I regularly talk to people about what ‘Social Media’ is, and the core four social networks are always mentioned; Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram and Twitter. But for some reason there seems to be a blindness to the greater world of the internet for many. Social networks are far from the mass consumer platforms and it’s really something I feel people need to pay attention to!
Some of the less expected social network platforms include places like Forums and Message Boards (and if you still kick it old school IRC). These platforms are often overlooked when looking at what you can do to get involved in social, why? Because they aren’t as publicly recognized – or at least that’s my guess.
The internet is a wonderful and diverse place, one of the greatest features is that there is a specialist location for just about every hobby, passion, or ‘click’ that you can think of. These granular groups are often more than welcoming of businesses and individuals who are relevant and want to get involved – and is something that I highly recommend doing! Not only do you get in touch with audiences that are highly relevant to your brand and products, you can be pro-active in involvement in situations and make drastic changes to your brands public sentiment.
So if you’re looking at getting involved in social, look deeper into the internet and see what niche communities are around. You may be surprised with the support you receive, and better yet help turn loyal customers of competitors into people who may look outside the walled garden they often build themselves.
*Before getting involved*
Before getting involved in any network, understand the community, what they value and more importantly the culture and usage of the networks. Don’t just jump in and start advertising. I’d suggest lurking for a while, then introduce yourself and carefully get involved within the discussions. Help and advice – even if it isn’t for your own products provides great public opinion and helps to re-enforce your knowledge – getting involved isn’t all about making a sale!
A few networks that failed to get a mention that I also highly value are Reddit, Pinterest, 4Chan (and it’s spin offs), LinkedIn, YouTube and Tumblr.