• http://uglytechandbusiness.wordpress.com Steve Spencer

    With all due respect, I don’t buy it. I have seen several article (and even business plans) that makes this claim… that people are leaving established social networks in droves to go to niche networks. But neither this article, nor any of those plans that I have reviewed have credible numbers of any kind to back up those claims.

    I would love to see something that shows that any niche social network is growing at the pace that Facebook is, even for the younger demographics that you refer to here. Heck, I’d love to see anything that shows that ALL of the niche social networks combined are growing that fast. (bear in mind that I you have to fair in tese numbers, and represent them as raw numbers rather than percentages, and to exclude networks that don’t actually steal user base from Facebook, but are just other networks, like foursquare, etc.)

    As for the claim that this younger, bleeding edge market stays bleeding edge, and abandons things once they become mainstream, I think this is belied by the fact that the youth have not abandoned SMS as it has become more mainstream. Quite the contrary, their usage of it has grown. This younger demographic is willing to be bleeding edge to find the best solution, regardless of market trends. But it doesn’t appear to mean that they abandon a mainstream technology simply for being mainstream if it is still the best solution.

    I’m not saying that I know for certain that none of your claims are true. what I am saying is that there appear to be strong indicators to the contrary, and this appears to be a claim that many have made with little data to back it up.

  • http://www.SarahCarling.com Sarah Carling

    Niche social networks are hardly new though, forums and closed groups have been around much longer than twitter & facebook, heck even the AOL chatrooms were a form of social media based on user interest. This seems to be nothing more than a shift in the perspective of marketers (and more savvy online marketers have known this all along) that the easiest way to tap into a market is through a related market, not through trying to target everyone through a generic medium.

  • http://www.blueglass.com Jordan Kasteler

    @Steve – It seems you have a desire to see quantitative metrics in high volume. You’re not going to find that. What you are going to find is more engaged and action-driven visitors from targeting niche social.

    Should niche or bread be chosen one over the other? No. Is one better? Depends on the campaign and goals but 9 times out of 10 they should likely be used in combination with one another.

    As to compare anything to Facebook, good luck. But let’s turn the clock back a few years, for awhile MySpace had phenomenal growth and a lot of marketers saw large potential there for particular campaigns. Anything can come crashing down at any given time even Google or Facebook. All it takes is a community uprising from something liked leaked privacy, data, etc to overturn everything.

    Bottom line, it’s not safe to put your eggs in any basket.

    @Sarah – Yes, that same principle could be applied to anything in social media marketing. Essentially, social media marketing is offline marketing in newer mediums in a lot of regards. Demographic targeting is always an offline marketing focal point. When available, psychographic targeting is even more ideal for any marketer. So when given the opportunity, yes, at any medium a marketer should opt for that.

    To the point of the post, many Internet marketers often bypass the smaller communities for the bigger fish (e.g. Facebook/Twitter). So while not a new concept at all, not a new channel or medium, still a new option for many Internet marketers that never looked closely before.

  • http://nut-a-tut.blogspot.com nuttynupur

    Wish our brains could automatically update with every Facebook version. Sigh. Will we have to grow younger, a la Benjamin Button?

  • http://www.changeagents.in Neeraj.Raje

    Steve makes a very valid point. However, looking at the noise in your current and popular social media sites, one can assume that there is a need for such niche platforms where you don’t speak to your friends, relatives or colleagues but with like-minded people around a specific topic.

    I however feel that this can happen currently only through isolated groups on the popular networks with easy privacy controls since most people would not like to create more identities. Hope you are right Jordan.