Take the social media road platform less traveled

Social media offers an increasing opportunity for brand exposure and engagement, but many users mistrust advertisements or paid posts on the main social networks. Forward-thinking content marketers should consider cutting through the cacophony of advertisers on the big 3 (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) by taking the road less traveled and promoting their content through less-populated social platforms. Here’s a look at the best of the rest of the social media content distribution channels for 2016:


Pinterest draws approximately the same amount of unique monthly visitors that LinkedIn does, but the audience for this picture-based platform is 85% female. While Pinterest is popular among people of all ages, the bulk of users are young to middle-aged adults, and male use of Pinterest at the end of 2015 was growing by about 120%. Brands can use Pinterest to drive recognition, engagement, and interest, particularly in B2C (business-to-consumer) content marketing for adult women.


Slideshare is a content distribution platform that offers the chance for brands to provide detailed product and marketing information via powerpoint-style presentations and slideshows. The platform brings in approximately 159 million unique page views a month. As of 2015, 80% of Slideshare’s  traffic came from search engines, which means brands using the platform are exposed outside of traditional social networks. Infographics are more popular than longer presentations when it comes to Slideshare content distribution, though, so make sure to balance your media with both overviews and details to attract consumers.


Tumblr is second only to LinkedIn when it comes to engagement for users on desktop computers, making it a good choice when marketing to audiences that are more likely to spend time on desktops than mobile. Work-at-home, telecommuting, freelance, and gaming audiences are just some niches that might be reached via Tumblr. Content distribution on Tumblr can take flexible forms, from simple blog posts to videos and images, making it a good base marketing tool for some brands.


With close ties to Facebook and a 50% cross-over with the Twitter audience, Instagram is a powerhouse social media site that is likely to make any top-5 list for social marketing tools. With an estimated 400 million monthly users active on the network, brands can use Instagram to reach crowds with fun, organic, and image-based marketing. Instagram is popular with younger crowds that are eschewing Facebook, making it a top choice for brands marketing to teens or college-aged individuals.


Snapchat gives you the chance to create viral content via a 24-hour Snapchat story board. As one of the fastest-growing social platforms, Snapchat is another popular network with younger users. Unlike Tumblr, you won’t hit many desktop users with Snapchat marketing, so keep this one in your pocket for creative mobile-based marketing that resonates with users. While Snapchat can be used to deliver time-sensitive teases about upcoming products and events, it can also be used to put a truly human face on your organization. Let staff engage with your audience by sharing images of workspaces or funny moments through the day.


Flickr isn’t a site for advertisements or traditional marketing engagement, but it lets you develop your brand through visual storytelling. You can manage attribution and licensing requirements for users who want to share your Flickr images, potentially encouraging user-based sharing of your brand and associated stories. Kim Bhasin, writing for the American Express open forum, advises brands to tread lightly with protections on images.  Letting users share your photos in multiple ways lets you take advantage of the full power of the Flickr audience.

Flickr also lets you create your own stable of images for use in blog posts and other social media statuses, which means you won’t have to create outbound links to other sites because you used credit-required images. Tell your brand story – with your own images – across all platforms and websites.


Like Instagram, YouTube doesn’t fall far from the big 3. It’s also the social network site with the highest engagement among users. Visitors on YouTube spend almost 4 minutes on the site for each visit, navigating to an average of 3 target pages per visit. While video marketing takes more commitment and time than posting text or image statuses, you don’t need a big budget or specialized equipment. Some of the best-performing channels are drawing audiences with videos created on point-and-shoot cameras and even smartphones. The common denominator among such successes is interesting, useful content.


Test the waters of video marketing with Vine, which allows seconds-long videos that display your brand’s personality and creativity without requiring large time commitments or expense. Use single videos to bump up viewership on other social profiles, or tell an entire brand story with a group of Vines. Like Snapchat, Vine also lets your brand and staff engage personally with audience members. Share inside jokes, excitement about upcoming events, or tips for using products via quick videos that users can view via mobile as easily as they can on desktops. Like Flickr, Vine lets you create shareable content that can bolster performance across all your channels.


When it comes to content promotion, the actual power of StumbleUpon remains somewhat a mystery. The platform itself has relatively low engagement ratings, and whether or not your content is put in front of the viewer relies on luck-of-the-draw architecture with a few interest-based checkboxes as a guide. The benefit of StumbleUpon is that it’s possibly the easiest social site to implement. Simply sign up for an account and submit various pages, videos, or blog posts to the engine. StumbleUpon is a quick way to get new audience members, even if no one’s sure yet how many new viewers you’ll attract.


Getting the most from social media marketing can be difficult, especially with new platforms hitting the Internet on a regular basis. For more information about getting found online and engaging with your target audience via content and social media, sign up for the 2016 Content Marketing Conference. You’ll gather at The Rio All-Suite Hotel to hear from experts about some of the hottest content marketing trends, tools, and thoughts around.

Kate Gwozdz is a nonprofitier-turned-marketer and a psychologist at heart. Events Manager for Content Marketing Conference and WriterAccess, she’s the brains behind the #WriteOn webinar series. Kate manages the CMC blog and writes occasionally at 5on1hand.com but can usually be found traveling.