Up-and-Coming Social Networking Sites to Watch

Written by Robin WildingMarch 17, 2011

Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s ascent to Internet royalty, Facebook isn’t the only social network around. In fact second tier social sites like Tagged, Hi5, BlackPlanet and Bebo receive 3-6 million unique page views every month. Some second tier networks even rival Facebook’s quality; BlackPlanet users spend an average of 3.6 minutes longer on their site than Facebook users spend on Facebook and MyYearbook and Tagged users spent 3 minutes longer on the site than MySpace users on MySpace. Second tier is here.

Social marketers looking to get ahead of the curve and create targeted campaigns in specific demographic, geographic and vertical target markets should pay attention to these up-and-coming social sites:

Orkut - Orkut is a great up-and-coming network that was created by Google in 2004. This young network caters mainly to the young and hip crowd with half of their users between the ages of 18-25. As of 2011 Orkut has over 100million users around the world and is incredibly international. Many of the site’s users live in Brazil and India—two of the fastest growing economies in the world. Social media marketers looking to grow their global branding strategy should take a look at Orkut.

B2BLinkUp - B2BLinkUp focuses solely on creating business relationships and works primarily to connect buyers and vendors. This social site will be critical for businesses looking to expand their customer and vendor base.

Quora - Quora is a social network designed to answer targeted vertical-specific questions. This social site is perfect for businesses looking to establish credibility and make valuable connections with people looking for industry experts. Consultant companies should be leveraging this site for new sales leads.

BuzzFeed - BuzzFeed is very aptly named as this social tool is designed to create a buzz around media, services and products. This site is designed to make content go viral (although can’t promise success of course) and delivers it in a fun and quirky with badges like “LOL”, “WTF” (see: http://www.google.com/search?sclient=psy&hl=en&q=define%3A+WTf&aq=f&aqi=g-sx3&aql=&oq=&pbx=1), and “Ew”. You can also push your BuzzFeed content onto other sites to help increase its virality.

KickStarter - Kickstarter is a social network especially designed to connect entrepreneurs, startups and idea people with movers and shakers. This site has an extremely limited focus on funding but provides the perfect vertical for investors and inventors.

Bebo - Blog early, blog often or Bebo is designed to be a socially enhanced blogging network. The site is growing quickly as it offers features that top dogs like WordPress don’t—the ability to be social. Instead of being the Lone blogger, you can connect via comments sections and personalized friend’s lists. This can be a great blogging platform for companies that want to integrate their blog socially.

Fotolog - Fotolog has 3 billion unique page views, and even though is considered more of a personal and business-related social site, it can be leveraged by shrewd businesses looking to connect with consumers. The site is on Alexa’s ‘the Top 20 Sites’ for global site ranking. This site’s claim to fame is that it integrates stunning media into blogs—in a social way. The ability to connect and share pulls users in which is why is beats most other social networking sites in terms of click-through rates and average time spent on the site.

Socializr - Socializr is another aptly named platform that is intended to get people socializing—but this time OFFLINE. This party and event planning social site is perfect for companies looking to connect an online and offline social strategy.

Ning - Ning is perfect for companies who want a social network to revolve around their business. The customized mini social networks are perfect for connecting your company with its vendors, employees, clients and customers.

WikiHow - This is another great site to show off your companies expertise and connect with people in need of such expertise. A great lead generating social tool.

FourSquare - FourSquare is perfect for businesses looking for hyper-local social connection tools. This will also help your business leverage the trend of smartphone adoption.

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