Facebook and Twitter rule social networks. LinkedIn is definitely in the game too, and Google+ is certainly a contender. These are all general networks, though, and while they can bring you tons of traffic, don’t overlook what niche networks can do for you. Sometimes, with just a fraction of the effort, you can get just as much traffic.
When you blog in a specific niche, like parenting or food, your most loyal readers are going to be niche superfans. Superfans, as I’m using the term, means people who live, eat, breathe the topic. They’re mom of the year, they’re obsessed with food, they’re the biggest fan of whatever your niche may be.
Superfans are always on the lookout for what’s hot and new. They use general social networks, but they also use niche networks to satisfy their need for information. By joining niche networks, you can more easily connect with these superfans. And once they know you exist? They’re extremely likely to become subscribers, even before they know if they like you as a blogger, simply because they want to read anything written about the topic. It’s up to you and your good content to keep them subscribed, but they’ve taken care of the hard part themselves.
Niche networks are also great for connecting with other bloggers in your field. You aren’t alone out there, and that’s a good thing. When you connect with other bloggers, you can start linking out to each other’s posts, promoting one another on more general social networks, guest posting for one another, and more.
It’s also a good way to get on the radars of a-listers in your niche. These are smaller networks where it is easier to get a response when attempting to contact an a-lister, or even just to get noticed by helping to promote what they post.
Some Niche Network Tips
Lastly, I wanted to go over a few tips for using niche networks. Keep in mind that this includes niche-specific bookmarking sites, niche-specific forums, and official fansites in some cases (like if you blog about a television show). Here’s how to make the best use of your time:
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. No matter what your niche, there are a lot of networks out there. Pick a few and be very active, not a dozen that you only visit once a week.
- Use the same avatar across all networks. You want your fans from other places to be able to find you.
- Stick to niche-specific stuff. If you’re on a football site, talk about your football blog, not other projects. On niche sites, you have to stay in the niche or people will start ignoring you.
- Do more than just promote. Help people. If all you do is promote your own stuff, you’ll just come off as a spammer. In other words, treat a niche-specific network the same way you’d treat Facebook or Twitter. Don’t be a jerk.
For those of you out there who blog within a specific niche, I’m interested in your experiences with niche networks. I’ve found unexpected success with these sites – have you?