For many businesses it is imperative to build a strong presence on widely used social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. There is good reason for this, these platforms are massive in terms of their number of users. Facebook has amassed over 1.26 billion users since its inception 10 years ago, and Twitter, since its launch in 2006 has over 550 million registered users. Instagram and Pinterest have become the go-to platforms for sharing pictures with 150 million monthly users and 70 million users, respectively. Then there’s LinkedIn, the leading professional social network boasting 225 million users.

Virtually everyone we know is on at least one of these well-known social media sites. However, it seems as if these social media giants can be so big that they lose a sense of community, which from a targeting standpoint, isn’t ideal. Potentially, a lot of time and money could be saved if the platform you’re using has already segmented those that are a better fit for your business. Every business has a certain target market that they think would be ideal for their product or service offerings. Not all social media is created equal for every business, one social media platform may benefit a business more than another and depending on your target audience and goals, it may be worth it to think outside the normal social networking box.

Among the household names of social media are smaller, niche platforms that are targeted to certain groups of people with specific interests. Businesses can use these sites to better target people who are already interested in like products, services, and lifestyles. Now, these platforms don’t have nearly the number of users of the big names, and they aren’t for everybody. Each of these sites has a specific purpose and attracts a specific user base, and if you businesses offerings are in line with these networks, it could make sense to use them.

Here are a few up and coming social networks that fill a niche:

1. Care2 is the largest online community for people who want to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most. The site’s mission statement is to help people make the world a better place by connecting them with the individuals, organizations and responsible businesses making an impact. The green initiative is big right now, and any company that sells environmentally-friendly products would find a fitting audience at Care2, and therefore should consider building a presence on the site, with its 15 million members.

2. Gentlemint is a site to visually share, find, and collect “manly” pictures and links. Essentially, it’s the male gender’s answer to Pinterest, whose users are 80% women. What you’ll find on Gentlemint are things like cars, food, architecture, and fitness pictures. This site is ideal for any business with a product/service that skews widely to males, as the slogan on its banner states, it’s a mint for manly things. The site seems to discourage more women users than a Dr. Pepper 10 commercial (which does surprisingly well with women), so maybe it is not a bad idea to try a hand at Gentlemint.

3. ThirdAge targets the fastest growing group of users on the internet: baby boomers. ThirdAge is a leading online lifestage media, marketing and consumer insight company exclusively focused on serving boomers & beyond. The site uses strategic partnerships and integrated advertising campaigns to help companies build lasting relationships with their audience. Don’t think this group of people don’t have a powerful presence on the internet? In the United States there are 112 million people over 45, with 65 million baby boomers online, a number that is sure to grow as more and more enter retirement age.

4. Polyvore is Pinterest on steroids. Users can curate their favorite products from categories such as fashion, home decor, and beauty all into one image post, or set. The idea is to gather complementary products, such as different living room pieces that fit well together. From a set, users can effortlessly access information such as the price of the products and where to purchase it with a link to the seller’s website. Of course, users can create a library of sets and share with the Polyvore community to like and share. Polyvore is like having thousands of interior designers, beauty experts, and wardrobe coordinators at one’s disposal. Any company playing in any of these spaces should take note, especially since users have an average order value per session of $383 on Polyvore, compared to Pinterest’s $199.

While the social networks above help communicate more with the public, other social networks lend themselves more to communication with other businesses and people in certain industries :

1. Quora is a question and answer based community. Quora is essentially a smart person’s Yahoo! Answers or Ask Jeeves, if you remember how popular that site used to be. The site’s content is edited and organized by its community of users. Quora allows you to follow specific topics that interests you, which will in turn populate your news feed. This is a great way to get accurate answers to lingering questions or follow specific topic queries. Need a blog topic? See which questions in your field of expertise need answering and have the most following. Also, you can use your real name, business to answer questions to build a presence and gain credibility.

2. Meetup is an online portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various locations around the world. Meetup allows members to search and join groups unified by common interests such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies. Meetup’s mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. The site boasts more than 15 million members in 200 countries meeting up in over 140,000 distinct groups. Meetup is ideal for networking or to get the word out about your company in a more intimate, targeted fashion. A great example is Mashable, one of the largest tech and social media blogs in the world, which actively has meetup groups in over 1,700 cities in the world so like-minded people can converse and share their ideas on technology and social media.

These are just a few of the platforms beyond the social media goliaths that, if done properly, can yield targeted results for your business. For help in building a strong social media presence, contact a firm like Command Partners, with years of experience and expertise in the social media space.