Advertising through social media is a great way to connect with your audience in a more direct manner than traditional media. Designing an ad for Facebook that will reach an audience based on parameters such as region, age, and gender is much more targeted than a radio commercial that is broadcast to everyone in the region who happens to be listening when it is played.
But there are also ways to reach even more specific audiences based on hobbies, interests, and active engagement with similar content: niche social platforms.
The idea of intentionally putting your brand in front of a smaller audience may seem less appealing at first glance. During the fourth quarter of 2020, Facebook reported almost 1.85 billion daily users according to Statista’s data gathering. So why should businesses focus their energy, time, and marketing budgets on platforms with only a fraction of the daily traffic?
Because targeted marketing works. According to MarketingSchools.org:
Targeted marketing identifies an audience likely to buy services or products and promotes those services or products to that audience. Once these key groups are recognized, companies develop marketing campaigns and specific products for those preferred market segments.
With such a high number of daily users, it can definitely feel like everyone and their mom is on Facebook these days. And why wouldn’t they be? Facebook has become a one-stop-shop for news, entertainment, conversation, shopping, and even dating!
Facebook’s plethora of users can be great for marketing if you are trying to reach extremely broad audiences, or if you know that your target market is using Facebook. But Facebook can also get really overwhelming with so many pages and groups and chats mixed in with everything else.
This is where niche social media found it’s opening. Platforms like Dribbble (graphic design) and Ravelry (knitting) were designed for people with specific common interests. Not to say that people who love crochet won’t also be using Dribbble, but it’s probably not where they will be posting their latest afghan project and looking for new yarn recommendations.
With a concentrated audience already gathered by these sites, half of the work of targeted marketing is done for you! You just have to discover which platforms have audiences that might be interested in your business. (If you’re selling home-spun, ethically-sourced baby alpaca yarn, Ravelry is probably worth checking out).
Utilizing pre-curated audiences on niche platforms allows advertisers to be sure that their marketing strategy (and budget) is being put to the best possible use. For example: if you had $300 to promote your baby alpaca yarn business, would you rather spend $1 a person to make sure 300 avid knitters see your ads, or $0.01 a person to make sure 30,000 random people see them? If you’re not sure, ask yourself what are the chances that more than 300 of the 30,000 even likes knitting? Let alone cares whether they are using home-spun, ethically-sourced baby alpaca yarn? Personally, I’d go with the $1.
Let’s look at a platform where niche marketing has been put to good use.
Goodreads is a book review and recommendation website where readers can explore genres, review titles, and even contact their favorite authors.
With a reported 45 million unique visitors a month, authors and publishers have access to an massive audience of ardent readers. By enrolling in Goodreads’ advertising program, marketers can put their books directly in front of readers who are already fans of the author or genre, or who have expressed interest in similar titles.
But beyond paid advertising, Goodreads offers the Author Program which establishes a verified status for writers who have a published book in the website’s database. This program makes it possible for fans to follow the author for updates on when new books are being released, recommendations for new reading material, and even the chance to ask questions that will be answered directly by the author.
An author who does a great job of utilizing this program is Nicholas Sparks. The romance icon’s profile lists all of his works and their ratings, fan questions he has personally answered, popular quotes from his books, and even authors and titles he enjoys reading.
By regularly adding new content and engaging with fans, Sparks is able to stay relevant in readers’ minds and profiles, which he can capitalize on the next time he releases a new book.
Niche marketing can seem small-minded when your marketing strategy values quantity over quality of leads. But if you are looking to take advantage of having identified your ideal client and increase your brand awareness among your target audience, marketing where that audience already congregates is definitely the way to go.