Social media is experiencing a crisis of identity. After many public embarrassments surrounding the false news, the reliance on technology and, more recently, the privacy concerns highlighted by the loss of 50 million personal user information to organizations like Cambridge Analytica
In the court of public opinion, Facebook and other social media platforms are viewed in a negative light because of these scandals.
But long before these worries reached their boiling point, consumers had a much less damaging, but equally valid, reason for developing disdain for these platforms: advertising fatigue.
In the course of its existence, Facebook has been inundated with advertisements. This was even recognized by the CEO of the company in an article that informed audiences of an upcoming algorithm change:
"… Recently, we received comments from our community that public content – messages from businesses, brands, and the media – was crowding out the personal moments that brought us brought to connect more with each other … "
Facebook lost 2.8 million users last year; and the mood does not go towards "optimistic".
Due to Facebook's negligible privacy practices and gluttonous advertising revenue, digital consumers are increasingly turning to specialized social media platforms to power their digital connections.
There is a plethora of niche social networks and most of them are aimed at smaller, but very passionate and vocal consumers, united by specific topics or places.
While major social networks should not be completely abandoned in favor of a niche-driven marketing strategy, to create a loyal, confident and more refined audience, brands should seriously consider getting into such platforms.
Niche social networks are gaining popularity
With all the dissident press surrounding giant social networks, new opportunities are developing. Due to this new feeling of mistrust, consumers are turning to smaller networks that offer a more intimate setting.
This spawned a variety of networks such as Untappd that specializes in beer, Supernatural Connections focused on the paranormal, family-oriented Life Cake, and managed sites like Capsure.
Sites like Capsure are attractive because they offer an ad-free platform that allows users to create real connections. Capsure allows you to share personal moments privately with family and friends using photos, audio and video. Specific maps can be shared with all subscribers of a user or only with a selected group. The company also donates a portion of its revenue to the Alzheimer's Association to help prevent memory loss.
This is the direction that social media take; back to where he comes from. These kinds of platforms create intimate environments geared towards private connections within the network of friends and family of a user.
Considering the focus on real relationships, brands must seriously rethink their efforts on social media. Here are some of the ways businesses can use niche networks to their advantage.
Consider Niches Unlikely
Too often, brands try to target only groups directly related to their offers. With niche social media, it's wise to think outside the box.
Suppose, for example, that your brand offers an application of mindfulness meditation. It is clear that you will want to target platforms oriented towards meditation. Take the next logical step and look at yoga communities, martial arts sites, medicinal plant platforms, psychology circles, neurology networks and similar audiences.
In addition, you might want to consider sites that focus on one of the core values of your business, such as philanthropy or innovation.
The easiest way to find such groups is to run a Google search using the following query:
Social + Media + Network-for- [your industry]
Finding sites with the right demographics
To formulate an effective strategy, you need to know where your audience lives, and therefore align your efforts with networks that tout the correct public demographics for your brand.
Although some tools to discover this information, such as Quantcast, are no longer available, there are still various methods to obtain this data.
First, consider turning to Alexa for help. While you will probably need spring for one of the paid packages, it's a small price to pay for the value you are going to earn. A good amount of demographics can also be collected using Google Analytics, but some find this path questionable. You can also try to access the site directly to get this information because many networks publish it.
Become a master storyteller
Storytelling is one of the most powerful art and communication tools available to humans. When a company uses this gift in a clever way, it allows brands to build awareness, recognition and meaning.
When addressing specialized social media networks, narration is paramount as it can forge a community around the identity and offers of a business. However, before embarking on the ethic of your brand, make sure that you have sufficiently studied and understood the tone, norms and values of the community to provoke the most positive response.
Do not control this and you risk being labeled spam or unwanted intruder. This strategy can therefore have adverse ramifications if it is not approached correctly.
Change your KPIs
When brands engage in social media efforts, few people care about anything other than the usual statistics: subscribers, likes, shares, clicks, conversions.
Take a moment to forget about all this and focus more on loyalty and word of mouth for your brand. Although these types of measurements are much more difficult to quantify than retweets, this is crucial for building a sustainable business.
Instead of focusing on the highest number of clicks, determine the number of repeat visitors from these specialized destinations. Use social listening tools to see if your message is making others share your story.
Sometimes the unquantifiable measure of loyalty is much more valuable than direct conversions.
The main social networks reach a large disenchanted audience. Look for passionate communities on the thousands of niche social networks that address specialized groups of vocal advocates and this could be the tactic to lead you from a poor success to a breathtaking success.
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