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Building Your Brand With Smaller, Interactive Social Networks

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Social media has revolutionized the way small business owners communicate with consumers. While widely adopted sites like Facebook and Twitter offer a range of benefits for companies, smaller networks offer unique advantages for businesses - especially smaller brands looking to garner greater exposure.

Companies can not only use these lesser-known sites to spread awareness for their offerings, but they can also create a more inclusive image of their business with brand storytelling. This marketing tactic allows small business owners to develop a comprehensive brand image, one that remains consistent across different platforms. Creating the perfect story starts with your content, which can be tailored to the features found in each individual app.

Tell your story with Snapchat

Snapchat started as a simple way for users to send short-lasting photos, or snaps, to their friends, but in the past two years, the app has exploded in popularity. In December 2013, the company announced that it had 30 million active users. Several companies have started using the app to communicate with current and potential consumers, including Taco Bell and GrubHub. Similar to Instagram, Snapchat allows users to share photos. However, photos can only last up to 10 seconds, meaning that once the time has run out, the picture disappears and cannot be reopened.

Businesses looking to educate people about their brand can take advantage of Snapchat Stories, a new feature introduced in October 2013. Instead of sending one image or video to an individual user, companies can create a daily composite which features photos or clips from the day. While these stories only last for 24 hours, they're a great way for brands to show consumers that they are both technologically savvy and creative with their marketing efforts. 

Go viral with Vine

Another app that has exploded in popularity recently is Vine, which allows users to share six-second videos that loop endlessly. Much like clips featured on YouTube, this site allows businesses to showcase their creative skills while giving consumers a humanistic view of the company. However, unlike more professionally created videos, those featured on Vine must adhere to the site's parameters, meaning that they cannot be edited or last longer than six seconds. Additionally, Vine is owned by Twitter, meaning that posts on Vine can be easily shared on its parent site, allowing them to reach a much wider audience. Vine posts can quickly go viral, due partially to their short length and easy transferability. Businesses that see the most success with this app primarily upload creative clips that display company culture and promote products in unique ways.

Take advantage of Tumblr

​Tumblr stands out among the throng of social sites, primarily due to its niche audience. Visitors to this network seek blogs that feature one specific theme, whether it be books, movies, fashion or tips. Companies that have seen great success on Tumblr take advantage of this knowledge by tailoring their pages to best meet their target audience's needs. For example, a small clothing business may upload images of their offerings, potential outfits consumers could create from the inventory, beauty tips and tutorials from the experts. Additionally, since this site primarily reaches younger audiences, small business owners can tap into the younger market to expand their consumer base.

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