We know what you’re thinking.
“Not another social networking project! You’re killing us here, GLAD WORKS!”
We know you’re probably kind of sick of hearing “social media this” and “social media lalala,” but we would be remiss if we didn’t talk to you about how integrating a niche network into your social media mix might help you out. “Never be remiss” is our motto, among other things, so we have to mention it.
But what in the name of social media is a niche network?
Well, it’s a smaller network that’s kind of like Facebook in its features and functionality (sharing and communication), but niche networks center around a specific theme instead of being general like Facebook. In a niche network you automatically have the attention of like-minded people who care about the same things you do, and you have a great opportunity to engage both current and potential customers in this emerging medium.
Increasingly, companies are participating in these networks since customer involvement can be very effective—sometimes far more effective than Facebook and Twitter since niche networks strategies focus on the people who are already involved with or interested in your product or service.
Niche networks work differently from larger networks, so you must behave accordingly. With a niche network, your main reason for existing is to help strengthen your relationship with like-minded people, whereas Facebook is useful for trying to get people interested in what you’re doing. Niche networks have a much more established knowledge of the niche due to their specialization.
So, for example, if you own a store that sells…stick on mustaches, you can go to Facebook to try to get all the people there interested in mustaches and mustache related paraphernalia. The Sweet Mustache niche network is where you go to chat it up with those who are already into mustaches. You know that guy with the handlebar mustache? There he is, twisting his ‘stache and doling out advice to all the other enthusiasts.
You love mustache mavens like him because they’re the ones who are truly in a position to help your business. They’ve got the potential to be uber brand evangelists because you can connect with them on a deeper level than you can with folks on the mainstream social networking sites. Imagine how easy it will be to talk mustache with people who are already receptive and engaged. They would love to hear from someone equally experienced and knowledgeable in the finer subtleties of mustaches. You’re now free to get to know these current and potential customers on a deeper and more personal level. Your conversation will flow freely and you will likely find that you enjoy it!
Your presence in a smaller network helps you to be heard above all the noise on mainstream networks. This is not to say that Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be a part of your gig. They absolutely should be, but in this smaller, more intimate, and more targeted community, you are much more likely to be noticed and it will be much easier to establish your brand as a trusted authority in your field.
At this point, you may be wondering what to do if there’s no niche network for your business. We’re glad you asked because all you have to do is start your own! There are social networking software packages available to purchase, or you can give us a jingle and we can take care of the set up for you.
However you decide to go about it, you need to have a clear and solid plan for what you’re doing. Just like everything else, this does require effort, but it also has the potential to be really fun and help you communicate to your customers how passionate you are about what you do.