Niche platforms are extremely important and serve as a vital component to social media as they focus on a specific targeted audience that share similar interests or demographics. They allow smaller audiences to be their true self and engage with like-minded individuals who share the same passions, desires, and interests. To name a few, Meetup, Houzz, Dribbble, Quora, Untappd, Goodreads, Reddit, Care2, and Nextdoor are great examples of niche platforms that are out there for people to use.
Now, how can focusing on a niche platform(s) benefit your social strategy? One of the major benefits to niche social networks is the concentration of spirited fan bases waiting to engage with more of the things they love (Brandt & Crouse, 2018). These communities that are generated from niche platforms are engaged, vocal, and incredibly passionate, and brands can use that to their benefit. Brands can use these platforms to directly engage with their most dedicated fans, provide behind-the-scenes access to company news, participate in conversations surrounding their business, and even poll a subset of their audience (Brandt & Crouse, 2018).
Increase local brand awareness and following is another benefit to niche platforms that brands, big or small, can take advantage of. Local businesses can leverage hyper-local platforms like Nextdoor and Waze to bring people in their own neighborhood together (Brandt & Crouse, 2018). Niche platform Nextdoor allows businesses to build a community that is tied in with their brand by allowing people who live in their immediate area to find them. Waze, on the other hand, allows businesses to show drivers in the area where their store is.
Brand loyalty and strong relationships can foster and can be beneficial for businesses incorporating niche platform(s) to their social strategy. Niche platforms makes it possible for businesses to build their brand loyalty and focus on engaging with a smaller targeted audience. In turn, allowing them to focus on the quality of those engagements and on nurturing their relationships (Sheree, 2018). As the relationship grows and becomes stronger, customers will find it harder to leave as they see the business as a true partner rather than a supplier.
Lastly, niche platforms can also allow provide a cost benefit on a business social strategy. Instead of spending lots of money towards marketing the largest possible crowd in the hope it will encourage purchase, marketing to a niche audience can be highly targeted and therefore more cost effective (Sheree, 2018).
A brand that uses a niche platform and does it well is Wendy’s and their use of Twitch. Known to social media teams everywhere as “The Brand Your Client Loves on Twitter,” Wendy’s has developed a reputation in the digital space for testing fearlessly, being platform native almost to a fault, and committing to the bit (Reilly, 2020). Twitch is no exception. Wendy’s made use of Twitch by launching their own channel and hosting streams of some of the most popular games on the platform. Using Twitch to seamlessly integrate its brand into the native content of the platform was smart and genies by their part. Wendy also partnered with established Twitch streamers to help drive views and integrate its branding into their broadcast (Reilly, 2020). It is safe to say that Wendy’s is setting an example on how brands should use Twitch to their advantage and to benefit their social strategy.
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