Businesses are taking to social media in droves. Almost every company has a Facebook and Twitter account now, as well as a Google+, LinkedIn, even Pinterest. While it’s good that companies are working hard to engage with their audience, it can mean that your business gets lost in the noise.
To help with that, I’ve put together a list of alternative social media sites for you to explore. They’re not as expansive as the sites I’ve mentioned, but they all have their advantages, and could make the difference to your business when it comes to increasing visibility.
Social Media Management
Slideshare – Creating compelling content is one of the best ways to get noticed online. Slideshare expands the possibilities of how you put your content out there. Slideshare enables you to post slideshows that you have either made especially for the internet, or that went down a bomb when pitching a client, so you naturally want to share with everyone else.
Slideshare presentations are now more widely used than white papers as a content marketing tool, as they are easy to consume and therefore engage the reader more effectively.
Coschedule – another social media management tool, this one can be implemented directly into WordPress. It’s got a simple click and drag functionality and also allows you to ‘link’ tweets to an account so if you move a blog post, any tweets linked to it are moved as well. (Preventing that awkward moment when you tweet an article that isn’t published yet).
Foursquare – Not exactly a niche social media service, Foursquare is nevertheless ideal if your business is one that people visit regularly. Shops, restaurants, cinemas and bars all benefit from a Foursquare presence, and you may find that you already have one as a result of your regulars ‘checking’ in. This makes it all the easier for you to join in and start reaping the benefits.
Manta – A social directory for businesses, largely focused in the USA at the moment, Manta is expanding into the UK right now and offers users a directory of small businesses. Targeting those shoppers who want to support their local stores and avoid large chains, Manta accounts are free to create if you’re an SME and could potentially draw in a loyal audience who are determined to see small businesses grow.
Biznik – Marketed as a network for independent businesses/workers, Biznik is on a crusade to connect independent workers to one another, and in doing so strengthen the ties between independent businesses. Its aim is not only to connect you to like-minded business people, but to also create a network that offers support, referrals and resources to those who need it.
Biznik makes it very clear that it’s not a Facebook or LinkedIn clone. It’s focused on building relationships within your sector, placing long-term growth ahead of a short-term increase in visibility.
EFactor – Pitching itself as ‘the entrepreneurs wingman’ website, EFactor is focused on connecting entrepreneurs to experts, mentors and investors. A nice feature of EFactor is it lets you sign in with LinkedIn, so you can bring your already established network to EFactor and then expand from there.
The website itself hosts E-talks, blogs, and lists upcoming events that may be of interest to you. On top of this, it also offers you the chance to connect with mentors, partners and co-founders. If you’re a start-up business, or branching out into a new area, EFactor could be invaluable to you.
Line Messenger – Whatsapp biggest competitor in the web-messenger market. Line’s biggest distinction from Whatsapp is that it lets you send messages from the computer as well as from your phone. Obviously messenger services like these are not ideal for business communications, but for internal messaging and communication they can be invaluable for keeping costs down. You could also use Skype, or Google Hangouts; both offer excellent text and video communication free of charge to other users, as well as employing a much less cutesy style.
Harnu – This is an interesting wildcard that some businesses may find incredibly useful, designed to bring people from all over the world together in conversation. If you’re concerned that you don’t know enough about a topic, or would like to explore the potential for a business enterprise in a new part of the world, Harnu gives you a platform through which you can speak to people in that area. Charities in particular may find Harnu to be of great use to them, as it allows the canvassing of a much larger area than might otherwise be possible.
Spiceworks – Whilst a lot of the sites I’ve mentioned so far are focused on putting your business name out there, there is also something to be said for a social network that quietly helps you improve.
Spiceworks is a free website for IT professionals to get advice and learn about new technologies and software directly from the creators. It’s got a pretty impressive user base, with the website claiming five million IT pros use it to stay on top of a constantly changing business.
It’s also got an impressive collection on vendors on board as well. Representatives from Microsoft, IBM and HP engage with IT buyers every day alongside their other duties. If you’re an IT manager or small business owner looking to expand into a new area and are unsure how to move forward, Spiceworks could help you to make the move confidently, with much less hassle.
Canva – Graphic design for the artistically challenged. Canva makes it possible for anyone to make an attractive graphic for the front page of their website, or any social media page for that matter. With a simple ‘search and drag’ functionality, and a huge catalogue of images, it’s likely you’ll be able to create a visual to suit your business.
Visual identity and colour psychology is often overlooked by businesses when they’re getting started, but it can make a huge difference to how memorable a company is. From what I’ve seen of the website, the style of graphic does lean towards the pastel, so it may not suit businesses which want to portray a more serious face. But there’s a lot to love about this site, especially for businesses operating on a tight budget that want a stronger visual identity.
Twibfy – Perhaps the most ridiculously named platform on the list. Twibvy is nevertheless creating some buzz in design circles. Created especially for designers, Twibfy is designed to build a decent portfolio that’s easily shared and organised.
The site functions in many ways like Vimeo, creating a front page with ‘staff picks’ and recent favourites for you to peruse. This means that popular work floats to the surface, and also gives you as a designer a better idea of what people are interested in at the moment, allowing you to respond to that demand.
It’s difficult to maintain a presence in such a competitive online arena and even more so when using just the most popular social media sites. Look for sites that have been developed specifically for your business niche to really get the most out of social and stay one step ahead of the competition.