Few marketers would disagree that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn are among the best social networks for branding strategies. They boast the biggest audiences and generate a lot of user engagement. Still, some recent research data proves otherwise. Reuters, in association with Ipsos, found out in 2012 that 30% of users were already slowly getting bored with Facebook. Two years later, this figure rose to a significant 50%, as reported by Global Web Index.
Are social media giants slowly losing their power over online communities? Judging by the rise of alternative and highly targeted niche social media, it might just be so. Here are 3 tips on how to make the most from niche social media for spreading the word about your business.
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1. Focus on relevance
Niche social networks are characterized by close loop communities, which are far more likely to engage with content posted by brands. What might in other contexts seem overly invasive, it might fit here perfectly – as long as brands have an idea about what the community is interested in and talks about. Using this data in context, brands can tap into this rich resource and create relationships using CRM principles.
When it comes to niche social networks, generic messaging simply won't work. Instead of advertising their services in covert ways, brands should contextualize their messaging and present their services and products as solutions to users’ problems, providing practical advice or recommendations and sharing their expertise.
Quora is a great place to do this. By answering users' questions, a company owner, CTO or even a regular employee can build the brand's image, emphasizing its know-how and professionalism.
2. Niche analytics
Since niche social networks have clear and targeted audiences, they offer a wealth of useful information about a particular audience segment. Companies can learn what its customers need, like and want – which is all essential to brands wanting to deliver relevant and focused messages.
Gathering and analyzing data from niche social networks allows you to understand the behaviors of the new consumers. Companies using the same platforms as their potential customers gain new perspectives on how users engage with brands and which moves are appreciated. By using all of their insight in context, brands are able to generate content, which fits the world of users and holds the true power of engagement.
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That's why publishing companies should be present on Goodreads, medical businesses should keep a close eye on Doximity, tech giants should take a look at Spiceworks and green companies at Care2. Every platform will bring valuable knowledge about a well-defined target audience.
3. Interaction and relationships
While some things may go unnoticed on Facebook, niche social networks are much more focused; when a brand ignores, hides or deletes user-generated content, everyone will spot it and consequently, the brand might lose on its reputation. That's why before speaking up, companies first need to carefully listen to everything that's being shared, said and liked in their particular niche.
Niche communities are groups of people who are passionate about a certain topic – brands should always respect the culture of the community they plan to join and observe its rules. For instance, adapt their language to the style prevalent in the network and producing relevant, acceptable and personalized content. Presenting a human face is paramount to gain trust and inspire users to respond and engage with the brand.
Niche social media are of great value to businesses, which can segment their messaging, build brand awareness and engage with their target market and users based on the shared interests of those tight-knit communities. Instead of relying on social media giants, which offer a vast, but dispersed audience, brands are expected to benefit more from niche social networks in the near future.