5 Rules for Marketing in Niche Social Networks August 31, 2009

Written by: Digitally Approved
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This is a really good article that appeared in iMedia Connection today. Journalist, Blaise Nutter, checked in with Fanscape’s CEO, Larry Weintraub, to find out whether we’d be seeing niche social networks sooner than later.

Rule 1

Keep your mind open to interesting communities

When approaching niche social networks, it’s good to keep an open mind — a very, very open mind. More than likely, you have only a vague idea of all of the places your target audience might be. So if users are going beyond big social networks, where are they heading?

Odds are, if you can dream it, there’s an online network of people out there who are into it. Doug Schumacher, founder and creative director at Basement Inc., can attest to this. His firm was tasked with developing the marketing around a new installment of the popular Resident Evil movie franchise — a project with ties to audiences with a variety of interests, including pop culture, video games, horror movies, and CGI, among others. But the weirdest special-interest target audience? Zombie aficionados. And as it turns out, the web is teeming with zombie-centric social networks.

In Basement’s online conversation analysis, the firm found that people were already talking about zombies and “Resident Evil” on these networks — and they were doing so passionately. Thus, these networks represented an ideal niche audience to target with “Resident Evil” marketing efforts.

Zombie social networks might sound pretty niche. But the point is, somewhere out there, people are talking about your brand — and you’d better find them.

Larry Weintraub, CEO of Fanscape, says that in the future, we’re going to see even more fragmentation when it comes to social networks. “You’re going to see niche social networks, and then you’re going to see niche-niche social networks,” he says.

As an example, Weintraub proposes a scenario in which the plumbers of the world, sick to death with the lack of plumber-related features on Facebook, start their very own social network, PlumberSpace. And within that niche social network, niche-niche social networks appear, such as Southern California PlumberSpace. Although this world of niche-niche social networks is largely theoretical at this point — or at least in its infancy — Weintraub believes it will offer great opportunities for marketers. Whether you’re Home Depot or a plunger manufacturer, finding an audience as specialized as SoCal plumbers is a marketer’s dream — a highly targeted audience that will likely be particularly responsive to your marketing messages.

Click HERE to read the full article.