Niche, a community of content creators that was acquired by Twitter in 2015, has embraced a more multiplatform approach than other influencer network.
Influencers who have a presence on numerous platforms can join Niche, which was founded in 2013, to get connected with brands, and brands can search for just the right influencers to create custom content for them as part of their influencer marketing strategies.
Unlike some influencer agencies that focus mainly on YouTube creators and their subscriber counts, Niche embraces all platforms equally. When it was created, many of its users were popular on Vine before it shut down in the fall of 2016.
“We’re putting the creator first, rather than other networks who just take things from them,” said Darren Lachtman, one of Niche’s co-founders.
When Twitter acquired Niche, it had around 6,000 creators. Today, more than 45,000 creators use Niche to connect with brands. Lachtman said Niche pays creators millions of dollars each quarter as a result of their brand partnerships.
“We know which creators have worked with Coke or worked with Pepsi,” Lachtman said. “Our company is technology for content creators to see who their audience is and what type of content gets the most engagement for them.”
“Niche is like my second girlfriend now,” said Matt Cutshall, a comedy content creator who turned acting into a full-time job thanks to Niche. “When brands first approached me, I had no idea what those partnerships could be worth.”
Cutshall, who has his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts linked to Niche, started his entertainment career as a live host with Radio Disney before forming a boy band. After he grew out of that and while he was working at SUR Restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif., he was asked to join Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules, a reality show about the staff.
“I wasn’t dramatic enough for that show,” Cutshall said. But after uploading videos to Twitter’s now shuttered Vine, he was approached for his first brand deal. The frequency of those deals allowed him to earn as much as he was waiting tables for the Vanderpumps.
Cutshall really enjoys working with brands, but he understands that his feed can’t be 100 percent brand deals. He chooses to work at his own pace so he doesn’t flood his feed with branded content. Cutshall said he wants to make highly creative content that’s “funny whether it features a product or not.”
Us the Duo, a band formed by husband and wife Michael and Carissa Alvarado, started on Vine in 2013. They created six-second covers and mashups of popular songs that went viral, often ending up on national TV shows like Good Morning America.
“We made sure to post every day back then to stay consistent,” said Carissa Alvarado. “Once we got a million followers within the first month, we figured we should continue with it.”
Added Michael Alvarado, “Some brands back then had money to spend on social media and just wanted to reach a younger demographic but had no clue how to get from Point A to Point B.”
“We know our fans better than any company,” he said, “so if brands give us a couple of days, we can work almost like an agency and come back with ideas.”
He said Us the Duo’s goal is to be “going to bed thinking, ‘Wow, I put in a little effort into helping the world today.”
Cutshall and Us the Duo respect brands that work collaboratively with influencers, rather than handing them a list of demands that are sometimes unreasonable.
“It’s key for brands to support these creators as opposed to doing whatever it takes to make a cheap buck,” said Lachtman. “Creators know their audience best.”
“No one’s blatantly holding a can of soda,” he said, “and creators can use this money from brands to expand their art elsewhere.”