A marketer looking at growth trends around Facebook and Twitter might come to the conclusion that there is no point in executing social campaigns in other arenas. After all, these two platforms offer sophisticated tools, reach the most people, and for the overall cost, are table stakes for many brands in the social space. The problem is, every other marketer is reaching a similar conclusion, and suddenly the landscape has become very crowded. While there is no question that these two platforms offer excellent opportunities, marketers would be well served to not restrict themselves before performing a little due diligence and indulging in a little creative thinking. With a little up-front and some non-linear thinking, marketers can find fantastic alternatives for the brand to engage with consumers in the social space. This article will explore how to get started in researching other opportunities, and then share case studies and examples of successful campaigns outside of the most common two platforms.
Strategic research provides valuable insight
The first step is to know where users are, and where the brand wants to go. Understand what is driving the investment in social, and create tangible goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to guide research. It's too easy to say, "We want 1 million "likes." But in the long run, social is not a digital popularity contest. Seek instead to engage users who are interested in the product or service being offered, and find those who can help amplify the brand's message. Identify more sophisticated goals that fit in with the larger sales and marketing strategy. This research can help larger brands engage a specific locale or persona type, and provide smaller brands with targeted niche markets. For example, a global brand might seek to engage with a specific nationality or audience within that country. Check against a site like socialbakers to see if it's even worthwhile to explore a platform like Facebook.
Some countries, such as China, have other networks that are significantly more popular. If the business's strategic goal is to engage users in urban China, then a platform such as RenRen would be a much more logical choice. If the audience seeks a rural audience, it would make more sense to explore options with a site such as Qzone.