How many social networking sites can you name? Facebook and Twitter are obvious, and Instagram and Snapchat are usually the 3rd and 4th on the list. Maybe if you’re Internet savvy you know about Tumblr, but is that it? Despite these social media sites being the most popular around, they’re hardly the only ones out there.
You may recognize Pinterest if it’s brought up in conversation, but have you ever heard of Ello? Google+? Maybe you use Vine or Periscope, but you barely think of them as social networks. Then there are sites like Medium that barely grace your radar.
But here’s the bigger question: you know social media works for boosting various aspects of your business, but is it worth it to utilize fringe social media sites in addition to the social networking heavy hitters?
Take a quick look at this Buffer App blog post from 2015 and that was updated less than a year ago. Notice how the title references Snapchat as a fringe social network? Seems a little strange doesn’t it, especially knowing that Snapchat has gotten to be as big as it is in the last year or so.
This perfectly illustrates a problem business owners face with social media – it shifts at a breakneck speed. Perhaps an even better illustration of a social networking rags to riches story is MySpace; or, in this case, a riches to rags story. MySpace was once the epitome of social networking before Facebook came along. It essentially forced the infamous Tom, cofounder of MySpace and friend to all users, to sell the social platform for $580 million dollars.
The deal definitely worked in Tom’s favor – how many of you have heard of anyone on MySpace in the past five or so years?
Social networking sites come and go, and it’s likely that Facebook and Twitter won’t be around forever. While they’re here, though, they’re the best vehicles for non B2B businesses that want to cash in on the benefits of social media. Maybe next week a new fringe site will appear and replace one – or both – within a year. It’s hard to truly know.
A Question of Time and Results
Because the social networking landscape is so unpredictable, a business owner’s best bet is to simply take one thing into consideration: time. There are already a myriad of reasons to consider time as a factor when managing social output, from unnecessarily shifting focus away from other major business areas to becoming too dependent on social media for lead generation.
In terms of fringe social media sites, consider the idea that you simply don’t have time to add more to your plate, especially if the sites in question aren’t giving you as much as you’re giving them.
For instance, consider Ello – it’s a very aesthetically minimal social media site with posting features akin to a Facebook/Twitter hybrid. While the site has over 1 million total users, you rarely hear millennials or peers gossiping over coffee about what they saw on Ello last night. The reason Ello got big so quickly, gaining lots of press and millennial attention in early 2014, is because it was invite-only. You had to have an email access code in order to get your friends to sign on.
Now the network is essentially dead. It has a very slow growth rate despite Ello staff continuously working to improve the site and attract new blood. It’s attractive for tech savvy early adopters who like to keep things organized and private, and that doesn’t actually work for businesses. In short, devoting time to Ello advertising will get most businesses nowhere fast.
The Bottom Line
What’s the most important vehicle for determining a social network’s marketing worth? Analytics. When you see that you get tens of thousands of traffic pings from Facebook and Twitter, it seems obvious where your marketing attention should be going.
Try establishing your business on one fringe social media site just for giggles and see what your analytics say about the traffic you pull from your activities. Save yourself the disappointment and stick to social best practices that work. If you find that the fringe site DOES get you a lot of traffic? Roll with it and share with us the secrets of your social success.