Social media are the open and vast places that seem to make the Internet go around. Giants in the social media realm, like Facebook and Youtube, have given people platforms so open and accessible that it’s caused controversy on whether social media is an extension of free speech and protected by the First Amendment.
But what about the small platforms? How could they possibly stand against sites like Instagram with over a billion active users? While users and brands might get caught up in the power of harnessing popular social media sites, niche platforms like Quora and Reddit are wells of untapped social strategy potential. (However, with Reddit in recent Wall Street news, millions of new users have flocked to the site.)
Focusing on niche platforms can have a great payoff for brands.
Firstly, most brands aren’t considering the power of these platforms so those who do take the effort to make a presence on these sites are already getting great exposure without having to fight hundreds of competitors for this uninterrupted conversation with users.
But most importantly, niche platforms are home to very specific audiences. With niche platforms like Dribbble for graphic designers or Goodreads for book lovers, people who are on these sites are extremely passionate and highly engaged. And audiences most likely already share similar interests and values to the brands they’re encountering on these niche platforms. From a brand’s perspective, this makes it that much easier to capture potential customers. Simply put, a more targeted audience can lead to higher conversion and return on investment.
It makes investing hundreds of dollars into social media marketing on massive social media sites just to compete against algorithms and competitors look like a thing of the past.
Now in a world of media overload, many consumers are looking for places where they can truly belong and express themselves. A Pew Research Center study shows that Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook; 42% of users 18-year-olds and older have decided to take a break with checking the site consistently. While maintaining a presence on these niche sites might never fully substitute having a presence of major social media platforms, they still provide useful enough to add it to a brand’s social strategy.
Reddit, a media aggregation site their users call “the front page of the Internet,” is a growing niche platform. Highly regarded for its use of user generated content (UGC) and bulletin board style “threads” everything on the site is ranked and controlled by its users. However, some brands have successfully harnessed the power of the site and have been welcomed with open arms from the Reddit community.
Audi, a luxury car brand, took advantage of one of Reddit’s most popular features: an ask me anything thread. The brand converted the questions they received from the AMA thread into a web series they premiered using Reddit’s relatively new streaming feature. Audi used these features to get in direct contact with users and then let them be the first to see the product of their work was highly successful for them. Even though not everyone on the thread was probably fans of the brand of cars in general, it was a great ploy for the brand to hop in on the site to create engaging and fun content that fits perfectly with the other media users create on the site. Especially for a luxury brand, this positions them as relatable and approachable which gives them a great advantage compared to other brands in a similar market.
To not acknowledge that niche social media platforms can be powerful for brands is to deny a stronger and more well-rounded social strategy. As a company or brand, it’s important to consider all paths to reaching your target audience and demographic. Not tapping into the correct niche platform could potentially cost your brand easier marketing now and eventually revenue.