7 Niche Social Networks for Strategic Networking

social media toolsDo you find it hard to connect with your ideal audience using the larger social networks?

Have you considered a smaller social network?

In this article, you’ll find 7 niche social networks built to serve specialized markets.

Why Niche Social Networks?

Ask almost anyone what to include in your social media strategy and you’re likely to hear Facebook, Twitter or Google+ in the response.

But you may find it useful to tap into a specialized network.

Use a niche social network to reach a narrowly targeted audience where strategic networking can help you connect with potential customers and business partners of all kinds.

A niche social network within your industry can work wonders to reach people of interest there.

You can also look for niche sites where people come together around one of the core values or interests of your business. It’s an easy way to find and connect with like-minded people for more strategic networking.

The easiest and fastest way to find these niche sites is likely to be a good old Google search. For example, see below:

finding social sites

Use a Google search to find niche social sites relevant to your business.

Use the examples below to inspire you to connect with niche social networks for more targeted networking.

#1: Build Sustainable Relationships on Wiser—The Social Network for Sustainability

Is your business actively involved in sustainability and environmental topics? This is something that’s becoming very important to many businesses and Wiser is a network built specifically to encourage dialogue about all things environmental.

If your company is green, you can use Wiser to add partner organizations, promote events and share resources that raise your company’s profile where it counts.

wiser network

Adding an organization in Wiser.

Much like with LinkedIn, you can also add groups where you can discuss issues close to your heart and propose solutions.

Create a profile on Wiser today and start to network with people whose values align with yours.

#2: Promote Your Books on LibraryThing

Are you a publisher, literary agent or author? In addition to Goodreads, give LibraryThing a try. You can join as an individual or an organization, then upload your own books with their covers.

You can also add books by capturing ISDN from web pages and use universal import to upload several books at once. This can also be done with .CSV files.

librarything network

Quickly add your books to LibraryThing with the import feature.

LibraryThing is ideal for companies that produce eBooks, as well as blossoming authors who want to cultivate social relationships with their readers.

#3: Reach Alternative Audiences With Vampire Freaks

Mainstream networks don’t always work well for independent bands, tattooists, gothic clothing retailers and so on. VampireFreaks is a community made of people who share news, images and music from the alternative scene.

vampire freaks network

Vampire Freaks social network.

Once you’ve joined the Vampire Freaks, you can add events, upload videos and join in discussions to create ties with others who share your same interests.

#4: Share Your Style and Designs on Kaboodle

If you’re in the fashion industry, Kaboodle is full of opportunity. It’s similar to Pinterest, in that it presents posts in image form. Kaboodle allows you to create style boards with different items of clothing and accessories, making it ideal for fashion retailers.

kaboodle network

Kaboodle—fashion, makeup and accessories.

Organize your products by creating lists, carry out polls to see what your connections love the most and create a blog magazine for your business on the site.

kaboodle browser button

Install the browser button for easy addition of images.

Kaboodle is a powerful and aesthetically pleasing site that gives you plenty of opportunity to connect with your audience so you can learn more about their preferences.

#5: Talk to the Man on Gentlemint

Do you produce manly products? Then Gentlemint is the place for you. From cars to food and pop culture, there are plenty of opportunities here to reach your audience.

Like Kaboodle, Gentlemint is presented much like Pinterest in that it tiles images on the front page and is very visual.

gentlemint front page

The Gentlemint home page.

From fashion-forward items to tongue-in-cheek products, if you target the ‘gentleman audience,’ then you need to join, get those manly products uploaded and get involved.

gentlemint deals

Manly deals on Gentlemint.

#6: Showcase Your Creative Works on Behance

Behance features creatives in everything from web design and advertising to music and food.

The site features a serious amount of talent from a range of industry sectors and, as it’s dedicated to creative people, it’s bursting with original posts and jaw-dropping artistic designs.

Behance is a perfect place for you to build a following by featuring your work, or to network with other creative types for inspiration and collaboration.

behance network

Behance, the creative community.

If you’re in the creative industry, you must give Behance a go.

#7: Serve It Up on Allrecipes

All things relating to food and drink belong on this fabulous site, which is lovely looking, so if you’re a caterer, nutritionist or personal chef, Allrecipes will put you in front of your target audience.

allrecipes network

Pro membership on Allrecipes.

You can make shopping lists, plan a menu, answer questions and post recipes. There is a mobile version of the site and a YouTube channel, so your followers will be able to access your advice in numerous ways.

It’s simple to create recipes and menus and there are plenty of options. You can also get your recipes approved by the ‘kitchen staff’ so it’s high-profile on the site. Allrecipes allows you to add nutritional information and provides more useful tools.

allrecipes recipe box

Allrecipes—My Recipe Box.

As an added bonus, Allrecipes allows you to create your own URL, which is ideal for strengthening your brand.

Final Thoughts

Use these examples to inspire you to find like-minded people who fit well with your business audience.

The major social networks are great for reaching broad markets, but there are thousands of niche social networks out there that cater to groups with more focused interests.

Do some research, then join one that’s highly relevant to your target audience to begin networking. Build visibility on the right platform to help you raise brand awareness, build your reputation and create a loyal following with people who share your interests and values.

What do you think? Do you use niche social networks in your marketing? Where have you had success? Share your comments and suggestions in the Comment Box below.

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About the Author, Kerry Butters

Kerry Butters is a technology author based in the UK. She is passionate about all things digital marketing and gadgets. Kerry heads up markITwrite digital content writing agency. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.matthewbarby.com/ Matthew Barby

    Nice post, Kerry. I think the importance of niche communities is often overlooked. More often than not, smaller, niche-specific communities offer a much greater online reach of your target market. Combine this with a relevant message and your content is going to be amplified big-time.

  • http://www.SelfEmployedKing.com/ Mike Kawula

    Great tips Kerry!

    Is there a quick way to find niche social networks like in Google to find Forum, I type Forum: (niche) or Blog: (Niche) Any shortcuts for this?

  • http://codingbrains.com/ Codingbrains

    One Quick tip for Finding Most related Community :- If you are providing any services then select hand picked social communities where you can find your future leads along with niche advantage.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thanks Matthew, it’s a competitive world out there when it comes to content isn’t it, so I think that any opportunity to amplify your content should be maximized upon. Plus, niche sites give you a perfect opportunity to build quality relationships with your audience.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Off the top of my head Mike? Not 100% sure, but I will certainly give it further investigation and get back to you :)

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Interesting … can you clarify? When you say communities are you talking just social networks or communities such as forums and suchlike too?

  • http://www.SelfEmployedKing.com/ Mike Kawula

    Thanks Kerry :)

  • Amanda Shaw

    I had not thought of this before…and still thinking how I might be able to find something for my audience. But this is really great! Thanks for the article.

  • Holly Crews

    Love All Recipes. Just used it this week to plan out Thanksgiving dinner!
    Will have to check out the Library Thing. Great article. Thanks!

  • http://www.blogpaws.com Tom Collins

    Our niche social network (community.BlogPaws.com – for pet blogging and social media) is hosted on the Ning platform. Ning claims to host over 2 million communities and their “Spotlight” blog posts show a wide array of niches around topics and demographics, such as military veterans, sustainability, and education innovators.

    http://cultivate.ning.com/ning-blog/community+spotlight

    You might be able to include “Ning” in your search terms and hone into your target niche communities that way.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Kerry,

    Thanks for the information.

    I’m on Behance for my freelance business, but I haven’t utilized it to it’s full potential because I’m other social networks, e.g., Twitter and Pinterest.

    I’ll check out LibraryThing for my personal development and other books. I never heard of this one.

  • Richard O’flynn

    Really useful information. Great post.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    All Recipes also inspired me, on a more personal, amateur cook level. Thank you!

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Always glad to be of use to a fellow author, sometimes it’s hard to find the time to use all of these networks isn’t it? I think it’s worth really thinking hard about who your target audience is and prioritizing as necessary.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thanks Richard :)

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    With 2014 just around the corner, I definitely think social outreach is going to become more private and personal toward a particular niche. That being said, thanks for sharing these resources! They’re ideal for several smaller markets.

    I wonder how many more niche platforms will arise in the next coming year!

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Well James, that’s a very good question isn’t it? Probably thousands, but which will succeed and why? Interesting times across the whole of technology and the net for me and you, no doubt.

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great direction, Kerry! It’s definitely not the conventional strategy for most marketers, but absolutely makes sense! These smaller, niche channels likely have more passionate and dedicated fans on the subject matter, thus more engagement and the potential to build bigger brand advocates too!

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thanks Sarah. I think there are a lot of great tools out there for social strategies too, but at the same time, social … the word says it all really doesn’t it?

  • Wendy DeVries

    I completely agree, Kerry. Far too often, companies/entrepreneurs immediately thrust all their marketing energy into the social media “mainstays” — ignoring the power of smaller, niche communities. Great post and valuable information!

  • Kelly

    Great article Kerry. Would you mind telling me how you guys embed the “Pin It” function on all your images?

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    I totally agree with you Kerry, niche networking sites are a great way to find and
    connect with like-minded people, and also a great opportunity to find
    out more about your target audience! Great list!

  • http://felixrelationshipmarketing.com/ Juan Felix

    Hi Kelly – the Pin It button -that shows up when you hover over the image- is generated with a WordPress Plugin. Here’s the link to this plugin http://wordpress.org/plugins/jquery-pin-it-button-for-images/

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thanks Tom, will check it out.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thanks Wendy, things change so quickly too that I think the savvy marketer is the one that tries to look at what’s coming up and respond accordingly.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Hi Kelly, do you mean SME or me personally? You can use Pinterest buttons as plugins on your posts and that’s probably the easiest way. For other sites, there is of course the Pin It button that you can add to your browser (look here: http://about.pinterest.com/goodies/#browser), there’s also installable widgets for your site; but going about embedding into invididual images? Depends really on time and a slight knowledge of embedding code, as far as I know. The Pinterest for Business help pages will be able to guide you through any embed features that may be available.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thank you!

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Am in a different Social media world by reading this. Thank you so much Kerry for introducing so many new social media communities that really helps several marketers…

  • Mercedes Finkelstein

    Thanks Kerry. There is new info on sites I am familiar with as well as info

    on sites I have never heard of. Reading this also reinforces the truth that

    nich and small are not synonymous.

  • http://www.agencyplatform.com/ Dave Thompson

    Great Post, Kerry! With all of the popular social network being flooded with people with various interests, it really becomes difficult to target the right kind of audience. Also, the popular networks are all full of spammers too who are actually a waste of investment and time if targeted. Somehow the Niche Social Networks can help businesses reach the perfect audience they need, it’s totally worth the try.

  • http://www.9stucks.com/ Susan McHugh

    For B2B, the opportunities in LinkedIn groups is great, but does take experimenting with and culling groups to see which ones are worth your time. If a group you want to interact with doesn’t exist, just create one. Then invite appropriate connections to join. Managing a group does take work and some decisions in terms of whether to make it public or private. Google Communities is another way I suppose, although we haven’t created one yet (only a personal family community).
    Thanks for the info! It’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the good info on SME – still listening to webinars from the recent online conference.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    My pleasure, thank you for reading :)

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Niche just addresses a particular market in my mind, as you say, that doesn’t necessarily mean a small one.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Spammers … you would think that the message would get through eventually wouldn’t you. Thanks Dave

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    LinkedIn Groups are powerful IMO, but they do have to be well managed and targeted well. Not the easiest thing to get right but highly visible in search when they take off.

  • http://www.hisocial.com/ Hisocial

    Great article Kerry. I think that some people tend to stick to the “main” social networks and they are usually not even aware of the niche social networks and how they can use those for additional promotion of the business.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thanks – these days I think it’s important to try to look past the top social sites and for small business owners, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start even with them. The idea that they can communicate effectively through niche channels is a good one for any business that wants to grow and it’s up to those working in social and digital marketing to make them aware of this. I think it’s great that the internet has allowed for sharing ideas when it comes to having some web visibility.

  • http://slworrell.com Sherree W.

    Great tips here. I never thought about niche communities, but it makes so much sense. Thank you for widening my horizons (so to speak).

  • http://steadystrength.com/ Adam Pegg

    Great advice. I have to go check out Wiser

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thank you :)

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thanks Adam – I think it’s in the interests of modern businesses to look carefully at the sustainability issues and reducing their carbon footprint. Consumers are certainly becoming more aware of environmental issues and can choose which businesses to buy from on this basis.

  • Anuj

    Thanx Kerry, really enjoyed reading the post and will surely check out a few of the communities listed here.

    Am in the business of promoting a very mass appeal product where we try not being overly exclusive. However, as FB and other larger SM sites change the rules of the game and as the youth starts looking elsewhere for less public platform of expression, niche sounds like the way to go.

    Companies need to understand better how SM engagement means anything to the real uptake of their product. It’s a matter of creative analytical interpretation.

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    I think many struggle with one main word I can pick out there and thats ‘engagement’. I’m a firm believer that social has shifted the power firmly from the advertiser into the hands of the consumer. It’s a shame not all companies do but that’s why we’re all here to learn right?

  • http://markitwrite.com/ Kerry Butters

    Thanks Juan :)

  • Tash Developments

    Completely spot on (as ever) – Targeting the “non-sexy” markets has helped provide us with more than a little bread & butter work over the years. I’d say it’s an absolute essential for people to place marketing activities on the correct social board.
    Great Post Kerry!

  • Pingback: Social Media: Niche Is In | Caster Communications

  • http://onehv.com Todd A. Weiler

    I believe that niche social networks are the future for connecting. Anywhere you can imagine people around a single subject, a geographic community or even a large dispersed family can benefit from these. We have had great success in launching a niche social network for Military and Veterans that participate in adaptive sports as part of their recovery. FootStomp.com has been a great success example of the power of niche social networks.









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