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Aside from their monumental success, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube all have one thing in common: they're incredibly broad.

These traditional social platforms don't focus on one social media element; they try to cover everything. Facebook, for example, offers tools for communication, marketing, social sharing, networking, e-commerce, photo and media sharing, polls, user-generated content, and much more. It's a comprehensive social network.

But that's exactly the issue. Which is why we're currently seeing a shift toward more niche online social spaces.

Although traditional platforms, such as Facebook, use some personalization features and attempt to become more contextually relevant to each individual user, those efforts aren't enough. People want tools that are going to provide relevant content or experiences right from the get-go. It's too time-consuming to sift through a trove of information to find what they're interested in.

As a result, people across all channels—B2C and B2B included—are flocking to niche communities that cater to their specific interests.

And it's not just about the usability and convenience, though people have grown wary of large platforms. In the wake of events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, data privacy and security have become a huge concern.

Users are interested in more than just a tailored community. They also want platforms that can offer better privacy and security—think Telegram, a Cloud-based instant messaging service designed with privacy as a primary feature. That focus on privacy and security means there's plenty of room for new platforms to thrive.

Other platforms, including some big players, are starting to buy into the idea of a niche community. Quora, the question-and-answer website, recently announced a feature called Spaces, which is meant to create discussion groups around specialized topics. Meanwhile, LinkedIn announced a feature called Pages, which will allow businesses to share more types of information, engage employees, and make it easier to build online brand communities.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Andrea Williams

Andrea Williams is director of strategic solutions at CXapp, provider of customer experience SAAS solutions for events, meetings, communities, and campuses.

LinkedIn: Andrea (Susman) Williams