If you take a step backwards and distill the social news over the past few months, you may arrive at few trends and overall takeaways from the way social media platforms have evolved, how people use them and how marketers are finding success with different strategies. One overarching theme prevails: Things are getting more personal in the sense that things are becoming more tailored to your interests.
Put your hand in the air if you signed up for Instagram, Spotify, GoodReads, Path or Pinterest accounts this year (note: I do not care if you are in a cube or on a plane). Now, keep them up if you have connected any of these platforms to your Facebook Timeline or have shared content you have created on these profiles to Twitter or to a specific Google Circle. I can bet there are still quite a few (proverbial) hands raised at this point. It is now a good time to put your hand down and keep reading if you are ready to embark on new opportunities to grow your brand’s social reach through the mediums where you already participate.
An important caveat: I am about to lay down the following three phrases very heavily in the upcoming content to follow: niche social media profiles, parent profiles, and social signals. Google+, Facebook, and Twitter are the central point for sharing brand updates because they inherently have the ability to post all mediums of content (photos, video, etc.) through one platform. Also, they are public platforms (unlike Path) where social sharing on a web-wide scale can take place. Thus, I have deemed them “parent profiles” for the sake of clarity.
“Niche social profiles” refer to platforms that offer sharing capabilities to parent profiles and are focused on one medium to display content (ex: Pinterest and Instagram). Forms of engagement such as likes, shares and comments are “social signals” because they are little signs to Google that your content has some authority. Social signals are increasingly becoming more and more of a determining factor for how the webpages you are promote through social media are ranked in the Google SERPS. I have created an image (pictured) to convey how these specific terms work together visually.
So, why do niche social media profiles matter and what does it mean to Community Managers? Let’s break it down from basic to complex.
1. More opportunity for social signals and sharing across the web
At the most basic level, maintaining niche social profiles is an another opportunity to provide links back to your website and to have these links shared by others. The more social signals that are emitted from your efforts, the better the return.
An example: An online jewelry storeowner posts a retail photo with a product page link and a description of an original pair of her earrings on Pinterest. Each time it is shared, it is a social endorsement that serves as a social signal in favor of the authority of the link. More endorsements make room for more likes, re-pins, followers and even buyers, creating even more social signals.
Take this concept and apply it to GoodReads, Foodily and Instagram. Authentically participating and sharing in these streams casts a wider net for a targeted audience and allows others to consume and share your content.
2. An opportunity to repurpose existing content on your domain properties
Speaking of your content, if you have blog and social media properties, there is an opportunity to repurpose your existing content to spread it’s reach, drive traffic to your blog or website, and make even more use of your targeted keyphrases.
Example 2: If you manage the blog content and social media efforts for a local coffee shop and you have written an article on how your shop brews the perfect cup, you can visually display these steps in Pinterest and link back to the article. You can also post the ingredients on Foodily and link to your blog article in the “Preparation” section.
Voila! You have found a way to break-up and reuse content you invested your time to create. It is important when repurposing your content that you keep the key phrases you are ranking for in your original content consistent with your post messaging. The text you use when you describe a link back to your site also contributes to how your social signal is read by Google.
3. Leads to follower and growth opportunities can transfer to Google+, Facebook and Twitter, improving their reach
In his newest book, Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything, Chris Brogan states “One way to think about sharing is to consider yourself as a magazine publisher.” Think of your parent pages as your brand’s magazine and niche social profile content as your featured articles. If you think of content that you share as if you are publishing a digital magazine, you can easily see how maintaining niche social profiles can help you better share focused content that is relevant your followers.
Cross-promoting your niche social media efforts to parent social sites can transfer a niche follower relationship on Pinterest or Spotify to your parent pages. Your strategy should be to drive niche social profile followers to subscribe to your whole digital “magazine” on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Inversely, sharing niche activities to a targeted audience, like a specific Google+ Circle or an active hashtag, can convert your existing parent profile followers to sharing your niche social media content, leading to further growth of your total social efforts.
There is a whole world of apps and niche social profiles that can enrich your digital “magazine.” There is no harm in testing a few of these platforms to see if they stick for your community and provide a greater social reach. Are there niche social profiles that you love that work for your social community? I’d love to discuss in the comments or on Google+!