Carefully Crafted on November 28

3 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Niche Social Network

When we work with brands, we typically advise them to focus on mastering a few networks instead of stretching their efforts too thin. This is especially true for organizations that are just getting started with social media, as well as those who need help rebooting their online presence after their initial attempt generated lackluster results. Avoid maintaining an ineffective, overstretched presence on a dozen networks by building a viable network on a few sites first. Then, layer on additional sites that support overall objectives.

But, once you’re ready to expand your company’s online presence, how should you choose the next set of networks?

Modcloth, an online vintage/indy clothing retailer, is on Facebook and Twitter — not surprising, as those are two sites that many brands are flocking to. But, Modcloth is also very interactive on niche networks, including Instagram and Pinterest.

When researching my next Open Forum article on brands turning to niche networks to connect with customers, I interviewed Alicia Barnes, Modcloth’s public relations manager. I wanted to know how they decide which niche sites to participate in. Alicia explained:

“Before we approach a new community, we consider the following questions: Is our target demographic excited by it? Can our content/editorial succeed there? Do we have the capacity for authentic participation?”

That seems like an incredibly logical — and effective — litmus test. But, to provide accurate answers to those questions, you need to conduct a little self-assessment first. Start by answering the following questions:

  • Who is your target demographic? (“Everyone” is not an answer. Particularly when considering niche networks, get very specific in understanding your audiences. Specificity is critical.)
  • What kind of content does your brand create? Or, what kind of content can you realistically create on a regular basis?
  • Will that content resonate within a new network’s ecosystem/culture?
  • What does “authentic participation” look like in each network being considered? Does your brand have the time, resources, and ability to participate in that manner?
  • What does success on a niche network look like for your company?

Then, follow Modcloth’s lead and use the following questions when considering niche network participation:

  • Is our target demographic excited about [network]?
  • Can our content succeed on [network]?
  • Do we have the capacity for authentic participation in [network]?

Want to learn how brands are going “niche”? Brands share how they use Pinterest, Instagram and Foodspotting in this OpenForum article.


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