The Niche List – Specialized Social Media Sites
CrowdGather.com – Perhaps one of the most interesting yet overlooked assets in the social sphere, CrowdGather.com has roughly 16 million unique visitors and 220 million page views each month. Unlike mega social sites like Facebook, Crowdgather tends to focus on forums rather than short snippets creating a “conversation” that acts more like long-term “evergreen” content than typical social contributions. CrowdGather also boasts one additional item of interest; the ability to buy or sell entire forums complete with traffic.
- Pros: A niche site of potential interest to small business concerns that focus on complex topics, hobbies or other areas of specific interest. Highly interactive forums built with advertising in mind, long term interaction and ability to buy or sell active forums.
- Cons: Smaller size and distinct forums will only work well for an established community.
- Most Likely to Benefit: Small business concerns that cater to hobby trends, professional affiliations, already have an active community or big ticket sales where quality trumps quantity.
IMGuest.com – Travel is moving beyond merely a method of transportation and into the realm of experience as social networks help like minded people meet up both near and far. By tapping into the social circles of travelers, new experiences and opportunities arise. Other travel related social sites include KLM.com, Planely and Satisfly.
- Pros: Great way to meet others you will be traveling with, others that share similar areas of interest and even engage in group discounts.
- Cons: Make sure it’s a good fit which offers users something truly new and unique. These are still in the very early stages with mixed results.
- Most Likely to Benefit: Good venue for small business owners seeking a unique way to reach travelers; theme parks, restaurants, hotels and other travel related enterprises might be interested in trying out a niche social media site in addition to Facebook and Twitter campaigns.
Care2.com – Quickly making a name for itself in the not-for-profit arena, this social network is out to make a difference one cause at a time. Integrated software that allows users to log-in with existing Facebook accounts and quick fill-forms are just two of the reasons behind rapid adoption rates. Currently boasting just under 20 million users, Care2 should be a serious consideration among charitable organizations.
- Pros – Ease of use, high adoption rates and viral component courtesy of tight integration with other social media sites including Facebook.
- Cons – Active campaigns receive the most attention with far fewer users taking time to visit the sponsoring site.
- Most Likely to Benefit – A strong contender among any organization that caters to a cause; animal welfare, social rights, environmental concerns or a plethora of other topics.
CafeMom – Imagine a site where millions of mom’s converge on a daily basis to swap news, tips and information….if your small business caters to kids, expecting mothers or general parenting, this site is a veritable gold-mind of instant access!
- Pros – Lots and lots of parenting related resources, active community, consistent access.
- Cons – This highly targeted group requires sophisticated sponsored advertising for best results. Social media campaigns tend to be cross platform, use a variety of message styles and are outside the domain of the typical DIY approach.
- Most Likely to Benefit – Small to medium sized business concerns that work closely with a social media management firm to generate sophisticated social media campaigns.
Fashion.me – Perhaps the smallest of this week’s highlighted sites, Fashion.me is also the newest. With just over 1 million users, this fashion related social network has already attracted the attention of some heavy hitters including Intel Capital. Expected to rapidly become THE destination for all things fashion, Fashion.me combines the look and feel of Pinterest with the built in benefit of ecommerce and social sharing features built from the ground up.
- Pros – Fashion is a big but very complex industry. Fashion.me seems to have an inherent understanding of premium features, big bold photographs, built-in links for shopping and much more.
- Cons – Not for the novice! This premium fashion site needs to be used in collaboration with other robust features and in fact, was built with this in mind!
- Who Will Benefit – Fashion.me is positioning itself as an emerging leader in the highly competitive fashion market making this a prime opportunity for those wishing to gain an early advantage but be prepared for growing pains. Fashion.me is still in its infancy especially here in the United States (official arrival in the USA was June of 2012!) although with big name backers, Fashion.me is poised for growth. Fashion.me founders have been named one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” for 2012 and is actively making a statement as the premier fashion vertical with integrated access to fashionistas, bloggers, designers, publishers and of course…clients.