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Stop swimming in shark-infested social
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Last week, I presented at the Baltimore Business Journal’s first social media marketing series. I was tasked with reviewing the various social media channels, and which audiences aligned best with them.

After edits and cutting 4 slides, the presentation landed at 20 slides. (Seriously, do you know exactly how many social media channels are out there?)

I first discussed the old “tried and trues” of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter), followed by the highly visual newish-comers (Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest), and then I moved into my favorite category…the below-the-radar-high-value platforms. (I really need to work on a shorter term for those.)

The Social Media Channels You’re Not Thinking Of

Now, I probably spent the most time on this last category because I find them to be the most lucrative if you practice intentional actions and consistency.

Some of these channels don’t immediately come to mind because you’re not categorizing them as “traditional” social media. However, when you examine them, they fit all the qualifications of a social media platform, and often times have a HIGHLY engaged, untapped user base.

Let’s review 3 channels that you can start to see serious returns from. The best part? I guarantee you that your competitors aren’t using them.

1.    Quora

Quora defines itself as “a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers.”

Essentially, it is a Q&A-based social media platform. I love it because a lot of professionals don’t spend time using it as a lead-source but a lot of lost and confused consumers and business owners are on there actively looking for YOUR expertise. Set up a profile, type in the keywords that relate to your industry, and start using it to build credibility and rapport with potential clients.

While I was giving the speech, an audience member wisely asked, “Hey, I can’t spend a ton of time wading through questions that may not even be in my geographic area. How can I make it work?”

Great Q, and here is my A. Use Google Alerts. Set up a Google Alert using the format “Quora+ (relevant keyword to your industry + geographic area). So, for example I may set up a google alert for “Quora and branding and Baltimore.”

2.    Podcasts

I LOVE podcasts. Here’s why—you get uninterrupted attention spans. Think about it. In other social media feeds, you are fighting for your prospects’ attention. You have to battle your competitors, algorithms designed to keep business posts down, and the noise of your prospects’ network (their friends and family). With podcasts, you don’t have to worry about that.

Most people listen to them while in transit so they are spending one-on-one uninterrupted driving or transit time with Y-O-U.

Now, do you don’t have to create your own podcast. In fact, it’s better if you are a guest on one that already has momentum. That way you are edified, it takes little of your time, and you get to benefit from an established audience.

The secret? Don’t wait for podcast owners to reach out to you. Email them—they’re far more receptive than you think.

3.    Medium

I actually cut Medium from my presentation last week, so here’s a little bonus for those of you who attended, and a new platform for those of you who did not.

Medium is a blogging platform. The best part? It does all the work for you. It will link you up to your connections on the platform AND it lets you import previous blog posts.

You do not need original content. So if you’re already blogging, go ahead and move them all over to your Medium profile, kick back, and enjoy the benefit of extended reach. Double bonus: publishers are on this platform looking for new, fresh talent.

When it comes to social media, your options are endless, and new ones are released every day. To prevent overwhelm, find a channel where your ideal customer base engages, and become an expert at it.

Surpass your competition by examining the platforms they aren’t paying attention to and your customers are (like the ones mentioned above) and watch your business explode.

Want to watch my weekly marketing show where this conversation first took place? Tune in here:

Questions about alternative platforms? Are you using them? How have the worked for your business? Comment below.

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