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Are all social networks niche?

June 29, 2010

Facebook has 450 million people in it. I’m connected to a little over 300 of them, and I’ve reached my tipping point, somewhere double where Robin Dunbar expected me to reside.

This blog post the future of niche social networking inspired me to think about niche social networks.

I think brands want Niche Social Networks, because when you break down that complicated sounding phrase, you could just call it a room with your best customers.

And that room wouldn’t be very big for most brands. It would be for coke. It won’t be for Johnny’s Pizza.

Johnny’s Pizza wants to invite their best customers into a room.

So do all brands.

So forget numbers. Unless the numbers are 80-20 — that old stand by about how 80% of business comes from 20% of the customers. Instead of massive numbers like 450 million, think about how many people make up the 20% of customers.

And invite them in. A Facebook page will not market to all 450 million people. It will market to the people in your niche. So will a Ning social network, the macdaddy of the niche social networks. So will a LinkedIn group.

That said, your website can be the social place for your network. And if it happens, you’ll not only ‘own’ the data, you’ll be able to market more effectively to your fans.

Think niche. Or better yet, think about your best customers, and focus on that niche.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2010 5:29 pm

    Hi, Doug. Just found your site from your comment on Spin Sucks. I think you’re onto something when you talk about owning the data.

    If you depend on Facebook, Twitter or even Ning to house information about your fans or customers, what happens if those platforms go away? There is far more value in creating community around a forum that you actually own — for you and for your audience.

    They can enjoy exclusive content and and the high-quality conversation that a community like that would allow for, and you get the undivided attention of a dedicated fan base.

  2. July 1, 2010 12:40 pm

    I would agree, we just have to pay attention to customers and cater to those who we want to spend their money with us.


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