Niche platforms are the fast growing social media trend that silence the noise from larger platforms, leaving us with streamlined information perfectly catered to our needs. The general public has turned to niche platforms for their information and overall social enjoyment since major social platforms are oversaturated with information, ads, and privacy concerns. There is a niche platform out there for almost any hobbyist: foodies (AllRecipes), film buffs (Letterboxd), avid hikers (AllTrails), gamers (Twitch), fashionistas (Poshmark), and more — the list is endless. This focused content quickly rewards the user with desired information.
Businesses benefit from niche platforms by giving them a naturally built-in target audience. With social ad spending expected to be as high as $43 billion dollars in 2020 (Hootsuite Statistics), it makes sense that businesses want to ensure that their hard-earned marketing dollars are producing ads seen by the right people. The more a business listens to the thoughts and desires of their audience, the faster the business can grow with loyal customers. Niche platforms allow an easy way for companies to learn from their buyers.
A great example of a fast growing niche platform that continues to implement social listening is Depop, a user-generated and interactive fashion platform that’s helping to make second-hand clothing cool again. As a hybrid of eBay and Instagram, the platform thrives with well-photographed content and clever descriptions as users sell their clothing items from their bedrooms — some making up to $300,000 a year (Business Insider, 2019). The app was created by PIG Magazine founder, Simon Beckerman, and as of May 2020, there are over 15 million users that spread across 147 countries, 90% of which are under the age of 26 (Marketing Week). Depop has tapped into the younger generation’s devotion to sustainability and cyclical fashion, while implementing the desire of social connectivity to attract both customers and businesses who see value in sharing, buying, and selling outfits. Many brands have caught onto the Depop influencer trend, asking highly followed personas to promote their items. There is even a website that will pair a company with the perfect influencer: Influencer Matchmaker states that “staying at the cutting edge is a must for any fashion-conscious campaign and working with a Depop influencer is a sure-fire way to keep ahead of the curve.”
Because users are able to follow profiles on the platform, social media influencers have utilized the app to expand their own brand. For example, Instagram influencer and fashion icon, Emily Ratajowski, has 26.8M followers on Instagram, and 63K on Depop. Fans rush to buy her previously owned clothing — on a recent visit to her page, every single item had been purchased. Emily uses the platform well by harnessing her style and relationship to fashion and making it accessible to the average user.
Incidentally Depop has moved beyond the other second-hand clothing platforms, such as Poshmark and ThredUP, and into an overall fashion-forward platform selling new items as well. There is a popular trend of selling limited-edition or collectable items in order to resell them to enthusiasts. For example, in 2018, NIKE partnered with Depop to celebrate “Air Max Day.” On March 26th that year, the shoe company released select Air Max sneakers solely on the social network. By creating hype around the product and its release, and driving up demand by producing limited runs, Nike benefited their social strategy with exclusivity. The sneaker sold out in seconds.
While the major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter may have higher overall traffic, niche platforms can be a very beneficial marketing strategy. Through partnerships with specific platforms and influencers, brands can focus their product distribution. Thanks to the tailored content and diversion from the over-saturation of larger platforms, businesses can ensure that their brand information is being seen by an audience who cares... and buys.
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