Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media users to connect with brands seeking bigger social exposure have long used Niche. Today, Twitter purchased the pseudo-talent agency for the social age, adding further value to its relatively new video service.
A blend between product placement and traditional endorsements, advertisers have been experimenting with the idea of hiring “brand influencers,” or social media personalities with strong followings, to promote and highlight their products. Niche’s social media clients have been paired with brands like Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, and the NFL.
While Niche certainly aims for larger clientele, there’s opportunity for small businesses who want to reach a younger, highly-engaged audience. Because social media followings are so active and specific, it mimics the niche magazine model to a certain extent: smaller readership, laser-focused content, and higher engagement rates.
The benefits for social media users are substantial, but they also run the risk of alienating their audience if they’ve been perceived to have sold out. While they’re operating independently, the trust between their users and the so-called influencers has to be carefully considered.
In Niche’s case, many of the brands that approach them don’t handle the creative side at all – the freedom is in the hands of the content creators to find a way to implement their product into the everyday stuff they’re already doing. Whether that’s a Vine, Instagram video, or a Snapchat clip, the onus is on the influencer to find the best way to connect with their existing following.
Maybe Twitter won’t do anything significant with Niche at all. Either way, there’s nothing stopping other agencies from partnering with social media mavens outside Twitter’s system and circumventing whatever process they come up with. We’ll be keeping an eye on it and investigating how social media can benefit Seattle businesses, big or small.
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