Mastering the complex world of social media is one of the biggest challenges facing today’s digital marketers. Not only do they need to contend with distinct channels, with each one having unique formatting requirements, topic conventions, and follower trends, but they also have to factor in the delicate risk/reward proposition of communicating so publicly.
If you roll out a social strategy that’s utterly bland, then it might as well not exist. Your social accounts will fill up with uninteresting posts that get few views and no engagement. Your ROI will be close to zero, with the only benefit being that you have proof of being active online. To get anywhere, you need to stand out, but that can go in one of two directions.
Get things right and you’ll earn relevant followers, see some posts go viral (though what that means exactly depends on the context), and build a memorable brand that continues to grow in significance. Get them wrong and you’ll see the worst elements of social media: the trolling, the vitriol, and the ostensibly-righteous determination to see you punished for your transgressions.
And when you’re operating in a niche, your audience is more limited, so it’s even more important that your strategy succeeds. Just one misstep could turn all your biggest prospects against you. So how do you create content for a niche social strategy? How do you maximize your ROI while minimizing risk? In this post, I’m going to offer some tips, so let’s get to them:
Immerse yourself in relevant communities
If you’re going to be making niche content, you need to know what the people in said niche actually want to read (or watch, or listen to), and the best way to find out is to get involved in their communities. Start lurking on sites like Twitter and Reddit (the latter in particular: here’s a useful list of subreddits to get you started), searching for associated terms to see what content comes up. Trace connections between influencers until you find the spaces in which their followers congregate, and immerse yourself in them.
Participation is useful, but you don’t need to get involved in a branded capacity. People will often say different things to company representatives than they’ll say to their peers. Just follow along with how people talk, what they care about, and which pieces of content they share. This will give you a solid foundation (and you can return later to see how your content is being received).
Free yourself from 9-to-5 limitations
Niche content can’t just be good: it has to be great (more on that later), and how you work during the content-creation process is extremely important for making that happen. You need your creativity firing on all cylinders, and you need to be able to accommodate the awkward timing of social media work (certain post times are more impactful than others). Is that something you can manage through sitting in an office for hours at a time?
Possibly, if you’re exceptionally talented, but it’s far from ideal. The alternative is to grab your laptop and get flexible. Work when inspiration strikes, even if it’s in the early hours of the morning. Set up a comfortable home office where you can achieve a state of Zen (in my experience, that calls for a powerful blue-light bulb — even if it has a placebo effect — a plush chair, and StarTech desk dock tech — say that five times fast — to connect my laptop to a big display), or fulfil the cliche of working from a coffee shop so you can absorb the zeitgeist.
Concentrate on specific high-value topics
When you’re dealing with a broad topic, you can write broad pieces, but those with niche interests are rather harder to impress. Don’t waste any time with generic 300-word pieces when you can put that time towards a formidable downloadable resource to which you can link your social media followers — or even an infographic, since those tend to work very well.
Suppose for a second that you’re trying to get somewhere in a niche like model trains. Does that mean that every piece you should write must be complex and high-level? No, certainly not: but there will be some questions that come up over and over again, and you should go directly for them: questions like “How can I choose my first model train set?” or “Which model trains are best for kids?”. You only get so many characters in a Twitter post, so you’d better have links that are really going to grab attention.
Take inspiration from the top performers
Unless you’re fortunate enough to happen upon a niche that’s absolutely new (which is next to impossible, realistically), there will already be various brands out there putting out content. And while the idea of being completely original always sounds nice, the reality is that it’s far better to put time into getting inspired by that content — particularly when it’s getting results.
Set up some secondary social accounts to do nothing but follow those brands, use tools if you think they’ll help (Brandwatch, for instance) and spend some time closely examining what they do. What types of content do they create? When do they distribute it? Do they specifically request feedback, or prefer to work at a distance? Take all the best parts, discard the worst, and create exceptional content. And on that note…
Put in the work to be the best
Some topics are covered by hundreds upon hundreds of brands, making it extremely difficult for any given brand to stand out — and when there is a dominant company, it’s usually in such a strong position that it seems practically unassailable. This isn’t the case for niches, though, as they’re often targeted by much smaller companies that lack the budgets to saturate the market.
This means that you have the opportunity to not just compete but also dominate. If you put in the time and effort to truly be the best (creating better content than anything else posted or marketed on social media) then you can actually reach that goal. Anything from second-place down could be disastrous for certain niches, so don’t settle for less than the top spot.
Creating content for social media is tough in general, but it’s even tougher when you’re tackling a niche topic. Use these tips to improve your chance of reaching your goals.
About the author
Rodney Laws has more than a decade of experience providing marketing advice to online entrepreneurs and businesses. He’s set up and marketed his own businesses and consulted on crafting campaigns for established companies. See what Rodney can do to help you or your business by heading over to EcommercePlatforms.io heading over to @EcomPlatformsio for even more news and views on marketing as an ecommerce brand.