As we discussed at the previous blog post, there are endless alternatives of niche platforms that can appeal to nearly every interest and taste. Here you can find another three that I personally love.

Stack Overflow

Who is the audience?

Stack is a Q&A community for people who code or are interested in coding. Similarly to Reddit & Twitch, most of the audience is assembled out of millennial males. Differently from Reddit & Twitch, stack only allows to publish questions or answers. The questions have to be practical and answerable, something that keeps the quality of the content in a good state. As you publish a question you can choose designated tags, this way, when someone is searching for a related topic he can get to your question fast.

Since this a community brought together by a common occupation, programming – most of the questions contain details from real life problems, happening to actual people.

 

Why Should You Use it?

  • If programmers are you target audience – I don’t think you can find out there in the internet jungle a better targeted platform.
  • It relies on user generated content – meaning, people come to the platform to consume content on the first place.
  • According to stack’s last survey, 56.5% of the users come to the platform multiple times a day. This is not a coincidence at all, since stack works hard to motivate its users to come by. There are two main features that keep the feeling of continuity at the platform:
  • Budges – as you get more involved and you contribute more you get budges. You can get one for writing 10 comments, editing comments or sharing a link that got a lot of clicks.
  • Reputation – the more involved you are, the more you provide practical useable solutions to users questions – you acquire more reputation. This is something strongly relevant to this platform, since you can look for a job and share your profile with potential employers.

 

How Should You Use It?

Stack has it’s own advertising platform and this one offers three advertising options:

  • Banners
  • Promoted content
  • Advertisement during their Podcasts

However, this is not the greatest feature you can take advantage of.

Similarly to the other platforms you can promote organically by opening a profile and becoming an active user – you’ll have to find the right combo of giving value and promoting yourself. You can always encourage other employees to do the same, but without control you risk yourself in getting caught. As always, advertising and self promotion aren’t welcomed in these kind of communities.

DeviantArt

Who is the audience?

As an anime fangirl I can say this niche platform practically raised me.

A while ago I got curious and jumped for a quick visit. I was prepared to see a dying and outdated platform but got a pleasant surprise.

Nowadays I would call deviantart the pinterest for the artsy – a lot of aesthetics, less mothers. Deviantart is assembled out of smaller micro-communities (like the anime freaks). However, this is not something to disparage – according to quantcast the platform got visited by 42.5 uniques the last month. The uses of the platform are pretty diverse and include:

  • Community forums
  • Chatrooms
  • Polls
  • Blogs (journals)
  • Profile comments
  • Profile shout boxes
  • Links supported in descriptions and text submissions (called deviations)

 

Why should you use it?

  • The communities are already here – you won’t have to start an audience from zero, you’ll just have to find the right community.
  • This is a genuine opportunity to get involved in the life of your target audience – don’t miss it out.
  • You can share the steps of your work, and thus involve the target audience deeper in the product to create a more meaningful relationship between the users and the brand.

 

How Should You Use It?

Now that I got you all excited, before you roll up your sleeves you have to do something very important – research, research, research. Go for the anthropological method, win their trust and become one of them. Share constructive reviews on people’s uploads, get to know people, try to understand the language and the culture of the platform (for example – which tags to use, how to follow people, how to encourage people to follow you).

Deviantart doesn’t have an advertisement platform so here all the work will be done organically, but no without measurement. Freemium users get basic analytics from their their account and paying users can even integrate their account with Google Analytics.

If all the above wasn’t enough to convince you, you may want to know that Wix has acquired the platform. The reason is not so clear, but I think that Wix know what they’re doing so maybe this means people should give Deviantart a chance.

Craigslist

Who is the audience?

One of the most glorious growth hacking operations in the history happened at this niche platform. Airbnb created an integration that allowed users to share their apartment on the platform. This integration granted to Airbnb the push needed in the first advertising efforts without spending any money. The beauty within this platform is the fact that it was designed to sell your stuff, it’s free and people reaching it are already looking for your service – you just need to find them.

This million dollar website boasts 20 billion page views per month. For common users, it is a place where people can find what they want. But for smart digital marketers, it is a great platform for better marketing.

60 million Americans use Craigslist each month, and that the site ranks in the top 50 of most visited sites worldwide. Do I have your attention now?

Why should you use it?

  • It’s free
  • It offers services for people that are already looking for them.

 

How Should You Use It?

So yes, there is a lot of work in advertising within this platform if you do it manually, but you also can get help from automated platforms that were created just for Craigslist.

There are a few key points to follow, in order to get it right.

 

  • Targeting

 

The platform has many categories and locations that you can advertise to. If your service is affected from the location of the user this is something you should pay attention to. I suggest, as always, a preliminary research to check all the relevant options and try different combinations (A/B testing).

 

  • Tracking

 

As with any other platform, if you do not track your results – you will not be able to improve them. To track which ads work best, I’d suggest using unique identifying details for each ad – email, phone, or link. You can publish different salesman emails, use designated phone extensions and add unique UTMs to the links you publish.

 

  • Manage your ads

 

The freshness of your content is very important, since search results are arranged chronologically. If after 24 hours since you’ve posted your ad there’s you don’t get the desired results, it’s better to delete it and post a new one. Before creating your ad, you’ll need a preliminary study (how surprising) to test your winning keywords. Of course, using the right one is also essential, and you need to experiment with some to get the most successful ad.

 

  • Use the forum

 

Communities are an important component of the platform, and it is what makes it special. You should use the forum to contact potential customers or other service providers to build a positive branding around you and your product.

 

To sum up, there are enough niche platforms for almost every existing target audience to use. The ones I chose to display are few out of many – I’m sure that if you didn’t find one that suited your audience like a glove, it doesn’t mean it isn’t out there, waiting for you to find it. The only thing that separates between you both is a brief browsing journey.

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