Social media. We know all about the big networks. Ask anyone to name a social network, and you’ll most likely hear them say, “Facebook” or perhaps, “Twitter.” And if you press them further you might get them to mention YouTube, Google +, or Foursquare, and maybe even LinkedIn.
These are the networks that just about everyone knows, and many of us use. If you’re using social media as a part of your online small business or nonprofit presence, those are also the networks you are most likely using to promote your organization. Depending on your goals, and of course your audience, these are the networks that make up your online presence. When I work with clients, these are often the first ones we talk about using, for a variety of reasons.
But there are a lot of other networks that are smaller and lesser known that also can be really useful for certain businesses, and add another dimension to your online presence. Here are five that I happen to like, and think have great possibilities.
We’ve all heard of Pinterest and Instagram, but Behance is another image based network of which many aren’t aware. The main focus of Behance is that it is a social network for those in the visually creative fields. It’s a great place for artists, graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, and more. More than 60 different categories, as varied as fashion, culinary arts, automotive design, and cartooning. This is where you create an online portfolio of your work, that is then easily integrated into other networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as your own website. It’s a great place to show off your work, as well as find visually creative employees or freelancers. Check out the profiles of my friends Jena Miller (Graphic Design), Matt Lester (Commercial Photography), Carol Cool (Writer), and Jason Heisey (Graphic/Web Design), then spend some time exploring the site.
Soundcloud is perhaps the hottest platform for those creating and sharing audio, whether it be music or spoken word. I have friends who are musicians who post their work on Soundcloud, both as works in progress and final productions. Many podcasters and radio programs use this platform as one of the places where they store and archive their programs, such as my friend Kat Krieger who produces the Brand Fast-Trackers podcast. Also check out the work of my friend Bill Speakman and his band, Second Sky, as well as musician Deni Gauthier.
If pork is the other white meat, Vimeo is the other video uploading and sharing service. YouTube, owned by Google is…huge. But that’s not the only consideration. I think the best way to compare the two is that if YouTube is Top 40 radio, Vimeo is more like your local public radio station. In short, EVERYONE is on YouTube. Vimeo seems to attract a more professional, sophisticated, and artsy crowd. You’ll want to compare the features of both, and might even consider using both for greater reach, but definitely consider Vimeo if you are doing any sort of video creation and content marketing. Check out this channel from my friend Danny Brown, as well as one from my client, LCBC.
In the marketing world, Slideshare is very important. Anyone who makes any sort of presentations at conferences will often use Slideshare as a way of distributing their presentation afterwards so that it is easily accessible and shareable. And it’s not just confined to speaking presentations. Sales presentations, webinar graphics, or any sort of presentation you want to make available to customers and clients can easily be stored and shared via this platform, which integrates well with LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Think of it as an online version of Powerpoint that can be shared. It’s a great way of showing off what you know. Check out these Slideshare examples from my friends Shonali Burke, Marijean Jaggers, and the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
My current favorite music listening and discovery service is Spotify. While musicians are a bit torn over the service, it’s great for making playlists of any type, as well as discovering new music. Using the embeddable Spotify widget, businesses and organizations can create their own playlists to share online. Even if your business isn’t music related, certain types of music might mesh well with your business sensibility. Some businesses play music on premises, and a Spotify playlist online might be a nice addition. Perhaps let your employees or customers create their own playlists. I’ve considered sharing some of my playlists on my website and Facebook, and will probably do so once I launch the redesign of my site. Locally, the Launch Music Conference used the Spotify widget to embed a playlist of participating bands and artists on its website, giving people a flavor of what the festival would be like.
In addition to being of value for creation, storage, and sharing of content, these platforms are also great for discovery and idea generation. Spend some time in each of them nosing around and you’re bound to find things that spark ideas for you.
How have you used any of these networks, and which other smaller networks are you using for your small business or nonprofit?
- LinkedIn Unveils Tagging and Company Admin Comments (v3im.com)
- The future of business: Six layers of customer engagement (businessesgrow.com)
- When To Shut Up And Let Video Do The Talking (v3im.com)
- 20 Tools to Grow Your Business, Efficiency and Productivity (waxingunlyrical.com)
- 10 Ways Slideshare Can Benefit Your Social Media Strategy (business2community.com)