05.18.2012 - Posted By: Stephanie Elton - Community Moderator
With individuals flocking to niche social platforms in droves, this means your retail brand needs to be there, too, right? Well, not necessarily.
True, when the 2012 retrospectives start popping up in December, it’s quite possible that one of the taglines could very well turn out to be “the year of the niche social network.”
Case in point: Pinterest. The buzz surrounding Pinterest hit a fever pitch earlier this year, culminating in Pinterest becoming the third most popular social network in the U.S. in March 2012, based on number of visits, according to Experian.
Instagram shed its iPhone-only status in early April with the release of an Android-compatible version of the photo-sharing app. Instagram for Android hit 1 million downloads less than 24 hours after its release and, by the end of April, the photo-sharing app boasted over 50 million users. And, of course, we’re all aware of its subsequent $1 Billion acquisition by Facebook.
However, one of these popular new platforms will not solve your marketing challenges automatically. Before you start setting up that new account, you need to first look at your strategy and target audience.
At this stage in the game, your retail brand should have a social media strategy in place. So ask yourself, “Will having an active presence on this new social network help reach the goals and objectives identified in my social media strategy? How does this new social network tie into the other channels I’m currently using?”
Moreover, does the audience you are targeting even exist on this new social network? If it doesn’t, can you make the case why your audience would add this platform to its social media mix if you built a community in this space?
Other questions to ask yourself:
- Can you provide real value to members and your brand with this new social platform?
- Is the user experience of this social platform a high-quality one?
- Does this new social platform allow members and hosts the opportunity to cultivate a sense of enthusiasm and passion?
An explosion in registered users and an obscenely high number of monthly page views is enticing, but if this new social platform isn’t a good match for your strategy or your audience, those numbers mean nothing.
I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of 2012 shakes out. Which niche social network will have its moment in the sun next? Which players will still be around a year from now? Whatever develops, as long as you keep your target audience and social media strategy in mind, you will navigate these choppy waters just fine.
What has your process for evaluating emerging social networks looked like? Have you added any to your marketing mix? Which have worked well for you? Tell us about it.