Should You Join?
Imagine (or reminisce) for a second that you’re in charge of social media for your organization.
After updating your Facebook page, you head over to Twitter and thank a few people for following you. You Instagram a photo of smiling employees, link to a few industry-relevant articles on LinkedIn, and begin drafting a script for the next YouTube video. Pinterest? Well, you pinned a few things last week, so you’re good there. After all of this, you go through and check the endless stream of analytics.
But despite all of this work, you still feel as if you’re not doing enough. You keep reading about how you should join Google+ because it’s the way of the future, and then there’s this new Snapchat thing.
Additionally, if you’re like most social media gurus, social media isn’t your only responsibility. You probably also have to worry about research, budgeting, strategy and a host of other tasks. Oh, and did I mention blogging?
Needless to say, it’s exhausting. So if I were to mention to yet another social media site out there that you should consider joining, you’d be more than justified to roll your eyes and walk away.
However, as instant as your social media-laden life can feel, don’t be too quick to judge. Though not without cheesy names (the social media site for lawyers is called “Lawyrs”), industry-specific social media sites do have benefits. There are several reasons why you should consider tacking on that one last social media network to your list:
- Keeping up with the industry: Though you probably have a pretty good handle on the latest and greatest of your industry (thanks to the email lists, the tweets, the LinkedIn groups, etc.), an industry-specific social media network will show you how actual members of your industry are responding to this news. If you’re unfamiliar with an industry (that’s you, PR/advertising agencies), this is a great way to familiarize yourself.
- Networking: If you’re looking for a new hire, or a new partner, or even a new client, why not turn to a site specifically geared for them? Only the most serious industry members are likely to join these sites, so you’ll avoid the LinkedIn deluge of college grads in desperate need of a job. Also, if you’re approaching a potential client on their territory, you’re more likely to make that crucial connection.
- Thought leadership: In addition to blogging/tweeting/posting to LinkedIn, if you’re in an extremely specific industry, it can benefit you to establish a presence in one of these sites.
Bottom line: If you really want to get involved in a niche area of the market, one of these sites is for you. Which ones should you think about joining? These are the top five industry-specific social networks:
- iShade: This free social network is for the accounting industry. In addition to simple networking opportunities, users have access to training videos, thought leaders and experienced practitioners who will answer questions through the network’s intranet. It’s a great opportunity for you to learn about the accounting industry from actual accountants.
- Architizer: Essentially, this site serves as a medium for architects to share their work and find clients. There’s not a big opportunity for you to market to advertisers, but the site can be a great way to keep up with industry-specific news, such as 2013’s architecture to watch.
- Lawyrs.net: Basically a LinkedIn for lawyers, this niche-site is a little older than most of the industry-specific sites. There are plenty of networking opportunities on this site, and of course, industry news.
- BuilderLink: “On the internet’s vast ocean of content and possibility, BuilderLink is an island refuge for members of the building community,” says the company’s about page. In other words, if you want access to the construction industry, BuilderLink is the way to go.
- GLOZAL: This social network for the real estate industry allows users to blog, post videos, tweet upload listings and connect with other users. It will be easy to jump right in and establish your thought leadership by doing the same thing.
- Other popular sites include: IT Central Station (IT), Learnist (Education), Honest Buildings (Real Estate), Doximity (Physicians), GovLoop (Government), Biznik (Small Business), and TankChat (Logistics).
If you want to step up your game in networking, content creation and thought leadership, perhaps one of these social media outlets is the way to go.
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About the author: Joseph Havey is an account manager for the Triangle-based Shelten Media, LLC, a start-up company specializing in social media marketing. He attends N.C. State, studying Communication with a focus in PR, and is also a member of N.C. State’s PRSSA chapter. He also writes for their newspaper, Technician. In his free time, he trains for triathlons.