When organizations first start thinking about social media marketing, they can’t be blamed for wanting to focus on the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Each network is well established, contains hundreds of millions of users from all around the world. But perhaps, that this is a case where all that glitters isn’t gold. For some industries and specialists, the best avenue for social media marketing could be niche sites (in addition to using the big three). This blog will showcase four niche social media sites that can be used to market your organization.
Care2 is the largest online community devoted entirely to social causes. Care2’s tagline is “make a difference,” and its platform is designed to help you do just that. The network includes a motivated community, driven by more than 23 million members who are passionate about a number of causes (animal welfare, the arts, peace, politics, etc.). Marketers for non-profit organizations and other social causes can connect with others who share their interests, send out press releases, create e-cards for their business and more.
The fact that Care2 is the largest online community empowering people to lead a healthy and green lifestyle while taking action on important causes such as human rights, animal welfare and global warming, makes it an ideal way to spread awareness, raise funds and recruit volunteers. Care2 also offers one of the most efficient advertising methods for nonprofits to grow their capacity for online and multi-channel outreach, advocacy and fundraising.
Dogster and Catster
For business that specialize in pets, a Dogster and Catster are good places to market specialized services. These social networks are for dog or cat lovers. Each site includes an online magazine portion, but the community areas lets users create a profile for their pet, add photos, create groups and discuss the latest topics of pet care. According to Dogster, Inc.’s website, Dogster and Catster currently have 3 million pet profiles. These sites also offer banner ads, making them the ideal channel to put advertisements for pet related services.
CafeMom is a virtual meeting place for mothers. Not only does it offer cutting-edge articles regarding parenthood and childcare, but its community allows millions of moms to talk to each other, give and receive advice, watch videos and play games.
By maintaining a profile on the network, marketers can build trust for their brand by being able to answer the questions mothers have and by engaging with them on topics that matter to them. Organizations can also use social media marketing tactics like coupons, contests, and specials to promote their brand.
CafeMom is a good place to advertise a wide array of products and services. There is clearly a benefit for advertising products geared toward mothers and children. But the site is also provides distractions like videos and games, so there are a lot of places where advertisements can be placed, that may spread virally to other networks. By being on a site that is known to be frequented by at-home mothers, marketers gain access to a household decision makers at times when they are thinking about home-related issues.
Inspire is a health and wellness community with more than 400,000 members. The site is billed as a patient engagement community and earlier this year, they reached 5,000,000 posts from patients and caregivers.
“What sets Inspire apart is the authenticity of our members and the intensity of their engagement,” said Inspire CEO Brian Loew. “Our members often connect at a time when they are making critical decisions about treatments for themselves or for loved ones.”
Buy creating an account for a non-profit organization or a company that makes health products, marketers can become part of a trusted community. Marketers will be able to connect with individuals with questions about topics, support groups for people with particular conditions, as well as connect with other national organizations that are apart of the Inspire community.
Inspire builds and manages these communities in exclusive partnership with 100 national patient advocacy and support organizations. Among the organizations are the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Genetic Alliance, American Brain Tumor Association, and many more.
There are dozens of niche social media sites so it’s worth it for every business to do a little research to see if there is one that suites the needs of the organization’s target audience. Another important thing to remember is that these are niche social media sites, not niche advertising channels. Going onto any social media channel and bombarding the members with advertising-based posts will annoy more customers than it attracts. As has been mentioned before on this blog, the content for a company’s social media channel needs to be balanced. This is especially true if the niche is based on sensitive topics like disease treatments or charitable causes. These groups will be less accommodating of blatant consumerism. In spite of the challenges, using a niche social media site to market an organization is a good tactic because it lets marketers connect with the influential people within a niche that will spread the information to the general public.