Facebook Alternatives for Brands: A Win for the Niche Marketer

Facebook Alternatives for Brands: A Win for the Niche Marketer

April 4, 2014by hiebing2021

“Our audience craves a sense of community”— those words often echoed through the halls of marketing departments when brands on Facebook were still considered first movers. At a time when social ROI was nonexistent, it was the best most often heard reasoning for brands to be on social media.

Where is that “sense of community?”

On mainstream social networks, that sense of community no longer exists. In fact, Facebook is positioning itself away from social in favor of greater reach, with sights set on “social” news consumption.

Relevancy vs. Reach

When an old high school friend posts photos of her newborn and all of the clothes that she hand-makes for her child, your first instinct may be to “hide” the post and complain to your friends about all the baby pictures.

Let’s turn the tables a bit. This new mom just might have an amazing talent and passion for knitting clothes for newborns. Is Facebook really the medium to display this? What if there were a better place to reach those with a specific interest and passion for knitting?

There is.

Regardless of her Facebook presence, this mom may be the #1 evangelist and most engaged community member for newborn knitting on Ravelry.com. What smaller niche communities lack in reach, they make up for in relevancy—simply quality over quantity.

Marketers Should be Looking for Both

Large social channels are evolving, but are unlikely to go away. Brands seeking to use the social megaphone to amplify their message across a larger horizontal market will find great success in mainstream. Those seeking to create a closer social connection to their passionate target will find far more success in niche communities. Most brands should be looking for both. And for that reason, niche is not a substitute for mainstream social—instead, it is the less-explored supplement.

The social landscape is changing. It always has been and always will be. Along with the growth of new mainstream social media channels, each smaller niche community is prospering with its own passionate user base. Many brands are bursting at the seams with content and a point of view—now is the time for marketers to start making an impression with tools that bring brand closer to advocate.

Here are just a few of the thousands of niche social networks waiting to connect brand to advocate:

Niche Social Communities - Ravelry

Ravelry.com – A place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information. Members can create a profile, show off their designs, comment and rate others, and even sell their patterns. 6.8 million visits per month.


Niche Social Communities - Quora

Quora.com – A question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, voted on and organized by the community. 13.3 million visits per month.


Niche Social Communities - Untappd

Untappd.com – Beer connoisseurs can create a profile, check into bars and breweries, tag what they’ve tried and start a beer wish list. They can also search top-rated beers by other enthusiasts and follow friends. 1.2 million visits per month.


Niche Social Communities - Catster

Care2.com – A social community for those with a mindset in healthy living, a green lifestyle or cause advocacy. Members can create a profile, get updates based on their interests and join groups with like-minded users. 6.4 million visits per month.


Niche Social Communities - Catster

Dogster.com and Catster.com – For mankind’s best friends and felines. Members create a profile for their pets, add friends and join groups to share and ask questions about their pets. Dogster and Catster each see 1.1 million visitors per month.


Niche Social Communities - Catster -

Cafemom.com – New moms and seasoned moms alike can create a profile, join in groups and ask or answer questions. Conversations range from tips on raising children to general hobbies and interests. 18.1 million visitors per month.

What other niche communities catch your attention? Tell us in the comments.

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