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Social Media for Business: Niche Social Media Channels

23 Sep, 2015 McKell Naelge

Every day, it seems like a new social network pops up. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest—the list goes on and on. It’s very hard to keep up with every social media network, and it’s even harder to use them all. Which ones actually help drive fans, engagement, and sales? And which ones are you missing out on? Today we’re bringing you some under-the-radar social networks you might be missing out on that could make a big difference.

Quora:

What is it?

Quora is a social community where people can ask questions on a multitude of topics and users answer. The users are often experts in the field or in a business relating to the question. The site differs from other question-and-answer sites in the fact that users must use their real name or log in with a social media account. This adds legitimacy to the site and limits spam or trolls.

How can you use it?

 Quora is a great forum for businesses. It provides a natural way to promote your company beyond typical advertising and without annoying potential customers. Businesses can create a business account and can answer questions pertaining to their business or to their field. This not only creates positive PR as the business engages with customers, but it can build trust from the customers as they view the business as an expert in the given field.

 Bubbly

What is it?

Bubbly is a voice-centric social media app. Short voice messages can be recorded, edited, and shared with your friends. You can add filters, music, and other effects to your message. It has been described as Twitter with a voice. You can follow friends and celebrities.

How can you use it?

This app may not be very well known, but it has a rapidly growing user base with millions of users. This could be a good alternative to video, as users can listen to interviews, question and answers, or even quick how-to audio clips. Bubbly could be especially effective when a brand ambassador with a recognizable voice records the messages. This adds a more personal tone than video or text.

 Meerkat/Periscope

What is it?

Meerkat and Periscope are two live video-streaming services. They allow users to live-stream anything in their life, while people can watch and ask questions or comment. Meerkat was first to the game as a start-up, and Twitter quickly introduced Periscope in response. Though both networks are still relatively small, they’re growing very rapidly and competing to control the market for live-video streaming, which looks poised to be the next big thing.

 How can you use it?

 These two apps provide a number of possibilities for businesses. Several businesses have already jumped on, and celebrities are very popular on Periscope. Behind-the-scenes tours, interviews, and live-streaming events are all possibilities. Video is bigger than ever, and Meerkat and Periscope provide a great tool for businesses to use to grow their audience.

A late addition to the field is Facebook. They introduced their live-streaming feature at the beginning of August. However, they offer a slightly different experience. First, videos are automatically published to the news feed after the live event. That way, people can come back and view the video at a later time. Second, the service is only available to verified Facebook pages. It is unclear if—or when—Facebook will expands to businesses and normal users.

These are just a few ideas of social media that could work for your business. It’s important to remember that just because a certain social media site works for one business, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Keep in mind what works with your customers, and be willing to try new ideas and new channels that will build your audience and strengthen relationships.

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