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When it comes to digital advertising and marketing, Facebook and Twitter are the obvious choices. That being said, there are other so-called “niche” platforms that are gaining thousands of users each and every day. Learning how to use these platforms to promote your business can provide great exposure and could possibly lead to a big surge of growth for your brand. Here are five of the most popular niche platforms and how to best use them to propel your business to success.

Instagram

Though Instagram has been around for quite a while now, using it to advertise and promote brands has just recently really started to take off. When Instagram first introduced paid advertising, it had to be done through the app and it would cost you quite a pretty penny. Now, thanks to its new Ads API, businesses of all sizes can advertise on the platform and they can do it by automatically scheduling campaigns very similar to how one would on Facebook or Twitter. Facebook’s ad-targeting tools are also available on Instagram.  If you would rather not pay for advertising and just use an Instagram account to promote your brand, there are still ways to attract consumers and have them interact with you. One of the best ways to do this is to hold an Instagram giveaway. Have users post pictures of themselves using your product. You can also give them a hashtag and have them post pictures relating to it. One of the most popular forms of giveaways is when the user is asked to tag a friend in the comments. Another way to garner attention is to have an influencer, someone who is popular and has a large Instagram following, take over your account for a period of time. This is a great way to get the attention of their followers as well as some new people.

Snapchat

Snapchat’s sponsored content is still very new, and therefore is still out of the price range of most businesses. Just like Instagram, however, there are still ways to advertise on Snapchat that will not cost you anything at all. Snapchat’s format of being able to post pictures and videos that disappear after a short amount of time allows businesses to be creative and fun with their posts without worrying so much about the quality of the images, since they disappear after a few seconds anyway. Snapchat also offers tons of cool features and filters (like a drawing tool) that allows for major creativity in posting. When it comes to what kind of pictures and videos to post, behind the scenes posts are a great idea. People love to get an inside look at brands that they buy and support. Give a trusted employee access to the account and have them take pictures of other employees and things having to do with the inner workings of your business. You can also hold promotions through Snapchat, like, for example, having followers take a screenshot of one of your snaps to receive a discount. Snapchat is a platform that allows a lot more creative freedom than it seems to at first glance.

Vine

If you’re a fan of using videos to promote your business, then Vine might be the perfect platform for you. Vine allows users to post short six-second video clips, which are then repeatedly played on a loop. Vine is owned by Twitter, which makes it easy to share your vines to both your company Facebook and Twitter pages. There are tons of ways to promote your business and connect with customers using Vine. Post videos showing off your products or services. Make short employee profiles and customer testimonials. Use Vine to announce special milestones, events or sales. You can even get really creative and make short little “mini-mercials” for your business. Vine is a great platform to help put a face (or faces) on your business.

Pinterest

If your target audience is women, then you may be harming yourself by not being on Pinterest. Pinterest allows users to “pin” and “repin” different pictures and articles to boards that they create. To be successful on Pinterest, you must first create boards that are relevant to your customers’ interests. Next you need to pin, and pin often. Pinterest is a very visually driven site, so make sure your pins look good and get creative with your boards. Make sure you categorize your boards well and use keywords for your pins that customers are searching for. Pinterest also offers a service called DIY Promoted Pins that allows customers to connect to users through promoted pins featured in the search and category feeds of the platform. This service works on a cost-per-click basis, which means it is affordable for businesses of all sizes. Pinterest is all about finding and sharing inspiration, so keep that in mind as you pin away.

Imgur

Although not quite as popular as the previous four platforms, Imgur has a very loyal and unique following that is all its own. Referred to by some as “the Pinterest for men”, Imgur (pronounced image-er) is an image sharing site full of memes, funny photos and geek culture. It was created to make images easier to share on Reddit in 2009, and has since seemed to outshine “the front page of the internet”. Just recently, many major brands have released what some would call “native ads” on Imgur. Imgur worked very closely with these companies to help them create ads that fit in with Imgur’s voice and humor. Despite Reddit and Imgur users being more critical and outspoken on most things, Imgur’s native ads have received a lot of praise for not losing the feel of what the site is all about. Imgur just announced that they will also start having sponsored content on their site. Although advertising on Imgur is still extremely expensive, there are some ways to reach their broad, unique audience. Imgur is a community, so talking and interacting is essential to building strong relationships with future customers. Probably one of the most important things to remember about Imgur is not to take yourself too seriously. It is all about fun. Make and post your own memes or funny pictures. Get involved in user conversations. Just be creative, have fun, and have a good understand of Imgur’s voice.

Not all of these platforms will be easy to use and build a following on. However, if you learn the platform, be creative and do things the right way, they have the potential to bring you and your business a lot of success.

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