The Niche Audience of Social Media: Does it Exist?

 In Social Media

<alt="Social Media Icons"/>When it comes to target marketing, the name of the game is alienation. This is not the mean kind of alienation, nor is it always a velvet rope approach.

Target marketing is tribal. In other words, the customer base shares values, problems, hopes, dreams—all of that stuff.

It’s important to whittle down the audience to a customer avatar who would benefit wholly from a product or service.

And as far as Internet Marketing is concerned, your strategies must be very focused.

If you reach out to everybody, you get nobody. Small businesses can’t take the route of fast-food advertising wherein the marketing is so expansive that the target market is “hungry people.”

When we find our audience, we’ve got to be precise about what constitutes the marketplace. Plain and simple, this is niche marketing.

But what about social media platforms? Where does niche marketing fit in to that scenario?

Everything has gone social these days. Watch a video, and you can share your thoughts via Facebook. See a cool article? Better tweet that sucker. Someone just had lunch—MAN, that sandwich calls for some filtered photography!

As time has passed, and social media consumes the average person’s life more and more, the target market has evolved.

Facebook used to be for college students who wanted to stalk that cute girl from Biology 101. But now, there’s been a massive drop off in younger users. That’s because Mom and Dad are now connecting with old college pals, playing Farmville, and generally making Facebook an unhip place.

The young folks proclaimed, “Dude, this place is totally whack now. Let’s get out of here.” And off they went.

And yet, Facebook has only grown, despite the evolution of the audience.

Mark Zuckerberg brings in oodles of cash in advertising revenue. In fact, Facebook has changed our language. You wouldn’t have heard someone say “he friended me last week” back in 2000.

So, the Facebook market is no longer niche. It’s umbrella marketing. But will the greatest time-suck of our lives go to the graveyard the way MySpace and Digg did?

Unlike MySpace, Facebook is not user-controlled, so it will probably be around for quite some time. Facebook can make changes people hate, and users will flock faithfully back. If anything, it’s continued existence is not unlike the tobacco industry. People are disengaged, but they’re also addicted.

The questions at hand: do users build social media? Or does social media attract users? (It’s yet another chicken-and-egg scenario.) Moreover, what can you take away from it all? Here’s my take on two of the major players…

 Reddit

Since this one is the last frontier of social media anonymity, we’d be remiss to say that the audience is not at least somewhat niche.

Divided by topic, the eclectic discussion forums are made more visible through a user voting system. The top posts are generally not so much newsworthy as they are unique and shareable, so you could say that the Reddit audience is…

ü  Captivated by uncommon occurrences.

ü  Interested in an individual’s story.

ü  Prone toward the joy of conversation.

ü  Values the wit of content, as opposed to what’s “hot” and trending.

Your takeaway: for your audience, think about what captivates them with regard to their personalities, not so much their needs.

 Twitter

Much like Facebook, Twitter has evolved. Designed to answer the question “what are you doing,” it’s transformed into a forum for business owners, celebrities, and gossip. But much like Reddit, the crux of Twitter is conversation. (At least, that’s the intention.)

It seems to me that users of the Twittersphere are…

ü  Drawn toward trending topics, not necessarily wit or novelty.

ü  Attracted to succinctness as opposed to depth.

ü  Compelled toward frequent updates.

ü  Captivated by big, well-known names and experts.

Your takeaway: uniqueness is one thing; relevance is another. Keep on topic in your content, and your audience will follow—that is, as long as your subject matter is helpful to their specific needs.

 What’s best for the community of your business?

Should your business community be niche?

If you’re a small business owner, you bet your [hiney] it should.

And you can learn a lot from the audiences drawn by the different social media platforms.

Your community is not unlike that of social media—you’ve got a website, a blog, and a presence to think about. And in truth: if you involve your audience in your business, and you view them as true stakeholders, you can’t go wrong.

A penny for your thoughts: what social media platforms have you abandoned?

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