What is a niche social network? A niche social network is a social media platform that focuses on a specific interest group or demographic. They are different from the main, big-name social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat and the more recent Tik Tok, in that they do not cater to all audiences. This exclusivity yields many benefits when targeting specific audiences or building a professional network.
A niche social network can be found for almost any interest group such as; cooking, sports, drawing or even dog walking. Many professional industries also have at least one niche social media platform out there. These niche social networks are a great resource to build your network, grow your business or increase personal brand recognition.
Five Industry-Specific Social Media Platforms
All professional, industry-specific social networks provide a group of similar professionals to engage and connect with as well as an audience guaranteed to be interested in your industry. It’s great way to meet potential collaborators, or show off your work and build your brand image. Most industry-specific social networks also offer resources concerning the industry they represent. This can include blogs, Q&A forums and even job boards. Niche social media platforms also are a great way to find jobs or other companies in need of your services in to your field, because they narrow down relevant job listings better than broader sites like Indeed or LinkedIn.
Engaging in a niche social network related to your industry can be practical for marketing and inspiring for yourself. Most will also offer some form of advertising on their platform. Here are five industry-specific niche social media platforms to consider joining.
ActiveRain is the largest social media platform for real estate professionals, with over 302,435 members. Their online community consists of real estate agents, brokers, home stagers, inspectors, lenders and other industry professionals seeking to engage and expand their business and expertise.
ActiveRain offers real estate-related resources, including a well-informed blog with over 4 million posts. Anyone registered with the site can contribute to it, offering an easy method of ensuring your blogs are seen by a relevant audience. (www.activerain.com)
There is also the Active Rain University, which is the platform’s online education center. The center offers a variety of educational content related to the real estate industry. The vast content library includes webinars, online courses and a variety of reading, available for free with a basic membership.
A basic membership is free, or members can upgrade to a “RainMaker” membership for $39/month or $199/year, which includes premium features such as an open to consumers blog, and sharing content on other social media platforms. For marketing, Active Rain offers a chance to network with other’s in your industry, grow your brand image and demonstrate your expertise to consumers.
Gust Launch is a social media platform for start-ups. There are two different types of accounts you can make as either a founder or an investor. The site has roughly 800,000 start-up founders and 85,000 investors registered. The platform is designed to help entrepreneurs build their start-up companies by providing them with a like-minded network as well as tools needed to get their companies up and growing.
Membership to Gust is not free, however. The cheapest membership is their “START” account, priced at $300/year. With this basic account, members receive access to the online network, stock and cap tables, board actions, finance tools and online support. The more complex accounts, “ACCELERATE” and “RAISE,” are more expensive and designed for founders who have an established start-up and are seeking to grow their business. Additional services include business accounting, legal advice, fundraising support and issuing stock options. (www.guest.com) So, for start-up companies, enrolling in Gust Launch’s platform is a reasonable, cheaper, do-it-yourself alternative to marketing than hiring a marketing firm.
Behance is a social network from Adobe, designed for creative professionals to connect, showcase and advertise their work. Creating an account is free and super easy as it can be linked to Facebook, Google or Apple ID. The site will first ask about topics of interest: photography, graphic design, illustration or interaction. From there, site navigation is self-explanatory. You can upload your work, view other people’s creations and connect with creative professionals. The layout of the site is about 90%-images and 10%-word content. Clicking on an image will display an extra-large format covering most of your screen, allowing users to get a full digital view of one’s masterpiece.
The site includes a job board for creative professionals, with hundreds of positions you can filter by specialty. Additionally, due to their affiliation with Adobe, the site offers a multitude of videos and tutorials from Adobe Live on Adobe software such as; “Photoshop Masterclass – Photo Retouching” or “Animating Heroes in After Effects.”
Whether you’re a graphic designer, animator, illustrator or other creative professional, Behance is a terrific social media platform to showcase your work and promote your artistic brand. You can also link your other social media channels to your work on Behance, increasing your brand image marketing. (www.behance.net)
Users can also join communities of interest on the larger Stack Exchange platform, which provides Q&A feeds for all topics of interest.
If you’re an IT techie and can comprehend IT lingo, Stack Overflow is an advantageous social network to join. By connecting with a community of IT professionals, you’ll have the opportunity to share your work and build your credibility within your industry, which can lead to additional opportunities down the line.
Sermo is the largest healthcare social media platform and medical data collection company in the world. The site has over 800,000 registered members and is only open to registered M.D.s (Doctor of Medicine) and D.O.s (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Prospective members must provide their NPI (National Provider Identifier) or American Medical Association ME (Medical Education) numbers to join. This makes Sermo a highly credible social media resource for physicians to connect with the global healthcare community. (www.sermo.com)
The site provides an extensive professional network for healthcare workers to reach out and collaborate. Connecting with other medical authorities is an essential factor in problem solving and working to find the best solutions for patients. Members can ask questions, start discussions or share patient cases. They can also anonymously chat in the “virtual doctors’ lounge” chatroom. This extensive network of healthcare professionals is also an excellent source to spread the word of your practice or services. Fellow healthcare professionals will be excited to share your information with their personal networks and keep you in consideration when your services or expertise are needed.
Sermo also has a blog that can be viewed by non-members, which provides information on the medical industry and current issues. Written by physicians, it’s a credible source of medical information.
As a healthcare professional, this is a prime platform to share your healthcare expertise with the public. People trust blog articles from Sermo, and publication on their blog will increase public trust and interest in your healthcare brand.
Market With Niche Social Networks
Whether you’re a senior-level developer or an aspiring graphic artist, niche social media networks are a valuable way to expand your industry knowledge and connect to other industry professionals to grow your network and market your brand. Because niche social networks are concentrated on a specific interest or group, they can provide relevant resources and audiences you may be seeking. If you’re already connected on big-name social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, it’s a smart idea to check out these smaller but worthwhile niche social networks and see if your work trends with the virtual crowd.
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