A vertical social network is a specifically targeted social network that connects users with very specific hobbies, interests, and passions. It is a network that caters to a certain category of users who are interested in sharing content and connecting with others over their shared interests.
Experts expect such vertical networks to be one of the biggest trends in the upcoming century. A trend that will significantly change media, publishing as well as marketing and brand management. Ten reasons thy online communities have the power to change the world of online communication:
- Businesses will ultimately need to adapt to their customers’ changing demands. Passive businesses with low engagement with their customer base may lose the competition with active micro-communities
- Brands will need to shift focus towards influencer marketing, content creation and community marketing to win new customers. The new strategy will be cheaper in the long run than expensive advertisement campaigns. There will be opportunities for new innovators too.
- Experts predict an imminent shift away from LinkedIn to other business focused vertical networks. LinkedIn is too generalist and crowded, with limited options to display your portfolio. Creatives are already moving away from LinkedIn to Dribble and Behance as they are focused on the needs of one specific community. They provide a beautiful and sleek way to showcase the work of art, LinkedIn’s portfolio page looks downright ugly in comparison.
Research Gate is another example of a niche-focused LinkedIn alternative catering to the scientist and researcher’s community. ResearchGate enables scientists to structure their portfolios as per standard research protocols, which LinkedIn fails to adhere to. If you are a part of a subforum within a general discussion board or follow a subreddit -there is an opportunity to build a dedicated community platform for your vertical.
- Expect communities around passion, media, news and dedicated content formats like podcasts or newsletters to grow. It will be interesting to see how Clubhouse – the new interactive, audio-based vertical social network scales.
- Remote work will continue to grow. Afew companies may permanently go remote ushering in a new wave of innovative remote employee engagement, interaction and management apps. Enterprises may prefer creating their own community platforms with better controls and customisations to suit their business requirements.
- Several established, independent communities will outgrow their own predictions and turn into full-fledged businesses, directly competing with social media giants.
- As the communities grow, content moderation requirements will increase. The smaller the communities are, the easier and the more efficient moderation can become. Manual moderation of course also needs additional manpower and unbiased moderators, this may be difficult to achieve at times. To avoid such incidences, new and innovative tools will be developed to automate content moderation with little to no human involvement.
- With the increase in remote work, Internet colleagues and friends will become an everyday thing. Many of the coworkers will never meet each other in person during the lifetime of their employment. Companies will invest in online engagement platforms to narrow their workers’ physical distance.
- Remote conferences and webinars (online seminars) will help reduce the cost and overhead associated with hosting large events.
- Post covid, many enterprises may choose traditional office work over remote work. Still, the impact of remote work will be seen during meetings and conferences as they learn how smaller meetings provide better responses and feedback from employees.