Niche social media probably sounds like some obscure little patch of social media that nobody knows about. However the reality is a very different story. There are many platforms where your true customers and colleagues are waiting for your content and banter with open ears.
And unlike Facebook with its lowering visibility and user fatigue, these social media platforms are visible and have people eager to engage.
So how do you convince the decision makers at your work to change tack? Or how do you work out if niche social media is going to be the right one for your particular solo needs?
Here’s some of the reasons you should consider using niche social media over Facebook.
You don’t want everyone; you just want the right person for your product
I say big deal to billions of people using Facebook. I say big deal if they have a profile and only drop in once a month. Who cares if there are a lot of profiles on Facebook if none of the ones are right for you? A TV ad for a customer who doesn’t watch TV is pointless. The same applies to Facebook.
The marketing and communications professionals and startup owners are all huddled around the glowing red of Google+ with the gamers, Goths and geeks. Meanwhile, all the business coaches, copywriters and public servants are having a whale of a time on Twitter.
Creative artists and designers are spending time on See.Me and finding people to work with on Kllective, writers and commentators are giving Medium a go and the film makers have jumped ship from YouTube and are headed to Vimeo in droves.
Beyond these generalisations, there are over 400 niche social media networks available based on languages spoken, interests and hobbies, career, location and more.
You need to know where your customers are and which one floats their boat.
TIP: Create a profile of your ideal client and take the key defining points you come up with, put them into Google with words “niche social media” and see what pops up. Or see if you can match them by checking out the Wikipedia list of Social Media networks.
Lowering Visibility and AdBlock
The first time I saw a Facebook ad was on my mobile phone. The reason being I employ AdBlock to filter out all the junk of the internet. I don’t get Facebook ads on my computer, which is my primary browsing form. I am not alone.
PageFair estimates 22.7% of browsers use an ad blocking extension when using the web. That’s 1 in 5 of those precious eyeballs Facebook promises you not knowing you exist. You are still paying for that non-view, by the way.
In addition to over 20% of the people you so carefully target not seeing your ad is Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm continuously lowering your organic visibility. If you don’t pay for ads, expect numbers like 4% of your page seeing your content. Ouch. You may as well hang a sign in your window and save the cash.
Facebook claims it isn’t possible to show all fan pages and it needs to make decisions about who to show. However, as we all know as personal users we are seeing irrelevant crap on a regular basis such as conversations between people who only know our friends or content we didn’t care about 3 days ago return like some kind of bonkers Labrador Retriever simply because someone else made a comment. We can’t see what we want to see, yet get to see a whole lot of stuff we could care less about. That doesn’t make for a great end user experience. People are getting frustrated.
Do you really want to keep giving time and investment and money to a social media platform that wants you peering at your neighbour’s dirty laundry but doesn’t want to tell you when you’re favourite band is playing at your local?
I know I don’t. And I don’t want my ads appearing when people are ready to tear their hair out about not getting what they want, either.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask your current Facebook fans if they are still interested in Facebook. Ask your customers what other social media platforms they use. And promote your other social media channels regularly so if anyone does want to jump ship, they can find you. Encourage them to follow you elsewhere if they clearly don’t care about Facebook anymore.
The early adopters have left the building
Much like our teenagers, the early adopters who want social media to be…well, social are reinventing themselves at other niche social media networks. The fun we had when we invented groups such as “Don’t tell Mum I work in advertising, she thinks I play piano in a bar” are gone from Facebook. It’s too much work.
However that whimsy, play and connection for early adopters is happening elsewhere.
And the thing is, if you get in early enough (i.e. before everyone else starts to cotton on), you can create new territory for your brand.
In fact, you can easily seem a lot more hip and wonderful if you are joining up to play in Behance and Google+ than handing over dried, cracked dollars to the same tired like bunnies on Facebook.
Why? Because you get to be real and intimate with them and have those conversations you used to have on Facebook with people who are probably more likely to listen.
TIP: Pick a new social media channel every six months to play with and get to know. See if you can find your customers. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Be early to the party as opposed to waiting until its necessary and enjoy the early adopter ride.
It’s a matter of lead quality, not quantity
Facebook and niche social media is not there for you to promote your awesomeness all the time. Having people like your stuff and chime in on every comment makes you feel liked and appreciated, sure. But you can’t eat likes. You need leads and money for the work you do.
So instead of going to Facebook because everybody is on Facebook, find out where the customers who keep your business afloat are coming from. Make sure you are spending your efforts talking to them and encouraging their word of mouth.
The reason why social media is attractive in the first place is it allows you as a business to have intimate conversations stay in touch with and ask questions of customers. The idea is to put your efforts into having a conversation with your customers so you can gain more leads. If however, you are talking to your peers or to friends who think it’s amazing you are in business but have never and will never buy anything from you, what is the point?
Don’t fall into the trap of mistaking someone’s 5 minutes of praise (or pity) for a chance to make money. Focus on making strong connections with quality leads.
TIP: Always know where your leads come from. Ask your new customers where they heard about you. Look for trends from your website and products from social media to your website via Google Analytics. Keep this data on hand and let it inform where your time should be spent on social media.
The bottom line:
Niche social media is important to your business as long as you know how to choose the right one for what you need. Reaching out the right audience, providing the experience your customers want and coupling that with something unique is far better than simply go where the fish are biting with nothing on your hook.
Would you ditch Facebook or do you think it’s worth it for your business?
Have you tried any niche social media sites? What were the results? If you haven’t, what’s stopping you?