Niche Communities Online and the Colossal Rise of Micro, Nano Influencers (Part 1/ 3)

(Commencing the three-part series on the topic)

“People are basically good”- Pierre Omidyar
“Don’t be evil”- Google

Defining Niche and Niche Communities

First, there was social media. Then there was more and more of them, until they became obsolete. That is, until fatigue kicked in, ‘traditional social media’ was the place to be.

Not anymore!

Social media, like the real world, is a crowded place, with terrible amount of noise. So, the answer becomes niche social media, (thank God; no more of trolling because one just posted on FB that ‘French fries were not made in France for the first time’ with a TIL tag).

Herein lies the importance of niche communities.

“A niche community is a group of people brought together by a common interest, value, or goal.” – Neil Patel.

The mother of all niche communities

1. It supposedly predates the Order of the Illuminati.

2. It was founded by an Emperor.

3. And yes, it was a super-niche society rumoured to have been established about 2000 years back.

The Nine Unknown Men, obviously the stuff of legends and fiction thereafter, were deemed to be the guardians of philosophical, scientific and political knowledge entrusted with knowledge discovery and acquisition to be passed from successor to successor. The elite coterie was founded by none other than Ashoka, the Great, the Indian Emperor who after the bloodiest battle of Kalinga, converted to Buddhism.

Propaganda, Physiology, Microbiology, Communication, Cosmology, Vimana (the science of flight)…his men studied and codified everything under the sun. “The Nine Unknown Men, though always anonymous, supposedly leak information from their texts when the human race is in need and to aid the progress of science,” a report conveyed.

Whatever it be, this comes across as an idea of exclusive and blue-blooded super-niche community and proves that man ultimately is a social animal who can never be an island unto himself up until the illness of Covid-19 did us stay apart, socially and physically.

So, if niche is the new black, if small communities are the next big thing, what does it hold for Influencer Marketing? Read on to see more and learn more.

It is not that the age of generalists is over. It is just that the rise of niche communities online has begun; long been in the offing. And before venturing any further, let it be mentioned that both can coexist. Both have their uses and peculiarities.

eBay and the market for laser pointers

What can a broken laser pointer do? For a start, it can change history, the course of it.

When Pierre Omidyar listed a broken laser pointer for sale on ebay, the first item ever to have been put on sale there, Mark Fraser purchased it for a whopping $14.83. This was way back in 1990s.

“In the early days of the web…corporations were taking to it in droves, but nobody out there was really talking about using the web to empower other people. We started out by trying to bring the power of the Internet to regular people, not just corporations,” Omidyar said in an interview of the vision behind his venture.

Fraser was asked if he was aware that the laser pointer was broken. In his response on email he said, “I’m a collector of broken laser pointers”.

If this is not niche, one may not know what it is.

A niche market can be understood as a part or a segment of a larger market with its own unique characteristics like needs, preferences or identity that make it a subset of the larger market but different from it.

Take for example, the case of women’s shoes.

✓ There are special shoes for vegan women.

✓ Shoes suitable for plus-sized women.

✓ Shoes designed for nurses.

At the end of the day, they all may be categorised as women’s shoes. But at the beginning of the day (or on the basis of how you look at it), they all are niche products addressing a specific category of buyers.

So, how do you categorise nicheness?

Nicheness of a product can be by virtue of its price, utility, suitability, grade and even in terms of geography vis-à-vis its customer or user.

1. Price
    1.1. Luxury
    1.2. Moderate
    1.3. Discount
2. Demographics
    2.1. Gender
    2.2. Age
    2.3. Income level
    2.4. Education level
3. Level of quality
    3.1. Premium
    3.2. Handmade
    3.3. Economical
4. Geographics
    4.1. Residents of a country
    4.2. Residents of a particular city
    4.3. A certain neighbourhood

A niche market is a group of niche enthusiasts who are also consumers of the relevant niche. Think green tea drinkers or for that matter Anthro Fiction enthusiasts or even paracord lovers or Mycology aficionados.

All are niche, to the very core of it.

                                                                                                            (PART 2/ 3)