For more than a decade, social media marketing has been a cornerstone of any advertising strategy. Businesses know they have to take advantage of platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to succeed. But the social media landscape is changing. There is even considerable evidence that Americans ages 12-34 are moving away from social media use, and it is even more likely that your potential customers are moving away from traditional social media platforms.
We’ve all heard it: Facebook is where the old fogies are. Twitter is crowded and judgmental. YouTube is aging rapidly, riddled with commercials, and preoccupied with turning itself into a television network. Feelings like these have paved the way for social stars like TikTok to rise.
More and more, individuals are looking for places where they can feel truly connected to other people rather than simply existing as one of a million followers. Lesser-known social media platforms—and even platforms you may not immediately associate with social media—are cultivating tribes of people around common interests. That is where your business could find its special niche.
Up-and-Coming Social Media Platforms
Several platforms are emerging as places where people seeking refuge from monoliths like Facebook are going. Several of these platforms have been around for quite a while, but many of them fly under the radar in terms of social media marketing potential. As more diverse audiences head to these locations, you will have the advantage if you start using these platforms now.
TikTok – TikTok is no longer new, but sometimes businesses fail to see how effective it is for building rapport with people interested in related topics. It’s a place to be more casual and poke fun at yourself through short, memorable videos. The site is not formally categorized, so your content is primarily delivered to users by algorithm, making the process of finding new audiences for your content amazingly accurate and streamlined. You have less control over who sees your content, but the algorithm is powerful. Just go with it.
Quora – Establish yourself as an expert in a particular subject by answering questions people post about different topics. Do not get too marketing-y here. Simply answer questions thoroughly and consistently to build a following who will recognize you as their go-to subject matter expert. You can also gain connections with other experts in your field as you use the platform together.
Twitch – Twitch is not just for gamers anymore. People are constantly adding new kinds of live feeds viewers can join in on—everything from craft-making to music to simply talking about topics of interest. You can do beauty tutorials, tour a newly developed software program, fix just about anything, or of course, play any game under the sun. If you are already into Facebook and Instagram live streams, Twitch is a platform worth checking out. It’s a place to be informal and have fun.
Discord – People cultivate true communities here through voice and text chats. Discord was originally designed for gamers and artists, but other types of subgroups are heading here all the time—particularly people associated with the beauty industry. You might be overwhelmed by the number of virtual servers available to join, but most are very welcoming. You may eventually want to start your own open or invite-only community. Again, you don’t want to come off as too promotional here, or you could be kicked out immediately. But you can get a good sense of what your audience is thinking, make real connections, join relevant chats, and start your own chats to showcase your expertise or commitment to your field.
Clubhouse – On Clubhouse, you can create your own clubs or join existing clubs organized around specific topics. You can host and attend audio events that often feel a bit like live podcasts. But instead of just listening to a podcast, Clubhouse facilitates ongoing conversations around the topics being discussed. Clubhouse helps subject matter experts and tastemakers foster community and build solid reputations. It is public but has a private, personal kind of vibe, largely because of the audio nature of the platform.
Think About Social Media Marketing Differently
To leverage new platforms to promote your business, you have to start thinking about social media marketing differently. In these new social environments, audiences are highly sensitive to typical marketing and advertising tricks. People can tell when they are served a sponsored ad. These social media platforms are less about direct marketing and more about cultivating a following.
The social media platforms listed above thrive on authenticity and encourage you to become part of the audience you want to reach. You need real expertise or real connections with your audience to succeed in the not-so-social-media social media sphere. Businesses who get to these niche social media platforms early will be the most likely to grow huge community followings, so now is the time to expand how you think about business or marketing growth.At Mad Hat Maven, we stay on the leading edge. We are experts at traditional social media marketing approaches, but we value what’s next, which is all about authenticity and community building. We know how to interact with your potential customers and grow your business through targeted online events and networking. Whether you need a few consulting sessions or a social media marketing strategy handled from planning to execution, you can call on us.