Blogger Blaise Nutter last month gave big advertisers 5 Rules for Marketing in Niche Social Networks. Since many readers of this site run niche social networks, I thought it would be useful to look at the post from the niche owner or community leader’s point of view.
Niche Advertising — Big Networks Are Hard to Target
While small, the advantage of niche networks is their focus. “Large horizontal networks can be tough to leverage as targeted marketing tools because they have so many diverse users…Brands trying to find their voices in these networks are easily drowned out the the rest of the noise.”
Niche owners and leaders are going to find more and more brand advertisers approaching them.
Niche Social Networks are the Future
Niche networks are growing and fragmenting. Larry Weintraub of Fanscape says, “…we’re going to see even more fragmentation when it comes to niche social networks, and then you’re going to see niche-niche social networks.” Think PlumberSpace and Southern California PlumberSpace.
Smart Advertisers Will Seek Leader Buy-In
Brands are being told what is obvious to niche network owners and leaders: participants need to see a community benefit to accept promotional programs that might drive traffic off the site or prove distracting.
Leaders can expect advertisers to show how members will benefit. And how the promotion or involvement will help members and even increase site traffic.
Brands Provide Exclusive Content. And Ad Dollars?
Advertisers should be rewarding enthusiasts and leaders who help them promote with “useful things” like advance info, coupons, free samples, exclusive content. Examples given in the post include movie trailers and trivia.
Advertisers may want to involve a staff representative, or an expert, in the site to answer questions. This person can “add value to the member experience and drive traffic to niche social sites,” Weintraub claims.
This post does not mention ad revenues. Presumably brands are compensating niche site leaders and members with custom content. And perhaps some owners with fees?
Brands Aren’t Giving Up Big Networks
Owners and managers of niche networks can anticipate that advertisers will be interested in reaching their members. But because large networks like Facebook are so huge, big brands will probably use both.
What do You Think?
How can niche owners with most effectively partner with brand advertisers? What kind of compensation can they expect, in addition to member benefits? Please leave me a comment.
Are niche networks like a pile of pumpkins? This pic from a recent trip to Michigan.