Most social media users tend to focus on the largest, most popular sites, like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc. If you are using social media to market your own content, these sites are appealing because of the huge traffic potential that they present. These sites have far more users than smaller, niche social media sites, and they seem to get all of the attention.
Although niche sites may not be able to offer the same traffic potential (in terms of numbers) as the major players, they should not be ignored by marketers. The smaller number of users means that it will be easier for you to achieve success and popularity with your submissions. While sites like Digg may be hit or miss, you may be able to get more consistent traffic with niche sites. Of equal importance is the fact that niche sites will produce visitors that are more likely to fit within your target market, and more likely to return to your site.
Here are some tips for promoting your content with niche social media sites:
1. Use a few different sites if possible.
The traffic for one site may not be that significant, but if you can use several effectively it may add up to something more substantial. Additionally, the traffic from one niche site may carry over to another niche site as they are likely to share users.
2. Don’t be afraid to submit your own work.
Some social media users are hesitant to submit their own content, as some audiences, especially Digg, frown on such practices. With niche sites you’re much less likely to cause negative opinions by submitting your own content, and if you don’t do it, chances are no one else will (depending on your existing audience). Your pages are probably more likely to be submitted to major social media sites since they have more users than niche sites.
3. Look for relationships with other social media sites.
As I mentioned in point #1, some social media sites will share a high percentage of users. If you can identify and target these situations it is possible to achieve success with both sites by transferring traffic from one to the other. For example, DZone is a niche site for developers. A high percentage of DZone users also use del.icio.us to keep track of their bookmarks. Almost every day a popular page on DZone will become popular on del.icio.us as a result of the DZone traffic and resulting bookmarks. Knowing this information, you could target DZone and use it as a backdoor to the del.icio.us front page.
4. Get involved and know the users.
Social media is of course social. The more you are involved, the more you will understand about the site’s users and what they like. You’ll also learn more about how the site works and what it takes to create content that will be popular. If all you are doing is submitting your own content and not taking the time to interact and vote for others, you’re unlikely to get much out of it.
5. Don’t judge the traffic by numbers alone.
If you are comparing the traffic that you receive from a niche social media site to the traffic that you get from a popular story on Digg, no doubt you’ll see that a niche site’s traffic potential is not as high in terms of numbers of visitors. Don’t forget that the quality of traffic is even more important than the quantity of traffic. Try not to dismiss a niche site as being worthless because it can’t send thousands of visitors. Use the site for a while and pay attention to the type of traffic that it sends before evaluating its effectiveness.
6. Try to get in early.
Any time you can build a strong profile on a social media site while it is still growing you will benefit in the future. If you see a new niche site that looks like it has potential to grow, start using it now, don’t wait until it becomes popular.
7. Promote the content of others in your niche.
Part of being a successful social media user is helping others to find useful content, regardless of what site that content is from. Promoting the content of others is one of the most effective things you can do to start building a network in your niche.