image credit: chris lister via flickr cc
If your B2B brand has been struggling to gain traction and engagement on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or other major social media networks, it may be time to adopt a more niche mindset.
Social media marketing is a quickly-evolving field. Many inbound experts believe that "organic reach" through Facebook is dead, and a brand's only chance of gaining exposure is through paid advertising. Consumer behavior is also evolving. Younger consumers are increasingly choosing Instagram, Twitter, or SnapChat as an alternative to Facebook. In fact, at least 11 million millennials and teens have closed their Facebook accounts since 2011.
Fortunately, there are hundreds of niche social media platforms that could be the right fit for your company's strategy. B2C brands are successfully making a splash on Snapchat, Tumblr, Imgur, and Reddit. However, there's no reason why B2B brands also can't expand their social strategy to smaller networks, provided it aligns with their audience. Here are a few to consider:
LawLink is among the best-known and most widely-used social media networks for a single industry. The target audience for this site is practicing attorneys, legal professionals, and other experts who operate in closely-related fields, such as eDiscovery or patent specialists. If your businesses' products or services have value to legal professionals, this option could certainly be worth exploration.
This community of Physicians is focused on the concepts of networking, knowledge-sharing and research discovery. Companies who work in medical technologies, pharmaceuticals, or related fields can use this platform for distributing content marketing. However, it is important to note that the community is closed unless you or someone on your staff is a licensed Physician.
There are a number of digital forums that allow designers to "show and tell" their portfolios, but Dribbble is among the most socially-driven. If your organization is in the business of design-heavy web graphics, building templates, or other business services, this network can provide networking and lead generation opportunities.
Quora is like a grown-up, more quality controlled version of Yahoo Answers. Subject matter experts are able to build out robust profiles, and answer user-generated questions on any given topic, from pop culture to oscillators.
This network is a wise choice for companies who are willing to put in the legwork to build expertise and respect slowly, by providing intelligent and accurate answers to questions. However, it's not necessarily the right forum to promote your content. While many niche networks don't release information on registered users, Quora reports they have over 100 million registered.
For B2B businesses with brick-and-mortar locations, Nextdoor is a series of hyper-local communities that could be worth considering. Nextdoor allows users to create private networks for neighborhoods, Burroughs, or other small regions. Businesses can expand local awareness by joining or creating a local network.
6. Meet Pips
Don't let the name of this super-specific network dissuade you. It's focused exclusively on individuals and businesses who focus on Forex trading. A unique feature offered is the ability to publish original, long-form content on Forex trading, which could offer some powerful potential for content promotion and distribution.
If your business had to select a single lesser-known social media network to adopt, it should definitely be Slideshare. This network allows users to upload slideshows or PDFs, allowing promotion and sharing of your PowerPoint presentations and eBooks. Your content can be promoted through direct link sharing, or via the site's sophisticated tagging system for organic discovery. Perhaps best of all, Slideshare presentations with keyword-rich descriptions often rank well in search engine results pages.
Slideshare has a reported 70 million users, and is used as a promotion tool in 17% of new marketing product launches. If you choose to go the paid social advertising route, you can integrate opportunities for lead generation directly into your presentations or embed slideshows in your LinkedIn profile.
Is your B2B organization using any niche or industry-specific social media networks as part of your inbound marketing strategy? Why or why not?