Let's face it: things are getting difficult with social media networks. Major platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, keep raising their prices for ads and pushing your organic content out of your followers' reach. On the other hand, relying on the new, "cool" networks is risky: most of them crash very soon after becoming popular. Major platforms either buy them out or compete until the newcomer is out of the market. Just think about the almost immediate death of Peach, the slow death of Vine, the rocky road of Snapchat. The latter one might survive, but I wouldn't bet my money on that, considering that Facebook and Instagram throw their best moves to bring Snapchat down.
What's there left to do?
I suggest looking at niche social platforms. Yes, they aren't applicable to any business, and yes, you won't find 1.5 billion people on any of those. But if there's one for your niche, it's a jackpot. It's where you know your target audience hangs out based on their interest, not gender or age. It welcomes your content, because it's relevant a priori. It doesn't have Facebook prices or Facebook wicked algorythms. It doesn't have the ridiculous amount of content, either, which means all your posts are seen by many people.
It's worth giving a try.
Let's see what niche platforms are there and maybe you'll find the one that becomes the knight in the shiny armour for you and your business.
Perhaps you imagine a niche social platform as a tiny website where nerdy teens talk about video games. Sure, some are exactly like that. Some, though, are like Meetup. Meetup is a service for people to organize and join offline group meetings in person. It was created fifteen years ago, and the number of its users is hard to establish - the website claims there are around 35 million, but they count inactive users as well. It's not a hip social media platform, and it's not without faults. However, for any kind of event organizers it can be very useful. Simply create a group with your event, and every user in your location that had chosen your niche as an interesting one when registering will see it. It's a paid service that starts with $9.99 per month and it's definitely worth checking out.
Houzz is a large and popular social website about home decorating ideas. The Houzz platform and mobile apps feature photos, articles, product recommendations, and a user forum. Its community is creative and engaging, aiming to build a perfect home out of all the products available. You can imagine what businesses could benefit from that. It's also paid: there are subscription fees for professionals and transaction fees for product owners. All in all, it looks like a mix of Ebay and community forum on Reddit.
Dribbble is a social platform for designers where users showcase their artwork through screenshots. It functions as a self-promotion and networking platform for graphic design, web design, illustration, photography, and other creative areas. You can see what's trending and what is overused in today's designer world, get inspired and/or get hired. It's sort of a mix of your usual photosharing platform (e.g., Pinterest) and LinkedIn. Just a professional one - users require an invitation from someone who's already a member of Dribbble to upload their work and comment. No invitation is required to sign up, find, follow or hire designers at Dribbble. You can create a profile and link to your protfolio in the attempt to get the invitation. This way the platform ensures the quality of the work, or so they believe. The platform isn't with its quirks, but is a go-to place for designers looking to stay up-to-date and sell their work.
WAYN (an acronym for Where Are You Now?) is a social travel network. Its goal is to help discover where to go and meet like-minded people. Now it claims to have 21 million users. WAYN provides a destination browsing service much like in the CouchSurfing social network. Users create a profile, add friends, upload photos of places they’ve been to, and interact with each other - ideally about travelling. They leave opinions and advice about places, hotels, logistics, and generally anything a traveller needs. It’s a commercialised platform that earns money through advertising, so you can very well imagine what kind of businesses could benefit from it.
Care2 is a social networking platform that aims to make this world a better place. Everything aimed to do good, from vegan recipes to worldwide petitions is discussed and acted upon on Care2. It claims to have 43 million members and 2k nonprofit partners.
The reality of nonprofit is that they still need marketing - they’ve got to act as a business to a large extent to earn donations, signatures, and publicity. This platform is a savior for such organizations. Plus, if your business is about selling this almond-milk-chai-latte-coffee thing - this is a place for you to hang out, too.
6. Amino Apps
So, remember Reddit? It's got dozens and dozens of online communities. Amino Apps is something like that, but mobile. Also, while Reddit's average user's age is thirty something, Amino Apps is aimed at generation Z. Amino Apps is much more niche than Reddit, too. Communities here cover anime, Pokemon, K-pop, and the like. Altogether Amino Apps includes about 250 000 very specific communities, some of which have up to 1 million followers. The platform is only three years old, so its monetization hasn't started yet. But possibilities include brand partnerships and advertising.
Is that your kind of target audience? Then find the right community or create one, and look out for future options.
Untappd is a geosocial networking service for beer lovers. Apparentely, beer is all you need for quality socializing (like we didn't know that before). The app allows its users to check in beers as they drink them, and share the location with the checked in beer with friends. Users also rate the beer, share pictures of their beers, review tap lists from nearby venues, and see what beers their friends are drinking. In 2016, they reported 2.6 million users. To be fair, it's more like Yelp than anything else. However, beer lovers, beer snobs, and people just looking to try a new pub hang out there, so it might be a place to be.
Over to you
Hopefully, this list gave you this one platform to check out. If not, browse the Internet for more. Use a social media monitoring tool to find blogs and forums that talk about your industry or attract your target audience for some other reason. Don't stop at Facebook - discover further.
Are there any niche platforms you've tried? Share your feedback, let's find out more about niche marketing together!