In some parts of the world, the majority of the population has never heard of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. They don’t know about Pinterest or Google+, but that doesn’t mean their Luddites. It’s shocking for many Americans to realize, but Facebook and the like are only kings of social media in certain parts of the world. There are incredibly popular platforms you’ve likely never heard of—even though they’re the most beloved of some entire countries.
If you run or market a small business based in the United States, it makes the most sense to master the Big Five mentioned above before branching out. But once you feel like you have a good handle on domestic social media channels, consider taking your outreach global and exposing a whole new audience to your brand.
Here are some of the most important social media platforms from around the world. They might be worth checking out, especially if you’re serious about expanding your network.
With 12 million registered users and counting, this site based in Madrid, Spain is a language learning social platform. In other words, native English speakers are more than welcome, but they should be committed to either learning or being a virtual conversation partner for others. It’s a skill many Americans could work on honing as the global community embraces multilingual talents.
What social media site has 24 million users and yet you’ve never heard of it? Cyworld is a big social media leader in South Korea and doesn’t have any particular “niche.” Like Facebook, it’s a tool for connecting, and where millions of people keep up to date with news, their friends and trends.
This one you may have heard of—but are you a member? You don’t need to be an artist, model, photographer, makeup artist or “in the industry” to enjoy participating in this community of 22 million. If you love the shareable content on your go-to platforms that feature cutting edge tattoos or photo shoots, you’ll feel right at home here.
This Chinese social media king has almost 50 million users, and yet very few American members. Sites like Facebook are banned in China, which means the country had to come up with their own platforms. Free of the advertisements and business-mindedness many American platforms have embraced, this is an avenue to engage with people from the other side of the world.
It’s just what it sounds like: A place to share photos, but with strong social media leanings. Most popular in Spain and South America, this is where photo lovers need to be—with more options than Instagram and where #nofilter is a given (although there’s much love for professionally brushed up images, too).
Featuring almost 20 million users, this UK site is all about reconnecting – whether you’re on the hunt for friends from work, school or groups you were a part of. You won’t be shunned if you’ve never lived in the UK, but if you try out this site, bear in mind you may need to work a little harder to connect with other users.
7. Gaia Online
Serious gamers in the US might be on this site, but it’s also wildly popular in Canada, Europe and it’s picking up steam in Asia. It’s the social media giant for all things gaming related, and it has strong geeky leanings (of course). If that sounds up your alley, you’ll be in good company here.
This site “only” has two million users, but it’s gaining in popularity. It’s the SM up and comer for the entertainment industry, but you don’t need to be an A-lister to join. Whether you’re a grip, a budding screenwriter or wannabe actor (or just like the industry), this is where you’ll find like minds.
Go beyond the Big Five and discover what other social media platforms are out there. You might find a better fit than you ever imagined.