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Marketing via Niche Networks and Online Influencers

Throughout this book, I discuss social influence marketing on the major social platforms: what you can do on the paid side of the equation as well as on the unpaid or earned media end. Still, much more social activity is happening online beyond Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and Twitter that needs to be accounted for. Industry insiders believe that in the coming years, greater fragmentation will happen as usergenerated content flows more seamlessly between the major social platforms and the rest of the Internet. In this chapter, I discuss the social platforms beyond Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and Twitter.

I introduce these other social platforms, help you identify which ones are most appropriate for your marketing needs, and guide you through the process of determining how best to market on them. So what are these niche social platforms that I’m talking about? Table 2-1 outlines the top 20 social networking platforms as of February 2009 from comScore, a marketing research company. Keep in mind that although this categorization uses the term social networks very loosely, it still excludes user-generated content (UGC) video sites such as YouTube and community platforms like Ning (www.ning.com) Arguably, by studying the monthly unique visitors and growth rates of these social platforms, you may wonder whether calling them niche platforms is even appropriate.

They still have millions of unique visitors each month and, barring few exceptions, appear to be growing at a relatively brisk pace. For many people, these social platforms are more valuable and personal than MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Here’s why I categorize them as niche platforms: Their size or growth rate still pales in comparison to that of the four major social platforms.

Conclusion

These networks are typically more narrowly focused (for example, LinkedIn is for professionals and Classmates is for alumni relationships) and, in some cases, they serve as platforms only for the aggregation and distribution of social media and are less focused on the social graph.

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