Remember when having a Facebook business page meant that all of your page followers would see your posts? Or maybe you remember the days when anyone could Tweet anything, as long as it wasn't pornographic? Those were the good ole days.
The big social media platforms are no longer happy places for businesses and some users. Some people claim this is a shift in society. Us marketers know that it all comes back to using the algorithm to control content - forcing businesses to spend money on ads to participate. The Pay-to-Play Model does not serve small businesses.
ZDNet said it well: Social media has become the stock exchange for public opinion. Investors seeking to capitalize on their association with the most active issues, buy low and sell high.
They have been popping up for years and years, but it was in 2020 and now into 2021 that these social platforms are in the limelight.
What do I mean when I say "niche social media" platforms? Frankly, it's every platform that has fewer than 100 million users. So I'm talking about all of the platforms NOT included in the chart below.
The largest social platforms by total number of users according to Statista
I read other articles that describe these platforms as vertical social media. I kind of like that description because it refers to a community specific to a vertical. However, there are also a plethora of social media sites that focus on a type of audience with a particular interest. In a recent guest post, author Robert Rios explored some of the fastest growing niche social media platforms.
The reason for you to seek out these niche social media communities is conversion. Frankly, you will have a higher conversion rate by connecting with a target audience, rather than a broad one. There is less competition and algorithms are less likely to be working against you.
Most important: Go where your audience is already hanging out
This article aims to offer guidance on helping you to find the right niche platforms for your industry. We'll use Real Estate as an example to get started.
Contrary to popular belief, there is more to real estate marketing than simply targeting people looking to buy, sell or rent. There are other characteristics and variables to consider when it comes to finding your audience.
An agent working in North Austin (Texas), for example, will have a vastly different clientele than the agent working in East Austin. These neighborhoods and communities attract very different personalities with varying values and interests. The client in North Austin may be a family of 4 who are conservative, attend church, work in high-tech, and are interested in having community amenities. The client in East Austin may be a young couple with 2 dogs who do not plan on having children, who are liberal, and want entertainment nearby.
The agent plays a vital role in the target audience as well. What does she value? What are his interests? We attract those who are most like us, and that is who you are most likely to sell to.
If you've never done so before, create at least one customer / client persona for your business. It is well worth the time investment.
Are you a business owner struggling to differentiate from the competition? It’s time to think about your business brand and what makes you special.
This is a tougher question because you will need to roll up your sleeves and do a little research.
Similar people tend to stick together in cultural "tribes" as some describe. We are more likely to use the same social channels as our friends. So consider the places where your audience is likely to be hanging out.
If I was a real estate agent, I might start with the niche platforms that attract people who are potentially in the housing market.
Meetup: This is where you can find like-minded individuals to connect with through specific activities - such as real estate investing, house flipping, DIY home renovations, etc. This platform has 49 million members and 100,000 events per week.
Houzz: Do-It-Yourselfer's creative haven is found in this niche social media community. Users can search for design ideas as well as professionals who can help them to decorate their homes. They even have an augmented reality tool for users to see how products and designs will look inside their home.
NextDoor: You probably know about this little social platform that connects you with your neighbors based on location. What you may not know is that they also have business pages. It is a place that cultivates recommendations. 67% of users share their business recommendations with their neighbors.
These are just a few of the many niche social platforms you can use to find your audience.
It's not enough to just be in the places where your audience is "hanging out" online. Vital to your success is optimizing those placements and interactions.
Here are a few tips for how you can optimize your time spent on these platforms:
What are some platforms your using to reach and connect with your audience?
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