Chances are good that you have friends and acquaintances from all walks of life. Maybe some of them are really into video games, while others obsess over football. And your triathlon buddies definitely don’t mix well with your foodie friends. That’s not to say that there’s no crossover, but for the most part, those groups of people are distinct.
When you look at a big, mega social networking site like Facebook, most people’s friend lists look a lot like the cross-section described above. And that’s by design – Facebook, like early 20th century America, wants the world’s poor, its tired, its huddled masses (technically, they’d probably prefer people with money, but that’s off-topic).
As a business, though, this can be frustrating. It’s likely that you’re aiming for a specific demographic, and you may be wasting time and money sending your message to people who don’t fit it. So how does your business interact with only people who share a specific interest? Try a nicheworking site.
What Nicheworking’s All About
What are nicheworking sites? The idea is that instead of essentially spamming 500 Facebook profiles about a specific subject that only 10 of them are interested in, nicheworking sites focus on bringing together people with that specific interest so that they can interact with other like-minded individuals.
For example, most professional sports teams have forums that fans can join to read and write posts while interacting with other fans. Facebook even has a version of this – Facebook Groups – that many users employ to keep certain conversations and information separate from their main body of friends.
So if you’re a 20-something school teacher who likes to frequent late-night clubs with your friends but also have students and parents who have Friended you, it’s possible to keep posts, pictures, and videos from your clubbing adventures away from those people. These are just two of many examples.
How Can Businesses Benefit from Nicheworking?
Since social nicheworking sites group people by their interest, it’s very easy to target potential customers and advertise directly to the individuals who are more likely to be interested in what you’re offering.
Consumers like this because they’re not being bombarded by marketers trying to sell them things about which they have zero interest. Businesses like it because there’s a much higher chance of conversion since you’re armed with more information about your audience. Basically, the return on investment tends to be much better than in traditional marketing. Additionally, businesses can join social nicheworking sites and follow conversations to see how they might better sell themselves to consumers in terms of marketing, products, and services.
Examples of Nicheworking Sites
Care2. This site caters to people interested in green living, making healthy lifestyle choices, and engaging in social causes. Members are able to create, view, and sign petitions; learn about and join causes; and read information related to health – articles on eating, family, beauty, spiritualism, nature, love, sex, and even crafting. And, of course, there’s a community aspect where people can join groups, share photos, meet others, and take polls. If your business offers any natural or organic products or services, these are the people you want to target. Wiser.org is a similar site with a more specific focus on worldwide sustainability.
Foodspotting. Members of Foodspotting never have to worry about having a bad meal whe
n they head out. Why not? Because the point of the site is for people to share their best food experiences – hopefully with an accompanying photo – by reviewing not just the restaurants they eat at, but also the specific item they order. You can map out foods by location, type of cuisine, cost, most positive reviews, and even choose based on what your friends have liked best. Restaurants take note.
Dogster. Do you like dogs? Really, really like dogs? Dogster members are true dog lovers, the kind of people who are more interested in posting pictures of their adorable pup online than their trip to Tahiti or even their kids. Join and you can read articles, view and post photos and videos, and contribute to their busy forums, where many people have embraced the idea of posting and interacting as if they were their dog. Naturally, anyone with dog-related products or services should be wagging their tails in excitement over this site.
Catster. Look at the Dogster description above. Every time it says “dog” replace it with “cat” and you get the idea here.
tvtag (formerly GetGlue). Sort of like Twitter for TV lovers, members use tvtag to interact with other people about their favorite TV shows as the episode is airing in real time. They can check in to the show they’re watching, add Likes and reviews, live blog their experience, and follow the feeds of friends to create a truly communal experience. Entertainment companies have already jumped on the bandwagon by offering discounts, and other companies are starting to see the value as well – apparently 15% of all people talking about Pepsi on Twitter during this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show originated at tvtag. Flixster has a similar audience but acts more directly as a service to sell entertainment to users.
CafeMom. “The meeting place for moms.” Doesn’t that tagline pretty much tell you all that you need to know? Only moms are allowed to sign up for this site, and members post advice, play games, share stories, and just generally try to connect with other moms. Advertising products for kids and babies seems like a no-brainer, but companies that can find a way to target the needs of the moms themselves may find a lot of success.
Goodreads. People who frequent Goodreads – no surprise – are book lovers. Members can discuss the books they’re reading with others, post reviews, see what others have liked, and in general just talk about all things book-related. Writers, publishers, and booksellers have already discovered the power of Goodreads, but it can be useful for a number of other businesses as well as long as they approach it in the right way.
Houzz. Users of Houzz can connect with others about their decorating, remodeling, or building project, get ideas by looking at photos that other users have submitted, read articles from experts, and get in touch with professionals. As you might imagine, this site is a godsend for anyone in the homebuilding or interior design industry. If you are able to write an article for Houzz, you’ll instantly give yourself credibility and greatly expand your audience. And even if you can’t do that, it’s possible to have your business listed on Houzz so that users can contact you when they need to have that kind of work done.