Navigating social media can be confusing for even the biggest brands, so it’s understandable that companies operating in niche markets often struggle online. Not only do you have to consider where you’ll find your audience, but you may also be confused as to how your product or service can actually entertain followers.

Traditional media such as billboards and newspaper advertisements just won’t cut it for niche businesses. Getting your message across to your smaller target audience in such a way can be as difficult as trying to find a needle in a haystack. It may seem tricky, but once you’ve found your feet online, social media can become one of the best ways to interact directly with your potential customer base.

Finding your audience

Try to identify the type of person who uses your products or services. Their age, traits and lifestyle will help you to understand which social networking sites they use and where you’re likely to find them. We call these characters buyer personas and you should always keep them in mind when creating content for social media posting.

Think like your audience. It’s a trick journalists use to ensure their content appeals to their readers and the same will work for you when searching for your audience online.

You don’t need a presence on every social networking site. Is a B2B business likely to find their audience on Bebo? Would a retailer find a cult fashion following on LinkedIn? Perhaps not. Whilst it may seem obvious, we need to get critical about where we invest our time, so think about your choice of networking profiles carefully.

Finding content to post

All too often, smaller niche businesses focus on discounts and sales pitches for their online marketing campaigns, turning their social feed into a wall of spam. You should be posting content that causes a reaction, not necessarily controversial content, but something that may motivate a response, inspire your audience or simply keep you in the forefront of their minds.

Of course, this is tricky for niche brands as your services and products may not be the most glamourous. You may wonder what interesting things you can say about them, but perhaps it’s not necessarily your products you should be talking about.

Instead of directly talking about your products and services, think about other fields they link to. So for example, cardboard moving boxes link to the property market, industrial shutters link to security and cleaning services can be linked to health & safety. Think about the bigger picture and what other industries your business links to. You’ll find it much easier to find content, but if you’re still struggling why not try these two tips:

Set up Google Alerts

You can track certain keywords and phrases for recent news stories in related fields that you can then share on your social media profiles. Google Alerts will send a notification straight to your phone.

Start an editorial calendar

What events and awareness days are happening in your field that you can draw content from? Make sure you’re in the know before things happen so that you can prepare in advance and structure your posting.

Assess your competitors

You want to be fresh and unique, but there’s no harm in getting a flavour for the type of content your competitors are using to build their social media following. Are there any subjects they are covering that are working well?

Presenting content

Whilst your written content is extremely important, adding mixed media to your social feed can attract much more interest. A study by Heidi Cohen found that businesses had a 37% increase in interaction when using images in updates on Facebook.

Yet it’s not just Facebook, across the social networking spectrum visual content has been found to attract attention much more than the written word. Thinking about how to present your content is just as important as where you post it.

For niche markets, product images and stock photos of your service may not be attractive, but carefully-designed infographics and easy-to-follow product demonstrations could be a way to vary your output.

Social media is an excellent way into the world of digital marketing. It’s going to take time and patience to see some positive ROI, but once you’ve found your niche in the online world you’ll be reaping the benefits.