Social media has become an essential element in any good marketing plan, which is why numerous niche markets are taking it a step further. From alternative "goth" social media website VampireFreaks, to Ravelry, a social networking site for knitting enthusiasts, the world of niche social media is huge – and getting bigger. Niche businesses are investing in community-based social media networks, which can include community forums and even offline communities, because they experience benefits such as:
- Qualified leads. Rather than marketing to a broad audience via traditional social media, niche social sites attract users that are already interested in a specific industry or business. There’s also less competition on niche sites, as users aren’t bombarded with as many advertisements as they would have been on major social media sites like Facebook.
- Increased engagement. Since the users are inherently interested in niche social sites, they’re more likely to participate in forums and interact with other members of the community. Enhanced interaction is paramount to establishing a meaningful brand-to-consumer relationship, as well as stimulating social shares, leading to new audience development, increased brand awareness, and new leads.
- Greater marketing ROI. More qualified leads and higher engagement means businesses that invest in niche social marketing will experience greater marketing ROI. Focused content means less truly is more, as relevant content matched with audience needs becomes easier to develop and publish.
Niche social media sites aren’t right for every business, but they’re certainly a viable option for niche businesses. Starting a new social networking space for your business takes significant time and effort, but it can pay dividends for years to come.
Consider some of the perks of social media marketing:
- 42 percent of online adults have accounts on multiple social platforms. An estimated 73 percent have at least one account.
- 28 percent of smartphone owners use social media on a daily basis. Approximately 40 percent of cell phone owners have a social media app on their phone.
- 56 percent of online adults report participating in forums and creating content of some kind.
In today’s highly digital world, people are craving interconnectivity more than ever. Through social media, users connect with others having similar interests, hobbies, and tastes. Niche social networking sites are continuing to bloom even as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter hold the vast majority of the market share. When creating a niche social media site, businesses shouldn’t aim to become the “next Facebook.” Instead, their ultimate goal should be to unite people who are interested in their services and industry, which consequently leads to increased brand authority, awareness, and credibility as well as leads and sales.
If you’ve decided to invest in a niche social networking space for your business, it’s important to consider the need for a robust and multifaceted web host. In other words, starting a social space for your business is more than just registering a domain name. You need a server to host it and be able to manage traffic growth as users discover your community. Some of the most important features you’ll want in a web hosting provider include, but are not limited to:
- Scalability. The goal of a social networking site is to grow and attract users in your niche. Your social site should not be the same size in a year – it should be bigger. Thus, be sure to partner with a web host provider that offers scalable services to accompany your forecasted growth. Can you easily switch between shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting? How much power do you want and need over your hosting? By considering these questions, you’ll be certain to select the right partner for your needs.
- Security. Users must create accounts to become members of social networking sites, so it’s critical to invest in a web host provider that offers reliable data security measures. One new and popular security measure is SiteLock. People often utilize the same email address and passwords across their accounts, so a security compromise in just one area can cause major problems elsewhere.
- Customer service. Running a social site is a complex task, so you’ll need to talk with your web host provider whenever issues arise. Partner with a company that prides itself on offering fast, thorough, and reliable customer service 24/7.
By considering web hosts that offer these features, your new social network or community will be able to grow without jeopardizing customer security or user experience.