost universally described as a combination of Pinterest and Instagram, Lemon8 is the new answer to photo-sharing apps that shifts the focus from dynamic, loud and viral video content to a more message-centered platform.
Lemon8 is basically a slightly modified version of the immensely popular Chinese app called Xiaohongshu, which means Little Red Book. Lemon8 has been around since 2020, but it was limited to Asian markets, and the majority of the users were from Japan.
Lemon8 came to the U.S. and European app stores in February 2023 and soon sparked significant interest, so much so that it became the second most-downloaded app in April.
How does Lemon8 work?
So far, most of the users have described Lemon8 as a combination between Pinterest and Instagram – both platforms that are seemingly losing popularity among the Gen Z-ers. It is an image-sharing app, like Instagram (or at least like Instagram as we once knew it). And like Pinterest, it is a hub for lifestyle inspiration, advice, and moodboards.
It is a social media platform created for curated content. It allows users to upload single photos or photo carousels, and to complete the content using a basic tool set of graphics, stickers, filters, fonts and music.
What sets it apart from any other platform, though, is that part of its focus is actually on the message.
Long-tail captions are encouraged, allowing the users to articulate their message carefully. This is where Lemon8 draws inspiration from its Chinese predecessor, Xiaohongshu. The Little Red Book is, for the Chinese Gen Z, a place to find practical and relevant information, advice and tips, to see what the others are into that may be worth your attention, and to find inspiration. Originally founded as a platform for shopping guides for the Chinese traveling abroad, it has grown into a community where relevance trumps virality.
Lemon8 might be on the similar track. For now, the content categories include Fashion, Beauty Travel, Food, Pets, Wellness and Home. The feed is, like TikTok, divided into “For You” and “Following.”
The “For You” page (FYP) is the default page and it serves content tailored according to your needs. The more you interact with the app, the better personalized this feed will be. This is no coincidence – it is believed that Lemon8 uses the famous TikTok algorithm, created specifically for delivering carefully selected content to each user.
The “Following” page is rather self-explanatory: it displays content created by users you’re following.
There’s also the “Explore” page, similar to Instagram’s own Explore page and TikTok’s Discover.
Like most social apps, Lemon8 makes use of the hashtags to help users discover content. In addition, there is the “Rising Star” section where you can meet select creators.
Who is Lemon8 for?
For one, Lemon8 is ideal for everyone who’s grown a little weary of the noisy, organic and uninhibited platforms that Instagram and TikTok have become. It could represent a hint at the millennial nostalgia for the old Instagram, with smooth, calming filters and a quiet vertical scrolling experience. As an answer to the TikTok, it could also be tapping into a market segment that doesn’t focus so much on video (video format is supported in Lemon8 but it is not nearly as popular as image sets).
Lemon8 is perfect for long-form, blog-style content revolving around lifestyle topics. Focusing on curated content, and with its scrapbook-like features, it also brings the social game back to curation, instead of spontaneity and realness, like BeReal.
Demographically, Lemon8 will most likely attract younger audiences, specifically Gen Z-ers. If its trajectory ends up reflecting the one by Xiaohongshu, it will probably have a predominantly female user base, like Pinterest.
Can I make money off Lemon8?
Right now, Lemon8 does not offer a monetization program for creators. Off the record, however, it seems that ByteDance has paid certain influencers to create content for the app to boost its popularity.
If Lemon8 really does take off and reach at least part of the popularity that TikTok currently has, brands will need to find a way to become visible on there, too. One way to do so is to partner up with creators, who are already tagging brands and suggesting retail prices for items they showcase in their content. This characteristic also suggests that Lemon8 might become a significant platform for social shopping.
For influencers, right now the best idea is to connect Lemon8 to your other social media accounts, perhaps using Linktree, in order to become more visible to brands looking for ambassadors on the new platform.
Lemon8 currently has no ads and only a handful of official brand accounts. Again, we’re sure this is going to change if the platform continues its upward path. Our GrowMojo agency team of social media advertising experts is, as always, following all developments related to Lemon8 so if you want to be among the first to jump onboard, give us a shout.