It seems there is a social network for every interest. From cat lovers to accountants, vertical social networks connect users who have a common passion or challenge, minimizing the distraction of other sources of social noise. Networks such as GovLoop for the public sector and Sermo in healthcare are helping business professionals connect with peers, share best practices, collaborate and find career-building opportunities. The specialized nature of these networks creates tight-knit communities and deep content coverage on topics of interest to very specific audiences.
Some vertical social networks go beyond knowledge sharing, providing free tools that help members work smarter and get their jobs done. For example, Practice Fusion offers healthcare providers free electronic medical record management; Spiceworks offers IT professionals free network management and help desk software; and Wave offers small-business owners free financial services software. The intersection of business application and social network provides a unique perspective into how members do their jobs, how and when they research products and solutions, and what they use to make purchasing decisions.
Vertical social networks present rich learning and engagement opportunities for product, marketing and sales professionals who want to target these audiences. Consider a few of the possibilities:
The presence of vertical social networks offers unique, targeted opportunities to learn from and engage with their members. Review opportunities to leverage vertical social networks for your persona definition, product planning, campaign planning and program development and social selling initiatives.