4 social marketing ideas (that aren’t Instagram)

Originally posted by Moo, over here.

It’s always nice to have more of a good thing. Here are some lesser-known social strategies that are excellent for promoting your small business.

1. Get old-school on forums

Before Facebook, before Google even, the social internet was made up of forums. Messageboards dedicated to interests, places or demographics, filled up with conversational topics and threads. Today’s best-known example is probably Mumsnet, a place to find answers and stories about parenting.

As a business using forums, it’s essential to make sure you’re coming across as a genuine business person with a human voice, rather than a promotional account. You also need to be strategic in developing your presence. One option is to target your market, identifying one or two forums that match closely with your brand and products. Another approach is to work across many forums, zeroing in on topics that are relevant to you using a tool like Boardreader, a specialized forum search engine.

2. Find your niche on Reddit

Reddit is infamously resistant to advertising and marketing, but even the biggest brands like Amazon have managed to melt the hearts of the site’s cynical and web-savvy users. In partnership with Nissan, Amazon asked Redditors to name the craziest thing they could purchase on Amazon.com, and then sent one lucky person a new car in a giant Amazon box

If you have no cars to give away, no worries. Being a small business could work in your favour on Reddit, making you more human and authentic than a multinational corporation. The site has a culture of asking and answering questions, which is a fantastic way to make connections using your business knowledge and skills. Especially true if you have a practical skill like crafts or cooking. If someone’s looking for advice or experiences about your trade, jump in and provide it, while raising awareness of your brand at the same time.

3. Be beautiful on Behance

Calling all designers – you should have this place on your radar. Behance is an Adobe-owned network of sites geared to self-promotion for visual artists and designers. Its big advantage is that it really gives you space to spread out, with portfolio sites and individual project galleries that can be effortlessly scrolled through and commented on by visitors. It’s also an amazing source of inspiration from other artists.

4. Work your beat on blogs and video channels

Like forums, blogs are a venerable online format that pre-date most social media. The comments beneath posts and videos are a great place to get your name known and broaden the reach of your business. Many bloggers and YouTubers have been around long enough to have huge reach, as the current trend for influencer marketing proves.

As with forum and Reddit contributions, the golden rule is to be authentic and bring something genuinely relevant to the conversation, rather than emphasizing promotional messages. Show, don’t tell, why you’re worth checking out in your own right. By regularly contributing thoughtful, relevant comments, you can make yourself known to blog owners as well as their audiences. There are 10 more tips on commenting as a marketing strategy in this piece from SEOmoz.

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