By now you’re probably familiar with our posts on social media and how important it is for your business and brand to have an online presence. We’ve talked about the “Big 5,” so we’ll assume you’re already on at least two or three of those. But maybe these platforms are actually too big? After all, your business is one of a kind—maybe even in a niche community. Want to drill down to the exact audience that shares your passions, opinions, and ideas? How about a niche platform?
There are a host of them out there! Goodreads is great example of one of these smaller social media platforms. It’s where readers can share their favorite books with other users, join reading groups and communities, and connect with their favorite authors. Users can even share their writing on their profiles or within communities. If you’re not an avid reader or writer, chances are you aren’t familiar with Goodreads. And that’s okay—Goodreads is a niche community. And you’ll want to find one that fits your audience. But aside from catering to specific industries and interests, these smaller, niche platforms feel less crowded and may appeal to your business and clientele.
Only you can decide which of the numerous social media networks out there is right for you and your business, but those we list below can be tailored to almost any business and are worth your precious social media budget!
Quora’s mission is “to connect the people who have knowledge to the people who need it, to bring together people with different perspectives so they can understand each other better, and to empower everyone to share their knowledge for the benefit of the rest of the world.” That’s a pretty impressive statement on which to build a platform—a platform solely about the sharing of knowledge. Quora’s format is question-and-answer, where you follow the topics you’re interested in and can submit answers if you identify yourself as an expert when you create your profile. For example, if you’ve indicated you’re a health-and-fitness expert, you might see several exercise questions in your feed. Users can “upvote” or “downvote” answers on the thread, making it so that the definitive answer is decided on by those reading and using the feed.
So how can Quora benefit your business? Well, for starters, you’ll interact with people who share your interests. Additionally, establishing yourself as an expert in the field can lead people to your business. Be aware, however, that Quora is not the best place for self-promotion—people use it to get answers, not to be marketed to. But, naturally, the more you prove your expertise and credibility, the more people are willing to visit your business page.
One of the simplest and sleekest social media networks out there, this one-page profile allows you to link your multiple online identities. Just set up your profile and include links to all of your other networks—your social media platforms, your blog, and your website. Think of it as your online business card with a “Reader’s Digest” version of who you are and what you offer. The interaction in About.me is not as social as other networks, but you can browse profiles and connect with others in your field by “starring” their profiles, sending them emails, or leaving comments on their profiles. From a business standpoint, it’s a fantastic way to expand your network and clientele base.
Spayce.me’s vision and goal is to connect the physical and digital worlds, building relationships and events into what they call “memories.” In all honesty, the description sounds a bit mystical, but that’s the appeal. It “features image montages of the memories people have made around you, so you can see your neighborhood, city, college campus, or other location through the lens of the memories left there.” You create the memories and share them with others in your area, and you view the memories of others you follow. It’s about the places you go and the memories you make there. With Spayce, you’ll know what’s happening in your neighborhood or at local libraries and convention centers. You’ll know where the hottest restaurants, clubs, and bars are. And how does this benefit your business? Well, you can set up a professional profile and include your occupation as well as list three businesses you’re associated with. When you enter a place, the app connects you with other users who are there, allowing you to virtually connect. Imagine the networking possibilities at a convention or retreat! Spayce is one of the newest platforms out there, so be prepared for a little trial-and-error run when you use it.
If none of the above tickles your social media fancy, don’t worry. With the plethora of networks out there, you’re sure to find one that feeds your needs. A simple search for social networks within your industry should lead you to a few niche networks. Here’s a list of social networks in various fields:
Active Rain: This social community allows Realtors and agents to connect and share ideas with each other.
Allrecipes: It’s not just for chefs! Allrecipes allows you to browse tried-and-true recipes, add your own, and follow your friends or other cooks.
Athlinks: This niche space is especially for endurance athletes who want to connect with their peers to share their experiences at the finish line—first, last, or barely.
Behance: This successful platform allows creative artists to show their work and to connect with other artists. It’s also a good way for companies to find new talent.
Fold3: This fascinating platform provides access to historical military records, stories, and photographs. It focuses on helping you find and share stories of the men and women who have served their country.
Kaboodle: Love to shop? Kaboodle connects you with other shopaholics and the products they’re crazy about.
As with any social media network, be sure you follow these rules:
- Follow the platform’s etiquette. Every network is different, so become familiar with the posting, commenting, and general networking practices and culture.
- Highlight your business’s expertise and your willingness to help others rather than promoting self.
- Genuinely engage with others in conversations and reciprocate when others share a post, promote your brand, or leave a review.
What other, lesser-known social media platforms are you using? Do you have any tips for using those listed above? Let us know in the comments below!