More than 1 billion people on earth are connected on Facebook. Instagram boasts 100 million users every month. The young Snapchat is nearing 200 million active users. With all of these rapidly growing sites, you may be wondering why you would ever consider a smaller niche network.
People who join niche social networks are passionate about the subject of the network and the develop closer online relationships with the people they meet in those networks and therefore are more influential than someone who may have 100K followers on Twitter. Also, the people in niche social networks are sharing ideas, information, and opinions as a way to support each other within their shared interests, not to sell and they do not like it when people come into their space simply to pass out digital business cards.
There are many ways a brand can leverage the interests and passion of niche networks, but they must do so in a way that supports the group. Here are a few to explore.
Nextdoor: A private network created for neighbors to stay connected to neighbors. Members use this site to stay informed about what is going on in their area, to share advice and referrals, and to sell their used merchandise. If your business is in the neighborhood this is a great site for you to get to know your neighbors, but remember to be neighborly.
Dogster and Catster: All you need to do is spend 10 minutes surfing the web and it will become obvious how passionate people are about their pets. The obvious businesses that would want to be part of this community are vets and pet supplies. But if you have a pet-friendly hotel or vacation this group may be one to explore.
Goodreads: A group of people passionate about books of all subjects. If you are a destination marketer you can add value to this community with information about the city that books are set in or share the little-known history of the birthplace of favorite authors. There are book reviews for every kind of topic on this site allowing for ample opportunity to enrich the reader’s knowledge with your personal insights. Remember, your goal is to add value, not to pitch your business.
Untappd: Some of the world’s greatest problems can be solved over a great cocktail and some of the best connections happen with people you have something in common with. When you join networks around a specific interest that you are passionate about you will make connections that can benefit your business. With untappd you may also have a mutual hangout where you can meet and grab a beer.