Ten Niche Networks for Social Media Engagement - dummies

Ten Niche Networks for Social Media Engagement

By Aliza Sherman, Danielle Elliott Smith

Niche social networks often focus on few features, offering a different way of doing something already offered by other networks or, in some cases, offering something completely different.


Who might use it: Anyone with multimedia content to publish online and who is looking for an easy-to-use mobile app for publishing on the go

A multimedia platform, Tumblr offers design templates (free and paid) that showcase each type of content in visually attractive ways. You can post a variety of content, including text, links, photos, quotes, music, and videos.

To prompt your audience to share content from your website with their Tumblr following, use the Tumblr Share button on your website posts and articles along with your other social media Share buttons. To reach a wider audience, make it easy for others to share your content to Tumblr, even if you aren’t using Tumblr.


Who might use it: Anyone looking to host and leverage images and video.

Flickr can enable you to share a large number of images. You can follow people on Flickr, and they can follow you. You can favorite (like) images, and others can favorite yours. People can comment on one another’s Flickr photos. Another useful feature is a built-in editing tool for manipulating images on the Flickr website or in the Flickr smartphone app.

Flickr integrates with Twitter, making it easy to tweet your Flickr uploads or use the Flickr mobile app for iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone.

For engagement, participate in or form Flickr Groups to bring together people with shared interests through the posting of and commenting on images.


Who might use it: Anyone who develops and wants to publish presentation slides or PDFs, such as ebooks

Believe it or not, people are gathering and interacting around PowerPoint presentations. SlideShare adds social engagement elements to a site that hosts people’s slide show files. Register for free, create your profile, and then upload your PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote, or OpenOffice presentations.

Slides can be viewed on the website or via mobile device, and SlideShare provides code for each presentation to embed it into a website or blog. The SlideShare community-building features allow you to create a profile, follow other users, favorite, and comment.


Who might use it: Anyone looking to connect more intimately with closer connections

The Path mobile app is available for Android and iOS. You can visit the Path website to edit page settings, such as to add a cover image as a banner at the top of your Path page or to upload a profile photo; however, you can also do this on the mobile app.

You can post photos with free and premium filters; videos; location coordinates or check-ins; and music, movies, or books you’re enjoying. Path integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.


Who might use it: Anyone interested in travel, photography, and culture

Use Trover to post photographs tied to places or things with GPS coordinates or geotags in conjunction with other location- and image-sharing apps, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Use the Trover mobile app for iOS and Android to post to Trover from anywhere your device has a cell signal or Wi-Fi access.

Trover lets you showcase your knowledge of local landmarks and little-known places in your area on Trover. Position yourself — or your company — as an expert in your city or region. Take posting a step further by curating lists of related discoveries and promote these lists as resources for others.


Who might use it: Anyone interested in showcasing expertise and growing a professional or business brand

Quora is a question-and-answer website where anyone can ask any question about any topic and the community members can answer that question and vote for the best answer. Quora doesn’t focus solely on business and professional topics, so you can explore any topic you can imagine.

As a representative of a company, an organization, or a brand, you can engage with others on Quora to ask questions for research or answers questions that demonstrate your knowledge and indirectly promote your company in a positive way.


Who might use it: Anyone looking to create and publish short videos

Vine is a newer social network on the block, owned by Twitter, that focuses solely on video. Vine, which is mobile-centric, lets you easily shoot short (6-second), looping videos and post them to the web, Twitter, and Facebook.

Vinepeek offers Vine “channels” to aggregate your Vine videos into one spot using a hashtag. You can embed your Vine channel into your website or blog. The Pro level of Vinepeek lets you moderate the videos that post to your channel so you can prevent video spam from cluttering your video stream.


Who might use it: Anyone interested in travel, cuisine, or lifestyle; food and drink companies; restaurants and bars; hospitality businesses

Foodspotters photograph food using smartphones and upload the photos to the network with notes describing what they’ve tasted. Each dish entry is tagged with the geographic coordinates of the place where the food was served. If food is a main part of your business, you can sign up for Foodspotting using your restaurant name and logo.

Encourage customers to spot your dishes on posters and table tents or even on your menus. Offer perks to frequent customers who often spot your dishes.


Who might use it: Any business with a physical location that’s open to the public

Though Yelp started off as (only) a site where consumers could search for and review local businesses, it has expanded into a social mobile network with communities of “Yelpers” who avidly share opinions, follow each other, and interact with one another.

Yelp reviewers cover more than restaurants, stores, and lodging — they now review schools, parks, and many other physical locations. Unlock your business listing on Yelp to claim it. Use your Yelp page to interact with customers or offer a Yelp deal.


Who might use it: Anyone in creative industries, entertainment, or media production

The Myspace network has been overhauled a few times, and the new incarnation of the service homes in on the target audience for the site, giving you several specific options, such as musician, photographer, filmmaker, writer, or designer. Venues and brands are also encouraged to create a presence.