We all know how dominant Facebook is. Good thing for us as users to have a place online we call “home” but kind of frustrating for rival networks as it is now almost impossible for them to create a network as big and powerful as Facebook.
But we shouldn’t forget that a small business has the advantage of personalization and relevance. For example, a small business targeting male teenagers playing blues guitar has a greater potential in that segment than a big business targeting guitar players. That’s why Facebook’s dominance has forced rival networks to focus on niche interests. Sites like Air BnB and Patients Like Me have successfully followed this approach and were able to secure a niche relevant active network of users. Diaspora is another social network that allows you to share what you want with a smaller, more intimate network of users. Myspace is now trying to change its branding from being a social network to a social entertainment destination focusing on entertainment and music only.
It's also worth noting that most social networks make their money through paid advertising, and a niche network is an advertiser's dream because it's a readymade target audience. For example, a social network for surfers would provide a good ad space for a company selling surfing boards.
What do you think of niche social networks? Let me know in the comments below.