Vertical networks (or vertical social networks) connect people who have very specific interests or passions. To be considered a vertical network, the focus of that group must be a specific niche, but the breadth of that niche can be quite broad within it. The “vertical” refers to the shared interest – the only thing the members of that network have in common.
If your target audience is part of a vertical social network, you may be able to integrate that network into your inbound or content marketing strategy. This can also apply to niche groups within broader social networks like Facebook & Linkedin groups.
From a marketing perspective, vertical networks enable targeting for advertising or engagement but could be equally helpful for product or service development. For some time now, smart marketers have been using social platforms to build & nurture vertical networks that are relevant to their brands, and encourage the members to interact.
Sometimes a vertical might be location based – like a local community facebook group where the “vertical” is that the people are interested in that region – or it might be topic based – like a group interested in freshwater fishing that could be international. Vertical Networks may not follow the demographics of old-school marketing, because they are about people rather than age, gender or income.
There is a myriad of possibilities:
- people interested classic cars
- fans of a particular football team
- first-time parents
- industry-specific discussions
- vegan food recipe sharing
- Small business owners
- People getting married
- People getting divorced
- People with a specific medical condition
The list of potential vertical networks goes on and on.
Identifying and gaining access to relevant vertical networks can be a significant benefit to your business. They can be used for gaining insight & feedback; there are opportunities for marketing and, increasingly, businesses are nurturing their own on social media networks from Whatsapp to Facebook groups.