Not Your Average Social Media Marketing Strategy: 6 Alternative Channels


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Over the past few months we’ve been compiling social media marketing best practices for industry giants, including: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and SnapChat. And, while we’ve learned a lot about how to best approach each individual channel in order to connect and engage with target audiences, our social media series wouldn’t be complete without a look at some smaller, yet significant, networks that offer huge potential for connecting brands and consumers. In this post we’ll examine some of the most popular social networks in 2017 with a unique look at Reddit, Google+,, Flickr, Classmates & Meetup.


Monthly Active Users: 250 Million

Fun Fact: Reddit’s Mascot is named Snoo. Snoo changes look based on content category

Reddit Character

About the platform:

Reddit, otherwise known as the Front Page of the Internet, is a unique platform where online communities have the power to decide what is really newsworthy. Through a system of subreddits and voting, communities are formed around topics of interest. Individual users then have the ability to cast their vote and voice their opinions within each, effectively allowing them to control visibility of content.

This unique community has adopted and abides by a set of guidelines known as “Reddiquette”, which encourages users to act in a humanly fashion (no trolls!), and only post constructive criticism when downvoting an article. Users are urged to post only original source material and self-promotion is highly discouraged. Those who only post multiple articles from the same organization/source in a short period of time might be flagged as “Spammers”.

How it works

Reddit users have the ability to share links, videos or images to subreddit groups of their choice. Subreddits are formed around common interests such as /r/worldnews, /r/dataisbeautiful, /r/explainlikeimfive, or /r/food. Many content pieces are direct links that will take readers away from Reddit, however, each piece has a comments section where users can share their thoughts and upvote or downvote an article depending on their overall impression.

By participating and actively reading, commenting and voting on content, Reddit users are able to build up Karma, or credibility, on the site. In order to create your own subreddits, you’ll need to have a minimum amount of Karma.

What marketers need to know

Reddit can help your content go viral. It takes time, however, to build a credible account, and it is vital that your content is engaging enough to receive upvotes from its subreddit community. Not only can this platform seriously boost your traffic, but it is a goldmine for getting to know your target audience and their interests. Subreddits can be so niche that you can drill-down to target individuals for engaging and valuable brand interactions.


Monthly Active Users: 111 Million

Google+ is a tricky channel to master, but is also severely underrated. User counts and engagement rates are hard to put a finger on as Google automatically creates a Google+ profile for every single one of its 2.2 billion Gmail accounts.

The social network falsely rumored to be dying out, is actually trudging ahead and committed to providing its users with a great experience. This January alone, Google+ released the latest interface which is perfect for photo sharing. Why optimize for photos? It may come as a surprise, but some of the most active communities on Google+ revolve around the art of photography, with landscapes, toy and street photography comprising the most popular communities. Google+ boasts a whopping 1.5 billion photo uploads every week and thanks to neat features, such as Google’s “Auto Awesome”, photos come out just perfect.

google plus posts

What Marketers need to know


Grow your own knowledge base, connect with other marketing and business professionals, and share your content via Google+ Communities. These niche groups are a great source of information for marketers looking to learn about new trends:


It’s rumored that Google+ links are indexed immediately, so be sure to post to Google+ every time you upload new content. This is a quick way to rank keywords, appear higher in search results, and drive traffic to your site.

Break free of the noise

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are crowded, so why not give Google+ a try to increase odds of visibility? BMW, for example, uses Google+ to post original content to their more than 6.2 million followers and boasts one of the highest followings of any automotive group on this platform. Whereas their following on Facebook is more than three times this, engagement rates are shockingly comparable based on some cross-platform examples we evaluated.

bmw google+ post

Monthly Active Users: 160 Million interface is a social network that targets younger audiences, including teenagers and millennials, and draws on the natural curiosity of its audiences. Users are prompted to follow and ask other users direct or anonymous questions. Furthermore, users can explore previously-shared questions, ask for opinions on side-by-side photos, and shout out questions to a local audience.

Whereas the social network claims to be working to combat cyberbullying, it has come under fire after many reported cases, some resulting in tragic losses. Although it is a popular application among millennials due to the lure of anonymity, marketing opportunities on this platform may be limited to the employment of programmatic display ads featured on the site.


Monthly Active Users: 112 Million


Flickr is a popular photo and video storage and sharing social network, however, unlike Instagram, it is more geared towards professional photographers. Users have access to a terabyte of storage with a free account, and can subscribe to a pro-account for additional storage.

Flickr’s professional look and feel has more of a serious vibe than many social media sites, so brands who would like to engage with their audience there should approach it accordingly. Marketers who would like to use the site can upload their own professional photos with rich descriptions. Flickr’s keyword tagging features can improve SEO indexing both in and out of the platform.

visit Britain flickr example

Industries, such as fashion or travel, that produce an influx of high quality images can artfully use Flickr to display their brand and build up a following. Take Visit Britain (pictured above), for example; they use beautiful images to share interesting events, places to visit, and happenings around the United Kingdom in order to spark interest and attract new visitors.

Not sure what to share? Try telling your company story by featuring images that show:

  • A look back at your company’s history
  • Fan photos – search for your product to find creative photos taken by Flickr users and cross-post them to your profile
  • Products and services

Just be sure to consistently post quality images.


Monthly Active Users: 57 Million

Classmates hit the social media scene before it was really a thing… In 1995, founder Randy Conrad set out to develop a tool to allow users to track down old friends and schoolmates.

How does Classmates distinguish itself from media channels such as Facebook? The platform, which specifically aims to target an older demographic, enables former schoolmates to scroll through nostalgia-inducing digitalized yearbooks and consult up-to-date information on high school reunions.

In an interview with Geekwire, CEO Abani Heller describes what he thinks Facebook did right, “I think they have totally nailed sharing with my current friends what I had for lunch today. They’ve become the phonebook for the Internet age.” Heller goes on to explain that Classmates’ unique value proposition is not to compete with the sharing day-to-day happenings between friends, but rather, to help users reconnect with their past. Their strategy is simply to stay true to their value proposition which has been going strong for over two decades .


Monthly Active Users: 32 Million

Meetup’s motto is do what you love. This exciting social network brings people together to participate in events/gatherings with a focus on the things that matter most to them. Meetup has a community for just about every interest: from networking to art, adventure, sport or professional development.

meetup categories

Marketers can approach this network in a few different ways:

  1. Professional development opportunities: join groups around topics of interest and grow your professional network
  2. Host or co-host company workshops or networking events to bring together clients, partners and/or prospects

This is an excellent way to grow your brand and build your own local communities. Furthermore, once a Meetup group has been created, you can start discussions with members, send messages or even create polls to interact with group members.

Honorable Mention


Monthly Active Users: 200 Million (January 2017)

Vine, R.I.P., a former video sharing application was discontinued by Twitter earlier this year after failing to successfully compete with Instagram. However, still remains active as an archive of the most popular vines from 2013-2016.

The original platform allowed users to create and share entertaining 6-second video clips, which played in a continuous loop. The application was particularly popular for its explore functionalities that allowed users to find trending videos and revine, or repost them, to their own account.

Since the social network was discontinued, Twitter has turned vine into a camera application that allows users to create videos in that style that they know and love, and share them to other networks.  


Looking for more useful social media marketing tips? Download our practical guide to social media marketing!

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Holly McKendry

Sweetspot Marketing Director. Wakeboarder & travel enthusiast. Communication Studies graduate of Texas State University, San Marcos.

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