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Triller, Twitch, OnlyFans and Discord are the latest fashion playgrounds. Fashion and beauty brands are increasingly comfortable experimenting with new digital formats and platforms this season as more traditional social apps suffer from saturation.

Berlin-based Voo Store, which offers brands like Simone Rocha and Nensi Dojaka, will start sharing new and old collections on OnlyFans in the coming weeks, while designer Rebecca Minkoff will broadcast content around her New York Fashion show. Week on the platform. Designer Mimi Wade, who typically attends London Fashion Week, is testing Patreon, a content subscription service, for the first time this season. Gen Z beauty brands Lottie London and Skin Proud are launching their first campaigns on Twitch this week.

I’m always on the lookout for new, emerging platforms, especially as the most common platforms keep changing their algorithms and making it harder to reach people organically, says Minkoff. She adds that the saturation of Instagram’s market has made it harder to stand out without investing in paid marketing.

The novelty of big social media following has worn off, and environments established on mainstream platforms have drawn criticism, such as inauthenticity, bullying, scrolling doom, and food addiction, says Katie White, co-founder of Selfhood, a creative agency specializing in connecting brands. to customers under 30 years old. In turn, consumers are increasingly looking for niche spaces where they can find like-minded communities away from public feeds, a shift driven by a desire for authenticity, adds Jared Watson, assistant professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business.

As consumers search for new platforms, it could reduce the time spent on mainstream apps like Facebook, where distrust is already growing, Watson says. Unlike large social networks, which have monetized their audience by selling advertisements, platforms like Clubhouse and OnlyFans are ad-free and monetize through user features like subscriptions and tips. For brands, there is always value in large networks, but adopting smaller platforms can pay off, creating deeper connections with super fans. This leads to stronger advocacy, loyalty and sales, says Paul Greenwood, head of research and knowledge at We Are Social.

OnlyFans subscriptions beyond adult content

OnlyFans, launched in 2016, has always been associated with adult content, which may deter some brands from joining. Thibaud Guyonnet, Creative Director of Voo Stores and Head of Purchasing, says this was part of the appeal of the platforms. Instagram often censored the Voos account, and we had had enough, he explains. We’re an open-minded, queer store. Our communication is pretty sexy.

Rebecca Minkoff invited fans to tune in to her Fall / Winter 2021 show on OnlyFans.

© Rebecca Minkoff

As a subscription platform where users charge for content, OnlyFans also opens up a new way for brands to work with influencers. Guyonnet saw an opportunity to use OnlyFans to pay creatives to create content for the brand. Designers receive clothing from Voo, some of which is from the past season, and they are encouraged to post however they wish. The goal is not to push products but to connect, inspire and explore a little the fold of our identity, he says.

Personalized communications between brands and individuals are a marketer’s dream, says We Are Socials Green. Alternative platforms like OnlyFans seem to be the natural conclusion that brands can create very tailored content, and people will pay for it. An email can seem impersonal, while the content in these apps is more dynamic and therefore offers a richer and more fulfilling 1-to-1 experience for a mega-fan of brands.

OnlyFans currently has over 100 million users and adds more than 500,000 per day, according to the company. Besides content monetization, brands can directly interact with their fan base to offer exclusives and get to know their audience, says OnlyFans Founder and CEO Tim Stokely. To date, OnlyFans has paid more than $ 2 billion in revenue to creators. Other designers from the fashion world will soon join OnlyFans, according to Stokely, but he declined to name who.

Triller videos, not another TikTok

Triller, an AI-powered video platform, has attracted beauty brands with virtual testing tools and immersive shopping experiences. After reaching # 1 in the App Store in August 2020, the app has 300 million monthly active users. That’s a fraction of TikToks’ 1 billion UAMs, but a combination of entertainment, education, and short videos is what makes Triller so powerful, Greenwood says.

The pandemic has caused people to change their behavior. People expect social media to have a closer and more intimate experience with brands. People like to go to these small communities because they can’t do it in real life.

LOralNyx Cosmetics, Elf, Rare Beauty, and Jennifer Lopez’s new skincare brand JLo Beauty all experimented with Triller as brands’ interest in virtual shopping experiences increased during the pandemic as they are looking for alternatives to physical stores. Nyx built a virtual store on Triller and partnered with Snap for its SS21 campaign, giving users the first chance to purchase the collection. More mainstream brands could follow suit and explore a variety of creative virtual experiences on the platform, says Ryan Kavanaugh, managing director of Proxima Media, owner of Triller.

Discord servers, not just for gamers

While Discord launched as an app designed for gamers, around 70% of active Discord users visit the platform for non-gaming purposes or a mix of gaming and daily use, according to the website. society. Platform servers invite users to rally around a topic, which invites brands to woo a fan base and spark discussion. Similar setups are taking place on Clubhouse, which has nascent brand involvement but a lot of buzz.

The opportunity for brands and influencers is to bring in their fan clubs and give them privileged access, says Tesa Aragones, who joined Discord last September as marketing director, after 10 years at Nike in the division. global brand digital. There are large sneakerheads and skincare communities that exist on the platform, she says. The streetwear community, from Hypebeast to Create Supply, actively hosts servers on Discord with over 10,000 members. In June 2020, Nike partnered with Discord on the release of its BeTrue Pride Month collection, targeting Animal Crossing players.

A screenshot of the Selena Gomezs beauty line from the Rare Beautys page on Triller.

© Rare Beauty on Triller

As a platform with invite-only communities and groups built around specific topics, Discord still has a real sense of exclusivity that other platforms have lost. It gives creators the opportunity to establish themselves around unique skills and niche priorities and gives brands the opportunity to create more authentic and personalized communication with fans and customers, says Selfhoods White.

An endless cycle of social apps?

Experts believe the market is fragmented enough to allow for a plethora of social platforms, but emerging platforms are not without risks. Brands must carefully consider who their target market is and who the audience is on the respective platforms. Watson cautions against recycling content by brands across multiple platforms. Young people are extremely adept at using them all and carefully organizing their consumption patterns according to different needs and wants, and its major brands understand this and focus on adding authentic value, White says.

Platforms like OnlyFans and Discord are creator-centric, which means that brands entering these spaces will need to leverage creators to help them market their products. Pairing a brand with a designer can be good and bad, Watson says. Affiliating with someone who isn’t directly related to your business is more risky, so brands need to control the influencers they work with even more carefully. Being affiliated with a creator can expose a brand to risks associated with any additional content it creates.

Yet joining an emerging platform quickly gives users a first-come advantage, Minkoff says. As social platforms emerge, you are going to see an aggregate of people flocking to them, and if you have the opportunity to be number one as a brand, you are going to attract more followers.

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