TikTok’s Niche Renaissance
November 2023

By Jennifer Green

  1. When it comes to mainstream culture, nothing has quite shifted our perspective of pop culture than TikTok. For millennials, pop culture was about conforming to the mainstream. If you owned a Friends box set and knew the lyrics to every Spice Girl song, you could consider yourself a part of the ‘in’ crowd. Our Gen Z besties however, are rejecting the homogenous and embracing the unique. How has TikTok facilitated this growth of niche online communities you ask? The For You algorithm, where its users are constantly introduced new passions and hobbies. Whether you’re into reading, slow living or science, there’s a TikTok subculture for you. These subcultures are gatekept not by the journalist elite, but by every community member.  

    So, how is this relevant to brands social media strategy? Good question. Brands across every industry should be paying very close attention to the growing niche subcultures and communities, and some have already taken this on board. Vodafone and Samsung enlisted content creator and cosplayer Zainab to help launch the Galaxy Z Flip 4. However, it is important to maintain authenticity in these collaborations.

    How can you do this? 

    Find the right fit 

    The collaboration should make sense. You wouldn’t approach a #BookTok content creator to collaborate on a telecoms partnership. Your audience will see right through this.  

    Champion diversity 

    Gymshark recently collaborated with creator Fats Timbo to bring out a digital series on disabled athletes. Through collaborations like this, you can tap into a niche subculture and simultaneously champion communities that have lacked representation. 

    Culture, not category 

    If you want to resonate with younger audiences, it’s worth going above the norms and moving away from your competitors. Forge your own path within the culture, as this drives authentic community.  

    The Long Game  

    Ambassadorships are a fantastic way to cement yourself within a subculture, as it proves authenticity and commitment to the community.  

    Drop the Ego 

    When working within subcultures, it’s important to follow the rules and drop your ego. In the words of creator Bri Hall: “When a brand is entering a community, you are entering a home. Don’t forget to take your shoes off at the door.” 

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