You have your business on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, maybe even Foursquare. OK, that’s done and now social is checked off your to do list, on with the next task. But what if that wasn’t the end of the story? What if, instead of the big networks, you’d be better off focusing on the smaller ones?
Niche networks are more intimate, allow for greater connection, and most importantly, you aren’t fighting against the noise that the other networks suffer from. Niche networks also have the advantage of being nascent enough that many of them can be adapted to different uses. Yes, there is a risk that they won’t make it. But that is true of some of the bigger networks, too. Last year we saw Gowalla, Whrrl and several other major location based apps be bought and disappear — that is the nature of partnering with organizations in the social arena.
Last month, I wrote about getting customers to take pictures of your business and share them. Niche networks like Instagram make this a very viable method of social marketing. It doesn’t stop there, though. This is where looking at social networks sideways helps. Think of how you could utilize some of the other smaller networks to build and extend the community of customers and prospective customers associated with your business. The Small Business Bonfire Community is one such niche network, catering to entrepreneurs. Members are using the Community to extend their networking efforts with colleagues, clients and potential customers.
Another example is SoundCloud, which allows users to upload music that they have created themselves. One of the features of this is a “group” that allows users to upload music around a particular theme. Independent music labels are already using this feature to act as virtual audition rooms.
Restaurants are getting in on the niche scene, too. Many have been quick to jump on the Foodie bandwagon and are incorporating Facebook and other picture-sharing services into their social marketing. Going back to SoundCloud, what if a restaurant asked their customers or prospective customers to come up with music that they could play in the restaurant? Mood music for a particular theme, maybe date night, or a type of food? That’s the power of niche networks.
Even if a niche network isn’t something you would join and use personally, you should avoid dismissing it as something that can’t be incorporated into your social marketing. The users may well be your customers and your prospective customers. Embracing their interests and finding ways to then incorporate that into the community that you are building around your business is key to successful social marketing.
What niche networks have you joined to help your social marketing?