Social networking is more than a phenomenon; it’s a way of life. As much as people hate to admit it, think about how different your daily life would be without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Snapchat. Even if you don’t use all of them, the vast majority of the population (at least in North America) uses at minimum one of these if not more every single day. And whether you consider these social mediums a time suck or a crucial value-add to society, you can’t deny the effect they’ve had.
With all these massive social networks and only so much time in the day, many will argue that the social media space is completely saturated. At the same time, people were saying that two years ago when Pinterest was still in it’s infancy and barely anyone had even heard of Snapchat. There are still a lot of growth opportunities within the social space, however emerging networks are becoming more niche in their target markets and feature sets in order to appeal to a very specific subset of the population. In this post I’ll take a look at some of these emerging niche networks that are becoming popular, but that you may never have heard of.
Quora launched in 2010, becoming one of the first truly niche social networks. It’s based around a single purpose: Q & A’s. Quora uses an extensive list of categories and divides questions & answers by topic. Users can collaborate and comment on others questions and answers, so that the community works together to deliver the most holistic answers. Quora is well known for not sharing user or growth numbers and these are hard to speculate on, but it has become a valuable resource to many through its crowd-sourced knowledge platform.
Kaboodle is a Pinterest-like niche network for fashion lovers. Like Pinterest, it’s very image-centric and allows users to create style boards consisting of different accessories and clothing items. You can also organize products into lists and engage your connections in polls to see which items they love the most. Although similar to Pinterest, the sites focus solely on fashion still makes it attractive to this niche, and its polling and connection features provide in-depth ways to connect with audiences and learn their preferences.
Wiser is a niche network for savvy environmentalists. The site is for people who believe in a more sustainable and just world, and offers users the chance to connect with others working towards sustainability. It’s built specifically to encourage discussion surrounding all things environmental. It’s also very business focused, where companies can add partner organizations, share resources, and promote events. It’s a site that helps companies give back and work together with like-minded people to build sustainable organizations.
CafeMom is quite simply the meeting place for moms. It’s a site where moms can share advice on pregnancy, parenting, childcare, and relationships. It offers articles and studies on a variety of topics, as well as discussion boards and groups to join as a virtual meeting place and resource for mothers everywhere.
All of the above sites have succeeded in the social space by creating unique experiences and providing value to a niche set of users. This isn’t meant to be a complete list, and there are many other niche networks out there focusing on a specific problem or market. In a social space becoming increasingly full of large-scale networks with massive user bases, these niche networks are still able to build vibrant communities united by a single purpose.
Did you know there are a ton of marketing folks on Google+ as well? Check out our page and join some of the many communities we’re a part of.
About the Author
Paul is a social media marketer and startup enthusiast based in Toronto, Canada. He likes to traverse both the tech startup and marketing agency worlds (and everything in between). Paul divides his time equally between tech events and Blue Jays games.