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Niche: The next evolution of influencer outreach?

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$10,000 per Vine.

That was the stat that caught my eye a few weeks ago, when I started hearing more about Niche.

What’s Niche, you ask?

According to its site, Niche is the professional network for social media creators to analyze, grow and monetize their audience.

IG Niche

For brands, it may just be the future of influencer outreach and engagement (good articles from Inc., The New York Times, and Racked here).

At its most basic, for content creators (read: Instagram/Vine “celebrities”), Niche is a place where these people can aggregate all their social accounts in one place. And, more importantly, Niche is a broker for these content creators to work with brands and make, as it turns out, some pretty serious money (you did see the $10,000 per Vine at the top, right?).

For brands, Niche represents a way to collaborate and co-create content with some of the most popular and creative Viners, Instagammers and Tumblrs (those seem to be the big three platforms for Niche) out there.

We’ve seen this model before, right? Software and companies that hook brands up with the right influencers. Izea comes to mind.

And, we’ve certainly heard all about the power of influencer outreach. Mommy bloggers are frequently paid tens of thousands of dollars to promote brand products and services.

So, the concept is not really all that new.

Just the channels it seems–again, the focus seems to be on Instagram, Vine and Tumblr. All more visual platforms, and all more targeted at a younger demo, I might add.

At first I scoffed at this model.

Brands are paying some guy who makes Vines in his basement $10,000 PER VINE?

Did I suddenly wake up in an alternate universe? What year is this?

Brands are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to work with 22-year-old Instagrammers who happen to have a bit of an eye for photography?

Could this really be true? And, more importantly, could it really make sense for brands?

Yep. It could. And, it does.

Here’s why:

Brands crave “creative”–these people and platforms have it in spades

Why do you think brands hire advertising agencies? Think about Mad Men. Don Draper was the money-maker, not Pete Campbell. Creative has always been a huge demand for brands. Whether the execution is an ad, a billboard, a Facebook post. Whatever. Creative content wins. Brands know it. And they’re willing to pay top dollar for it.

 

Brands also crave “reach”–again, these internet stars have plenty

By now, many brands have large social communities. They have their own “reach.” But, that doesn’t mean they don’t want bigger numbers. More eyeballs. And, in many cases, different eyeballs (younger eyeballs, in this case). These Instagram/Vine celebs are well-known in younger communities. Scoff all you want, but it’s true. And brands are rushing to take advantage (OK, maybe not RUSHING, but they’re seeking it out).

 

Brands want easy solutions–meet Instagammer X, she has 500,000 followers and she can create wonderful “branded” images for your company! All you need to do is fork over $150,000!

At the end of the day, many brands are lazy. I don’t really mean that in a negative way. They just want easy solutions. And why shouldn’t they? After all, they have the money to pay for them. And here comes a firm (Niche) who’s offering them great creative, good reach with a premium audience (18-44 year-olds) at a reasonable price (compared with traditional advertising). I mean, if you think about it that way, what’s not to like?

 

And, last but not least, brands typically struggle to produce content that’s not over-the-top branded–and again, these creators are fantastic at this, it’s their bread-and-butter

We see this every day–brands tripping over themselves to fill the content vacuum with ridiculously, overly branded content. We’re 6-7 years into the social revolution and many  brands still struggle with creative content creation. But, these Instagrammers/Viners don’t. They know how to produce content that’s going to get clicks, likes and shares. And, they’re willing to play nice with brands–for the right price, of course. That gives brands an outlet to creative they just can’t deliver.

 

So, while you may scoff at the crazy price tags these ‘creators’ are demanding, if you think about it from a brand perspective, it may actually be worth it.

I can’t believe I just said a $10,000 Vine might be “worth it”, but the more I analyze what’s happening here, the more I believe it.

 

Think about what brands are getting:

* Access to audiences they may not already have access to (younger, millennial demos, in many cases)

* Creative they definitely don’t have access to (agency-level creative, even thought the agencies won’t love me saying that)

* And a turnkey approach that requires very little in the way of resources or time on your end (Niche doing its job here)

That’s a pretty slick package from a marketer’s POV. And I think it’s why Niche is succeeding so far.

Will it continue?

Who knows. I tend to think we’re headed for a bit of a bubble bursting on a few different fronts (and these IG/Vine superstars being one of those areas). But, time will tell, of course.

But for now, I can see this working for brands. And apparently, it has been working for a lot of brands. Look at their client list: Gap, Lyft, and BarkbBox, just for starters.

 

 

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Niche: The next evolution of influencer outreach?

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