As marketers, we are always looking to reach the largest amount of our target demographic with the lowest amount of money that we are given to ensure better return on investment for both our clients and our business. With all the specialty ad networks and campaign customization available in the various PPC networks, we feel quite comfortable in knowing that we are reaching our target demographic the best we can. However, what if I told you there are other ways to create awareness of your product and open up communication channels with your target audience? Below are 3 online marketing alternatives that you should take a look at participating in, if you are not already doing so.
Forums on the internet were one of the first forms of social media; they are so old in fact that they were around before the term “social media” was even coined. Whether you are working with an automotive company or a restaurant, chances are there is a niche forum where dedicated communities of customers are talking about their product or services. Utilizing these forums as areas where you can build brand relationships and loyalties with customers is something that has taken a back seat to the popular social media sites of today, but should not be overlooked. While forums may be the grandparent of the social networks today, it is important for companies to still engage and watch product related threads and discussions in order to ensure that their target market is being reached and heard.
Reddit is a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of either a link or a text (“self”) post. Other users then vote the submission “up” or “down”, which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site’s pages and front page. Reddit receives over a billion monthly pageviews, and while they do offer banner ads on their website to advertisers, the true marketing opportunities are available in the niche pages of the website, called a subreddit.
A subreddit can be viewed as a niche forum, as explained earlier. It is essentially an area within the site where users can share pictures, news stories and more about a certain subject, place or interest that they all share. These subreddits are a great place for companies’ social media and marketing teams to interact, engage and share information with dedicated customers and users of their product. A good example of someone properly using Reddit to engage its target demographic is the subreddit for the TV show “Top Gear”. With over 54,500 users active within the subreddit, Top Gear encourages its users, or “petrol heads” to share their favorite car pictures, episodes of the TV show and so forth. To help encourage engagement, a car of the week is selected by the users and the winning picture and its user are highlighted within the page. This type of engagement helps to create a sense of community within the users while also helping to create brand advocates for the show.
We all know that businesses looking to interact with their audiences should be on the big social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but what about the other social networks such as LinkedIn, YouTube and Vine? Companies that can effectively create niche pages and fan pages on these sites can help to deliver a multimedia experience to its target demographic through a variety of videos, articles and more. It would be wise for a company to become an early adopter of newer social networks and see what ways they can use the sites to benefit their customer relationships and marketing tactics.
The above examples are just a few of the alternative ways a company could market and communicate with their customers. While these may not work for every company, it is important to at least take a look, test, and consider using these forms of niche forums and social networks to help you communicate, learn and share with your target demographic. These outlets can provide a wealth of knowledge to a company about their target demographics thoughts, concerns and opinions, and to avoid that could mean a costly mistake in the form of a PR problem or more.