Today’s most popular social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube are some of the largest online communities in the world. Another aspect that they all have in common, and probably the reason for their popularity and large user-base, is that they’re incredibly broad. “Communicating” and “Photo-sharing” can mean a variety of different things to different people.
Today, the newcomer in this space isn’t a new social media platform following in Facebook’s footsteps. Instead, it’s changing the game by giving us something that can be much more useful and relevant to us, as both a consumer and as a marketer.
Niche social media platforms provide a space for an online community to engage with like-minded users about a specific topic or industry. Here is why you need to sit up and pay attention:
The beauty of social media is its ability to connect people – regardless of geographic location, background or even language. What niche social platforms do is make that connection even stronger – by connecting users with others who are as interested in or as passionate about a particular subject as they are. This creates a tight-knit community of users who are more likely to engage in conversation and recommend it to friends or colleagues with the same interest in that subject.
For a marketer, this is paradise. It provides the best opportunity for you to connect with a specially targeted, highly-attentive, niche audience. While Facebook has millions of active users, if you have a unique product, this may not be the best channel for you. Kevin Kelly’s “You only need 1 000 true fans” theory is proving to be accurate – if you can really connect with and impact fewer people, there’s no need to spend unnecessary effort and money on a fragmented audience of millions.
Social networks with a huge number of users naturally have a huge amount of data, and a lot going on at any given moment. This results in what marketers like to call “noise,” which is a challenge to cut through and to be heard over. The upside is that Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups were created for this purpose – to connect a niche group of people – and we’re all part of at least one of these social groups.
But when it comes to brand marketing on these social media giants, you run the risk of annoying even your perfect prospective client, purely because they may not be in the mood. Users log in to Facebook for several reasons; to stalk, to chat, to upload their holiday album, to find an event. Users log in to niche social media platforms for one reason: to find out more and engage with others about a specific topic.
The more focused and targeted your audience is, the more likely your chances of converting them are.
A great platform to look into if you’re in the fitness industry, Athlinks is an app that stores all of your race times. Runners, cyclists, swimmers join a community of other athletes where results can be seen, shared and “cheered for,” users can set new goals and challenge friends.
The “show and tell for designers” lets illustrators, web and graphic designers, typographers and other kinds of creatives showcase their work, process and projects. The community show their designs, inspire and get inspire, ask questions and get answers and, most importantly, get hired. It’s the place to be if you’re in the design field.
Gaming is one of the most popular industries in the world. On Dpadd, gamers can get together, keep a gaming journal, a “to-play” list, follow and share friends and industry professionals and more.
Drinking alone? You won’t have to with this wine lover’s social network. This community is the wine lover’s dream, providing you with the latest and greatest for up-to-the-minute wine news and selections.
The Flipping Pad:
The community for Real Estate professionals. If you’re looking to start somewhere with your Real Estate, house-flipping education, look no further than the forums and network of Flipping Pad.
More on the fun side of life, Stachepassions is an app for the moustache-lovers of the world. It’s also a dating site. Got a ‘stache thing? This site is for you.
If you’re looking to increase audience engagement, position yourself as an expert, take your social media presence up a notch and improve your conversion rates and sales, then niche social media platforms may be for you. If you’re a large corporation, consider creating your own (like Tumblr has done). Otherwise jump on some of the existing platforms that are industry-specific.
For more information on all things social – contact the Meltwater team today. Let’s connect!