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When we think about the best social media platforms for marketers, huge websites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter come to mind first. Because they're significant gathering places for users, advertisers typically focus their efforts on these powerhouses, to connect with potential customers.
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However, the reality is that those household names are oversaturated with marketers competing for users' attention. And, the problem is that even as companies squabble over views on Facebook and Google, they may be missing out on the many up-and-coming platforms that house millions of potential customers.
Those up-and-comers may not be as popular in terms of overall ad spend as Adwords or Facebook Ads, but they provide great opportunities for organizations to connect with users in a slightly less competitive space.
Here are some of the best of those overlooked, customer-rich platforms out there today.
With more than 250 million users, it's pretty surprising that Reddit isn't getting more love from marketing managers. This content-focused social platform is entirely dictated by user activity — separated into content-specific communities called "subreddits." There, users can post content and "upvote" or "downvote" other posts to make them appear higher or lower on the page.
This format is ripe for effective branding, as the platform allows businesses to put up sponsored posts that turn up in different subreddits. The posts look similar to native content, making users more likely to interact with them and your brand.
Quora is an easy-to-navigate, question-and-answer social media platform. Users can post questions about a wide range of topics, as well as provide answers to posted questions, making this a great way for organizations to interact with industry influencers and boost those organizations' image.
Any marketer can use this platform to gain a reputation as an industry expert by posting and answering relevant questions, as well as connecting with other people in the niche who can help spread the word about this person's company.
Even better, Quora has 190 million monthly users — and it's growing.
Yes, we all know about Snapchat, but how many of us are actually spending time learning how to advertise on it?
If your company is trying to attract younger audiences, you should be studying Snapchat more than any other platform. Reason: Some 71 percent of its users are under 34 years old. This platform allows users and companies alike to post photos and videos that disappear after a predetermined amount of time. The trendiness of the platform means that you can connect with a large user base and guarantee these users' attention for at least a few seconds — more than you can say for social media giants like Facebook.
Related: Why Google is Looking to Scoop Up Twitch
Twitch isn't just for hard-core gamers anymore; with over 100 million monthly viewers, this platform has transformed into a hub of video streaming and tutorials. Users can set up their own "channels" and stream live video of fans playing video games, offering tutorials and even eating – which means that companies have a great way to connect with users and give them behind-the-scenes peeks to build rapport.
As image-based social media platforms have grown more popular, Pinterest is emerging as the new frontier for marketers to connect with a pretty large audience (the platform hosts 150 million monthly users). Users are able to "re-pin," or share, image-based and link content, which makes it easy for viral content to spread quickly.
As a result, advertisers can attract customers with aesthetically pleasing photos of their products or services organized into content-specific "boards," and watch their posts spread like wildfire.
Although Tumblr isn't necessarily the social media powerhouse it once was, it still hosts 358.9 million blogs — and that makes the platform one marketers shouldn't dismiss. Tumblr allows individual users and organizations to publish and distribute both visual and written content easily; and as a marketer, you'll find it simple to follow blogs and "reblog" their content on your own page.
Marketers can leverage these benefits by building long-term connections with users and encouraging them to reblog brand content.
Similar to Snapchat, LinkedIn is a platform we may know on a personal, networking level, but few marketers know how to use it to drive meaningful business.
This professional social media network houses more than 467 million users, making it a great source of marketing potential. Organizations can use this platform to set up company pages, connect with industry experts and influencers and post articles and original content for their networks to view and share. Business can also sponsor content — which is native advertising, fortunately — to reach more professionals.
Related: How Brands Are Paving the Way for Periscope Marketing
Periscope is a bit smaller than the other social media platforms on this list, with 1.9 million daily active users, but its rapid growth earns it a spot. The website and associated app allow users and companies to livestream video, which other users can tune in to, to watch and comment on. Brands have started to take notice of this platform, using it to show live product-demos, share industry news, connect with influencers and provide behind-the-scenes peeks to connect with potential customers.
Although social media powerhouses like Twitter and Instagram aren't going away any time soon, it's a good idea to cut through the marketing noise and connect with potential customers on these lesser-known platforms.