I read recently that Facebook’s growth rate is slowing.
Are there other smaller, niche social media platforms coming through that I should be keeping an eye on in terms of connecting to my customer base, or is Facebook still going to be king for years and years to come?
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Yeah, the times, they are a changin’!
Social networking is such a dynamic and fast-moving industry. Something that has gotten so big so fast simply has to see a slowdown, especially in the places where there is simply no one left to sign up because everyone’s on it already!
Facebook’s growth has been slowing slightly, but I wouldn’t give up on it just yet. This dip is not something that we should be concerned about. Even if the number of people signing up dips, it still has nearly a billion users worldwide.
What about the niche social networking sites?
Your business is mostly likely best-suited to staying on the big sites like Facebook and Twitter. If your business serves a smaller niche, though, you may want to consider joining specialty social media sites to promote your company.
These networks differ from general social media sites in that they are targeted at a specific audience where they can create an instant bond between people. There are lots of sites tailored towards different niches, from environmentalists to dog lovers to wine connoisseurs – the list goes on and on.
Here are a few examples of some top niche sites that are taking a different approach to social media and they are working:
- Dogster and Catster allow you to create a profile for your pet, add photos, create groups and discuss the latest topics of pet care.
- Wiser offers users the chance to meet and connect with people working towards sustainability.
- Untappd is for the social beer connoisseur. A mobile-based social network, Untappd lets users share opinions on their favourite beers and where they’re drinking them with friends.
- CafeMom is a community that allows millions of moms to talk to each other and give and receive advice on parenthood and childcare.
- Athlinks is for the digitally-minded athlete. It record stats and compares them to others, along with an information site for races, equipment, etc.
Niche social networks have a different approach than that of Facebook.
The Pinterests, Instagrams and Tumblrs of the world allow users to focus on their interests first. With these new social networks, you can express your interests in new and engaging ways. Keep your eye on visual social networking – it’s only going to get bigger.
Pinterest, for example, has really stepped up as a valuable marketing tool for business. Since it launched in 2010, it has experienced wild growth. Would you believe it’s driving more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined?
It’s similar to Facebook in that when you ‘pin’ something new, your followers see it. They may like it, comment or re-pin it to their boards and hopefully your pin will go viral.
Perhaps the most powerful business application is the ability to post images of your company’s products on your Pinterest board and link them back to your website.
At this stage of the game, people want something else, something new, and social networking on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ is becoming too commonplace.
My advice: stick with Facebook. And if you find any niche social sites related to your business – jump!