The Social Media landscape is becoming hyper fragmented. Platforms are no longer overarching ways of staying connected; instead platforms are being created to satisfy a specific niche. While Facebook is still the Social Media giant with 1.15 billion active users per month, people are engaging with these smaller social sites to learn more about their community, hobbies and interests. When it comes to these smaller, more specific networks, brands can certainly benefit, but a much different engagement strategy will be required.
Happier, the latest in niche network start-ups, is a place to go to celebrate the little things in life that can bring a smile to a user’s face. So far, co-founder Nataly Kogan has said Happier claims 1 million little moments of happiness have been shared with more than 100,000 users.
Niche network, Urban Compass, explores the concept of getting to know your neighborhood. Whether a user is interested in learning more about where they live now or is looking to move to a new area, this hyperlocal niche network provides the details. From restaurants to gyms, to parks and nightlife, Urban Compass is a place to go hyperlocal.
Meanwhile, Forkly, which can be described as an Instagram for the foodie, is a place to “share your favorites and discover new ones.” The mobile app allows users to rate restaurants, add a filters and share photos of favorite dishes and connect with other foodies in local areas as well as nationally. Users can also “want” a dish that is shared, which is a cross between a Facebook “Like” and a Twitter “Favorite,” allowing the user to save a dish and restaurant for future food decisions.
The fragmentation of social networks does not undermine the all-encompassing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; instead it provides another outlet sharing the things people love with like-minded individuals.
Not all platforms are made for all brands and navigating the waters of niche networks to determine which is the right platform to engage the audience may seem difficult. While Forkly and Urban Compass may be good for a brand such as Momo Milk Bar in New York, this does not mean brands with similar food culture will have the same success.
As Digitally savvy folks, it is our job to help guide brands in the right direction and advise on platforms best suited to find and interact with their desired audience. As these networks continue to grow and proliferate, the way brands utilize social media to communicate and engage with consumers and customers will evolve. While the idea of adding more networks to your social media portfolio may seem daunting, niche platforms can provide more laser focused data on your target consumers and since they are here to stay, its time for brands to fold them onto their digital strategy.