Frequently, when it comes to social media, we as marketers think only of the Big 3—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (you could probably count Google+ as a half-sibling, but I’ll get to that). Obviously various additional platforms other than the Big 3 have been in the public eye for a growing period of time (or longer), and, what’s more, have a charming and occasionally niche personality all their own. So here is a social media profile, if you will, of other platforms that want to come and play and can be used to drive engaged traffic to your website.
Defining characteristic: Plays well with others socially; also part of the instablogging movement
Tumblr is a mini-blogging, customizable platform easy to set up and very attractive in either simple or more complex form. Brands concerned with spreading news especially focused on visuals can receive good exposure here, if cultivated well, because of the reblogging feature where followers can pick up the post and reblog it to their own blogs. Fashion brands particularly have embraced this instablogging-style, but any business with strong visuals can also build a social network and distribute images that link back to their webpages just as successfully.
Defining characteristic: Photo instablog with style
Also considered one of the ruling platforms for visual images and photos, Instagram offers stylized filters for your photographs or images. Using these filters can give images you tweet or share a branded feel quickly depending on the filter you use. (Also, while the genius of Instagram is that you can follow and share with other major brands and influencers, other apps offer filters like Instagram that you can use for a branded-image look.)
Defining characteristic: Geo-location check-ins with an emphasis on rewarding frequent users
A great choice for local businesses, Foursquare can attract attention whether you use it to offer deals to your consumers or encourage check-ins by team members that are then automatically shared on their Twitter or Facebook feeds. Foursquare also offers a way to connect with other local check-in enthusiasts and let them know when your company sends representatives and checks in at conferences, trade shows or other industry events stoking your credibility.
Defining characteristic: Collage and dissemination of visuals; also an instablogging method
This platform is so similar to Tumblr and Instagram, but so different. Businesses can use Pinterest to post collage-board pictures of products, design processes, inspirational visuals, and more. Then, with the cultivation of a social network surrounding your page, you can generate frequent interaction and repins, rather like reblogs, by users. In addition you can search out bloggers or complimentary businesses to partner with in future promotions or like minded ventures.
Defining characteristic: Attracts polymaths and influencers; offers an opportunity to establish your knowledgeability in a particular field
Do you need to be an all-knowing polymath interested and knowledgeable about everything to use this site? No; however, participating allows you to not just learn things you didn’t know before, but also offer the knowledge you do have about topics related to your business. Who is to say you won’t run into like-minded users and excellent resources, especially if you are in the business of consulting or research.
Defining characteristic: Excellent visibility and linking capabilities for visuals
Flickr allows you to upload pictures and illustrations to a first-rate platform for adding descriptions, geo-tagging, and organizing. Plus you can interface with third party apps and bring your visuals onto your business webpage, Facebook page, and others, all from one centralized source.
Defining characteristic: Offers weight in the Google search engine world and a way to find and follow influencers
Many day-to-day users question the validity of Google+ for their business; however, creating links that rest in the shade of Google search on a Google platform is not a bad strategy, and, especially in light of the recent creation of brand pages for Google+, allows users to cultivate brand awareness among circles they might not have considered before. Google+ is not made up of purely friends (as is Facebook) or business contacts (LinkedIn) or news hounds (Twitter), but rather a group of colleagues interested in thought-leadership and technology.
Defining characteristic: Friends (close friends) with Google and an older half-sibling to the Big 3
Besides the obvious use of YouTube, posting videos to market your business or clients’ businesses, YouTube also ranks high in search engine page results and online visibility. It is essentially the 3.5 of the Big 3 because of the popularity of video, especially user-generated video. Even if you don’t make videos for your business, consider running a promotion where users submit their own centered around your product or service and feature them on your YouTube channel.
These networks all have broad appeal alongside their interesting personal characteristics. Each can offer platforms on which to generate traffic for your website and further engage users and fans. Best-case scenarios don’t suggest using all of them in your marketing outreach—the platform and its use should meet your overarching marketing strategy; however, if the platform fits, invite it into your network of marketing friends and discover a new means driving traffic to your website.