It’s no secret that your current and potential customers are using social networking sites. The problem? So are everyone else’s. Brands can get lost in the noise of millions of tweets and pins, and it’s getting harder and harder to get visibility on Facebook without paying for it.
So what is a savvy marketer to do? One good starting place is to find and utilize niche social networks that can drive traffic to your web site for potentially more conversions —and the good news is, there are a lot of them out there.
What’s a Niche Social Network?
Unlike large social networks like Facebook and Twitter, where users of all backgrounds and interests congregate, niche networks exist to serve select segments of the general social networking population. While they tend to be smaller, they are also characterized by focused and highly active communities. There are networks for gamers, car enthusiasts, crafters, collectors—people who might be just the folks you need to reach.
These smaller, passion-based networks are growing in popularity, and allow marketers to connect with a more specific audience. They also offer brands a rich space to engage with an active target audience, accelerating the opportunities for marketers to build brand awareness and acquire new customers.
Examples of Niche Social Networks
No matter what users are interested in—surfing, cooking, graphic design—there’s likely a social network devoted to it. Here are five niche networks that you may not have heard of before:
1. Care2: This network is dedicated to social good, with more than 30 million members. Users can create petitions, support each other’s campaigns, and connect with others who are passionate about issues like animal rights, health policies and the environment.
2. Wanelo: Wanelo is short for “want, need, love” and it’s a place for shopping enthusiasts to create curated virtual stores full of products they like. Brands can list their products on the network to drive sales, awareness and measure interest in new and existing products.
3. BiggerPockets: This network of new and experienced real estate investors is over 300,000 strong. Part social network, part information hub and part marketplace, BiggerPockets’ goal is to give users the knowledge and tools to become financially free through real estate.
4. Thrill On: A community for action sports, extreme sports and outdoor enthusiasts, Thrill On allows users to create, share and save photos and videos dedicated to a wide variety of topics, as well as buy gear related to those topic areas.
5. DZone: With nearly one million members, this global network is comprised of technology professionals, mainly designers, architects and developers. It’s a place to share information, connect with other professionals, and expand knowledge.
How to Find Your Ideal Niche Social Network
No matter what your industry, there’s likely a related niche social network out there—you just need to find it.
A simple search for your industry plus the phrase “social network” will likely yield some results you can work with. For example, if you’re a car brand, a Google search for “automotive social network” will yield myCARiD for car enthusiasts and Automotive Social for car dealers.
Sites like social mention, linkbird and buzzsumo give you an easy way to find out where people are talking about your brand, competitors or industry. With just a few keyword searches, you can learn where the most active users congregate, and then market to them on those channels.
How You Can Harness Niche Social Networks
If you’ve been marketing your product or service on large social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, you’ve probably realized that your ability to reach your target audience is limited. If you utilize niche social networks—where your target market is already active—you’ll likely see higher engagement and ultimately, conversions.
An effective way to harness niche social networks is through encouraging social sharing on those networks. With AddThis Share Tools, you can customize your share buttons to include hundreds of online networks and services. In addition to the big sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, you’ll also find networks for sports, news, politics and music enthusiasts, plus much more. Once you’ve identified the niche social networks your target audience is using, you can encourage sharing on those sites by adding them to your share toolbar.
Your potential customers are out there, and they’re likely talking about your brand, products and services, competitors, and industry. Listening to them is an important way to find out where they congregate online and what they’re looking for. Giving them the tools to share relevant content that you create is an easy way to make them ambassadors for your brand and give your content authority.
To learn more about getting visitors to your website, download The Ultimate Guide to Driving Traffic.