Social media has played a pivotal role in shaping and redefining the customer experience. We’re all familiar with the mainstream juggernauts of Facebook and Twitter, but there’s a vast array of niche social media outlets catering to the unique interests of particular customers. And more are regularly popping up.
Social media has given customers greater power by providing them a forum to share their experiences. In return, brands have used it to understand more about their customers, thereby building better engagement, loyalty and brand awareness. This entails, however, a very different strategy when marketing and communicating with customers.
Delivering generic messages and content without any consideration of the etiquette required when marketing on social media, is more than likely to alienate rather than engage customers. The brand needs to craft its content and presence on social media around the needs and perspective of its customers rather than messages selling the benefits of its products or services.
The need to carefully craft content and personalised experiences is taken further when engaging with niche social media platforms. Though the potential audience is much smaller it is likely to be a more engaged and active community that’s passionate about the interests and values that brings them together.
On the positive side for the brand, these smaller platforms can offer unique opportunities to create more meaningful and engaged experiences for customers.
Niche versus Mainstream Platforms
Facebook’s overarching dominance and influence, is not for everyone. The scandal around Cambridge Analytica has made people wary of mainstream social media. A recent poll conducted by CBS found 68 percent of millennials surveyed, don’t think Facebook will be able to protect user data going forward. People also feel swamped by the amount of irrelevant comments and messages that plagues their feeds.
Facebook and Twitter are very unlikely to disappear anytime soon or diminish greatly in their reach. However, the last few years has seen an increasing growth in people subscribing to smaller, more focused social media platforms. These platforms focus on their users’ interests, hobbies, professions or values that are important to them. From a marketing and customer experience point of view niche platforms that align more closely with a company’s products or values, can provide more meaningful branded experiences.
A good example of a niche platform and its application for the customer experience is Procurious. Procurious is a social media platform for professionals in the procurement and the supply chain industry. It allows professionals to connect from around the world, discuss topics that are vital to the industry and career development, and it provides a store of knowledge, advice and tips for the industry.
Some other niche social media platforms worth considering
Houzz – is a social media platform and online community for those who interested in home design and architecture, renovating and home improvement, landscaping, and interior decorating. Though a niche platform, Houzz still has over 40 million users worldwide and around million or so in Australia.
If you’re a builder, architect, landscape gardener, home renovator or sell products or services to those professions then Houzz is a community you should most probably be a part of.
Nabo – Launched in 2015 Nabo is a neighbourhood social media platform targeting Australian communities. Over 300,000 users are currently connected to Nabo. It aims to build connections, personal and business, within local communities to promote the growth and wellbeing of those communities.
Care2 – Is a platform focused on a range of humanitarian and environmental causes with some 46 million users across the globe. Care2 offers email, blogging, shopping, and the ability to share petitions. The goal of the site is to connect activists from around the world with other individuals, organisations and businesses with strong social and environmental values.