I like to think of social media as â€œThe Big Three.â€ There are a lot of social networking sites available, but most businesses and individuals focus on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These platforms have the most users and the most participation, so this led me to wonder: Are all those other networking sites worth the trouble? I discovered that many people are confused about how to properly use some of these less popular websites, and therefore many just don’t bother. However, I also discovered that those companies who do use these smaller websites are reaping all of the benefits. Yes, there are many benefits.
Although these social networks may not be part of the popular crowd, they have established a great, smaller group of loyal followers. I equate this to my years in high schoolâ€”the popular kids looked like they had it all because they had so many friends, but those smaller, tight knit group of English lovers were much more successful in the end.
Consider using these three lesser-known social networks to help build your brand.
Digg â€” Great for Keeping Up With Social Media News
Users of Digg submit web pages or articles that they find interesting or important by simply entering the URL. They then write a short description of the article/webpage, select a category (so it’s pretty organized), and wait for others to either â€œdiggâ€ or â€œburyâ€ the article/webpage you submitted. If it gets â€œduggâ€ a lot, or is liked by many, it gets put into a popular articles category. You can add friends to your network and comment on submissions to help create connections. This site will help you network with those in your niche, drive traffic to your website if your submission gets posted on the main page, and help you stay up to date on the latest social news.
StumbleUpon â€” Much Like Recommendation Engine
The idea of this website is to get you finding articles and webpages based on recommendations of users. You can submit content and then people vote on whether or not it is useful. You also have the luxury of voting on other people’s submissions. This social network is great because there is a massive user base (over 8 million users); therefore the information voted on is usually quality information. StumbleUpon users are very loyal to the site, so you will be able to connect easily with people who share similar interests. If you ever need something interesting to read, StumbleUpon is the place to go. It also works great for businesses because if your site can get recommended on StumbleUpon, you could very well have just capture a large, loyal audience.
Quora â€” Get All Your Questions Answered
This is one of my personal favorite social networking sites. This site allows you to gain followers and follow users, but you can also follow questions and/or topics. If you have a question you’d like answered, type it into Quora. Chances are you will get a lot of reader responses. Each reader has a profile so you can decide whether or not the answer is valid based on the experience of the person answering. In general, however, people only answer questions they have an answer for out of courtesy. This is great for businesses because it allows them to share their expert knowledge. If consumers see that your company is continually answering all of these great questions, you will instantly gain credibility amongst whoever is following that question.
It is important to remember that no company should join a social network if they do not think they can manage the account. If you’re in over your head with â€œthe big three,â€ don’t feel obligated to join the StumbleUpon or Digg community. These networks are here when you’re ready.
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to VoIP phone systems. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including pos systems to small businesses and entrepreneurs for Resource Nation.