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4 Unexpected Social Media Platforms to Grow Your Brand Awareness It's time to look beyond social media powerhouses like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

By Gabriel Shaoolian

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Chayantorn | Getty Images

It's no surprise that social media marketing is crucial to business growth in 2018. After all, we're living in a digital world -- one where there are 2.62 billion social media users worldwide, according to Statista. Coupled with reports that show 93 percent of marketers place a high value on social media as a business growth tool and more than 50 percent who claim it has improved their sales, I'd say every business should be allocating time, energy and resources toward social media marketing.

Related: Teens Are Increasingly Ditching Facebook. Here's How Entrepreneurs Should Respond.

However, social media marketing efforts can span far beyond the core four: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. In fact, these popular platforms see such high users yet have such stringent algorithms that it can be hard to ensure your followers see your organic content, much less that your content helps you capture new consumers.

But, by branching out into unexpected, lesser-used social media networks, you have the ability to reach fresh audiences, improve your brand credibility, and even drive traffic to your website. I rounded up the most useful yet underused social media platforms to quickly and easily increase your brand awareness online.

1. Quora

Your brand identity is more than just a logo design -- it also encompasses your core values, tone, mission and even who is communicating that information to consumers. This idea is why Quora is such an underappreciated yet valuable platform.

Instead of a business-based social network account, Quora empowers professionals to create profiles surrounding their expertise. Users can add education history, areas of knowledge, professional resume, current occupation and even a head shot and bio to showcase their proficiency.

The platform is based on people asking the Quora community questions across all arenas -- professional, personal, travel-related and so on. You, as a user, can answer questions relevant to your industry, products or services offered. If the answer is helpful, people will upvote your answer and more users will see it. But, perhaps the best aspect of Quora is the ability to link keywords to applicable pages -- including your own website. And in my personal experience, a truly informative answer to a relevant question with a link to my business has driven meaningful traffic that converts.

Pro tip: Don't just promote your own website for traffic. Instead, focus on your credibility within the community and don't be afraid to answers relevant questions that don't link back to your website. Plus, 45 percent of consumers will unfollow a brand with too much self-promotion. Mastering Quora is a balancing act, but the general community engagement is worth it.

Related: Klout Is Shutting Down, but Here Are 5 Social Media Tools You Can Use to Replace It

2. Facebook Messenger

Messenger may technically fall under the Facebook umbrella, but I count it as its own social network. After all, it has its own separate downloadable app and user statistics!

However, Facebook Messenger's biggest benefit is not for driving traffic or posting links. Instead, the app has several chatbot possibilities that can integrate directly with your website.

These chatbot possibilities foster a community-oriented feeling -- even on your website -- and create better customer service and stronger user experience. Because 48 percent of consumers expect brands to help them when they need it, this feature is invaluable in cultivating returning customers.

The website Facebook Messenger plugin options range from simple buttons to popup windows. However, most web design and development companies are well-versed in integrating new consumer-centric functions into an existing website without disturbing the aesthetic or experience.

Related: Here's Why You Shouldn't Design Your Brand for Instagram -- and What to Do Instead

3. Flickr

Yahoo-owned Flickr is more than just a collection of personal photo albums -- it's the perfect place to build a creative brand identity and syndicate your content, particularly stunning brand-related imagery and infographics.

Similar to Reddit, Flickr has topic-based image and discussion groups. Brands and users can find groups that fit their interests, mission or core values, and participate in the discussion and post images directly targeted toward those individuals. This essentially pre-targets your demographic with almost no extra effort. Users can also create their own group or simply post to their personal account.

Images posted to the platform can include links back to your website, descriptions and more, ensuring your brand provides context to the Flickr community that encourages them to click through.

Related: 3 Super Simple Pinterest Strategies to Quickly Grow Your Website's Traffic

4. Pinterest

Millennial women and brides-to-be are all-too-familiar with the popular platform, but traditional businesses should consider posting regularly on Pinterest too.

Just create a business profile and add your links -- including landing pages, products, and content marketing initiatives -- to your profile. For best results, create specially crafted boards about like topics and create unique vertical images for Pinterest, ideally 736 pixels wide or a 2:3 aspect ratio.

Users can also incorporate paid social campaigns and promote pins to targeted audiences, which helps accounts grow their reach and increase traffic. What's better, half of all Pinterest users have completed a purchase after seeing a promoted pin, so paid strategies on the social network are proven effective.

There are tons of other social networks out there, with more being released every day. Although brands can't deny the power of social media powerhouses like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, we shouldn't put all of our eggs into one crowded basket.

Instead, try experimenting in lesser-charted territories. You might find a whole new audience that your brand has been searching for.

Gabriel Shaoolian

Founder & CEO of Digital Silk

Gabriel Shaoolian is the CEO and founder of the creative digital agency Digital Silk. Digital Silk focuses on growing brands online and provides brand strategies, custom web design, and digital marketing to drive growth.

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