Long gone are the days when all the networking was revolving around major networks.
In the light of the latest changes Facebook made, such as those related to targeting users with ads and video ads related to the sites they have visited, or targeting to their preferences in general, social media marketing is improving (trying to), however, still overcrowded and overpopulated, and probably annoying for users.
Since those networks have been focusing on other areas and markets, a general impression may be that we only (most of the time) network on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.
Understanding social networking in this narrow context will deprive both businesses and users of the potential that niche social networks present.
If we look at some of the obvious problems major networks face today, such as overpopulation, user experience, and quality content, we can, in turn, derive the benefits of niche social network in large and in detail.
A person’s network is so big today that we may easily lose a sense of community
As social beings, we naturally tend to involve ourselves in online communities, where we can connect with our peers and share our interests and hobbies.
Quality content is what we all seek – users, marketers, search engines – and it is becoming harder to find ones. We are not even growing as online beings anymore, in a way. Quality content suffers from blunt low-grade content and ways to improve your knowledge and connect with like-minded people that share your interest and hobbies is almost impossible.
Major social networks are not able to meet the needs of users in terms of interest, communication, and sharing knowledge
In terms of advertising and branding, major social networks are making it difficult for marketers to reach their users risking to pay for ads that are going to be lost somewhere in the news feeds. That isn’t to say that major social sites will lose their popularity, credibility and advertising potential, however, numerous reasons are showing that users and marketers are turning to more focus-based networks.
Interest is what makes people gravitate to networks that are more specific
Hobbies and interests are what makes us search and explore the world; they are the parameters we use to connect with other people.
Niche social networks are built as communities for like-minded individuals, for specific purposes that allow users to focus on their specific needs, to create and expand their networks and build communities.
These networks specialize in more-focused conversation bringing back the true meaning of quality content and quality networking. Users themselves are invited to create quality communication and content in order to broaden their interest. Moreover, by creating focused conversation, niche networks are bringing new social change in the way we learn, receive information and communicate.
What will marketers get from niche social networks?
Increased user’s engagement and less competition are what should turn marketers to look beyond major social networks and focus on highly targeted, interest-based communities.
Niche social networks already attract users that are interested in a specific industry or business.
So, why should marketers share niche-specific content with users on their (major) social networks?
The majority of them probably will not be interested, and the quality content will be lost somewhere in the social smog of dull and tedious, non-informative content. Users that are interested in a specific service or business will more likely participate and communicate with strangers; therefore, focused content means truly less is more.
In comparison with major social media, with interest-based social networks, marketers are able to have better insight into the value of their marketing campaign.
Mobile industry and smartphone penetration is what is turning both users and marketers to niche social networks
It is estimated that 83 percent of internet usage will come from smartphones by 2015. As well as social networks, mobiles are changing the way we communicate, receive and send information. For narrow-focused users, it is important to share their interest and knowledge on the go, everywhere and anywhere, and to have an easy and fast access to their specific needs. For marketers, with the number of mobile users growing, it will be easier to reach a critical mass of users.
The user in niche social networks is of great value.
Security is what makes niche social networks appealing, effective and accessible
For users, nowadays, security is as important as ever, and niche social networks offer more security and protection. Many social networks are limited to a number of users, and those that are not, are investing in digital security and privacy protection, showing that users’ security is a priority.
Users are drawn to niche social networks due to their nature of combining social and cultural atmosphere recognizable for the online world, and their networking needs, impulse, and interest.
Marketers are drawn because they want to promote their product and service and encourage their brand image by targeting new users.
While the number of users is growing every day on major networks along with the number of business that wants to facilitate the social media in every possible way, reaching the right communication channel is getting harder.
Turning to niche social networks is a win-win for both users and marketers.
If you have an idea for a niche social network, see how we can help you.