What do you get when you add elements of Pinterest and Instagram to an app that features a TikTok-like For You page and Following section, and that app also happens to come from ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company? You get new lifestyle content sharing platform Lemon8.
Lemon8 has been described as “like having the TikTok algorithm serve you the inspirational content of Pinterest formatted like an Instagram post,” with a main feed that resembles Pinterest’s home page, but content that looks like carousel posts on Instagram.
Other Lemon8 features include a dual-column feed, picture-editing capabilities reminiscent of Canva, and in-app ads and links to outside products.
ByteDance started serving up Lemon8 in Japan in 2020 and, after debuting in six other countries over the course of 2021 and 2022, it rolled out in the U.S. earlier this year.
The app reached No. 2 in the lifestyle category on the Apple App Store earlier this year before losing some momentum, and it has been downloaded over 17 million times worldwide, with roughly 4.25 million active users in the U.S.
People who download and install Lemon8 are prompted to populate a profile and choose categories of interest such as beauty, fashion, food, pets, travel, and wellness.
Posts on the app feature cover images, and creators can add captions, labels, titles, and other text.
Lemon8 is described as a lifestyle community, aimed at hosting content that inspires and informs people, helping them discover, share, and bring new ideas to life. Content on the platform is diverse, informative, and personalized, and mostly consists of still images and carousels with text overlays.
Some of the top content on the app—in addition to the classic categories of interest listed above—includes product reviews, as well as community introductions via hashtags that help users find different niches.
The New York Times reported in late March that ByteDance recruited micro-creators from other platforms to become early Lemon8 adapters, but whether payments were involved was never confirmed.
Brands are just starting to dip their toes in the Lemon8 pool and, mindful of the user-generated nature and community feel on the app, those who take the plunge would likely be best served creating content specifically for Lemon8, focusing on a mix of organic, promotional, and user-generated posts, and not using the platform strictly to push sales.
When brands do decide to make their Lemon8 move, they should also consider connecting with creators who might be good fits for collaborative projects so that they can share authentic content that fits the user-generated mold, such as glimpses behind the scenes or introducing the brand’s personality.
Apparel giant American Eagle Outfitters was one of the early adopter brands on Lemon8, and chief marketing officer Craig Brommers said in a LinkedIn post, “When your social team is the very best in retail, you are always looking for what’s new and what’s next. Show of hands: Who’s on Lemon8? AE now is! Pitched as ‘Instagram and Pinterest have a baby,’ the new app has exploded in popularity amongst Gen Z women. Come join us on this aesthetically pleasing platform for a bit of fashion inspo!”
AE opted for a carousel post for its initial Lemon8 foray, as did another brand that we hold dear.
Another reason brands may want to consider setting up shop on Lemon8: If they don’t occupy the most logical handle for their brand, someone else may do so. Ad Age reported in late March that big-name handles on the platform that had already been claimed by people with nothing to do with the entities behind them included Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, Craigslist, Domino’s, Duolingo, ESPN, Home Depot, Juul, Kate Spade New York, McDonald’s Meta, P.F. Chang’s, POTUS, Red Bull, 7-Eleven, the U.S. Congress, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Will Lemon8 rise to the ranks of TikTok or Instagram, or will it earn a spot in the graveyard of upstart social media platforms? Only time will tell, but while the app is still here, brands and creators should take advantage of the chance to become early adopters and jump into new territory, potentially gaining an advantage over those who are slower on the draw.
Right now, creators and brands have the opportunity to hitch an early ride on the Lemon8 bandwagon. New content is always being created for the go-to platforms like TikTok and Instagram, and with just a few clicks, you can use Lemon8’s unique editing features to repurpose and recycle that content to resonate with the Lemon8 audience. Try different things and see if you can figure out how to best influence the app’s algorithm to take advantage of the opportunity.
If you’re looking to expand your influencer marketing reach, reach out to Open Influence, a global creator marketing agency that has helped Fortune 500 companies increase their brand’s social footprint for nearly 20 years.