Industry Related Social Media Networks: A Review

With social media being a front-runner for marketing and advertising, more and more industries are creating their own niche communities: similar to an after-work happy hour, or a meeting at the water cooler. The idea of these industry-specific communities is to generate a conversation around users’ day-to-day experiences. Sure, that’s what Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can be used for, but it can be difficult with so many non-industry specific users that are also creating their own conversations. It can be easy for one to get lost in the shuffle, or not be “heard”.

” […] major networks like Facebook and Twitter have become incredibly noisy and over-crowded, with much of the content lacking any degree of relevance or depth.” describes Paul Chaney, principal of Chaney Marketing Group.

Determining which industry-specific social media network to review was proving to be troublesome for me: I was displeased with the user-ability on many of them…until I stumbled upon Sharebloc.


Sharebloc: A New-User’s Review

Finding Sharebloc was a little breath of fresh air. Previously called Vendorstack.com, Sharebloc is just a newborn in the
industry-specific platform-world. It is a community for collaborating with other B2B sales professionals. They pride themselves on the tagline: “We are building a community of like-minded professionals to share, curate and discuss business content that matters.” Sharebloc was just in private-Beta mode in August of 2013, and has grown (slowly, but surely) in the last few months.

Users must create an account to log-in, and may do so with their existing LinkedIn, Twitter, or Gmail account. At this time, there is no verification to determine users are actually in B2B sales, as long as an email and password is generated.

What sets Sharebloc apart?

What initially stood out to me about Sharebloc, when researching other industry-specific platforms, was the user-friendly interface.

sharebloc sign up pngThe sign-up page alone is clean and clutter-free, leaving the credibility affirmation up to the big tech-publishing names on the bottom of the webpage.

Probably the most important way that Sharebloc stands out for users is the ability to tailor their feed. After creating an account, users may select which B2B content topics they would like to see in their personal feed. Matt Heinz calls it ” a fantastic and fast-growing platform featuring top B2B content producers highlighting their content with the community.  As a community member, you’re exposed to a wide variety of content you likely wouldn’t have found otherwise.” He goes on to say that, in addition to community members, content creators are also able to reach their audience more directly, with the increased likelihood of sharing with others.

Users have full flexibility by asking public questions and increasing or decreasing the importance of certain articles on the news feed list:

sharebloc article arrowSharebloc stands out from existing industry-specific platforms because of its ease of use, news feed customization capabilities, and the amount of fresh, related content posted by other professionals. With other social media platforms getting bogged down with content that does not apply to everyone, Sharebloc came at the perfect time. Douglass Karr, President/CEO of DK Media, explains,

“This platform would group users based on their professionals interests like job function (e.g., marketing) or industry (e.g., retail). Each group can then submit the content they’d want to read and then vote on their favorites. On the consumer side, you can go to Pinterest or Reddit for a similar platform. There was nothing available for professionals so David and Andrew decided to build it. Three months later, they’ve gone from zero users to almost 2,000.”

Similar to the idea of MeetUp, Sharebloc’s calendar feature could be used in an effort to increase proximity marketing. As the user nears a location where an event is taking place, a notification will pop-up on the user’s mobile screen, reminding them that an event is taking place.

sharebloc calendarCurrently, this proximity marketing effort would not be extremely beneficial, due to the amount of users posting events, however, as the user base continues to grow, and users from various locations post events, this could be a great feature for Sharebloc to include in the future.

How Would Sharebloc Mesh with Other Social Media Channels?

Due to the purpose of Sharebloc as a content-specific sharing platform, additional social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn would work well in an effort for a successful IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) strategy.

However, Sharebloc is one step ahead of us…

Aside from their daily or weekly email feed updates, Sharebloc heavily utilizes their Facebook and Twitter pages mainly to post existing content from the Sharebloc website, links to hot-off-the-press blog posts and current calendar events for a particular area. One area that could improve within these platforms is an added frequency of related content articles from supporting business sites. For example, Sharebloc’s Facebook page is filled with links to their own blog content, however, the last outside article shared was from four months ago. Users who follow Sharebloc on both Twitter and Facebook are probably already frequent Sharebloc-site users, as well. Therefore, they are really only seeing content that makes it to Sharebloc. Promoting outside content, such as articles from Social Media Today or TechCrunch will provide additional content to users, and could encourage them to post these articles to the Sharebloc site.

Sharebloc has begun to make a presence on Pinterest, through a contest they ran late last year. The top 50 content marketing posts of 2013 were nominated and voted on, just as the site launched publicly.sharebloc pinterest post

In an effort to reach additional users, Sharebloc could consider tapping further into the Pinterest platform by sharing relevant Infographics on B2B marketing, social media, etc. I personally go to Pinterest first, when searching for social media infographics.

To Sum it All Up…

Sharebloc delivers promising start-up statistics, with their amount of growth in the last few months, alone. The existing users are certainly subject matter experts, and provide fresh content to Sharebloc’s growing user-base. As a new user myself, I plan on checking into my account every so often over the next few months to see how it is growing, and continue to read some great content!


References:

Chaney, P. (2013, December 4). When it Comes to Social Network Marketing, Niche is the New Black. . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2316846/when-it-comes-to-social-network-marketing-niche-is-the-new-black

Karr, D. (2013, November 4). Sharebloc: Share, Curate and Discuss Business Content. . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from http://www.marketingtechblog.com/sharebloc-share-curate-discuss-business-content/

Heinz, M. (2014, April 27). Matt’s App of the Week: Sharebloc. . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from http://www.heinzmarketing.com/2014/04/matts-app-week-sharebloc/

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