Micro Communities

Oct 17, 2007 - 2:09 pm 1 by
Filed Under SMX East 2007

SMX Social Media, Wednesday 17, 2007 1:15pm-2:15pm

Pick an interest area, and there’s probably a social media site that’s serving a community around it. These sites might be "micro" in size compared to some of the large, well-known services, but they have passionate members who might also be a more targeted audience that you wish to reach. This session tours some of the many smaller communities out there.

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land

Speaker: Liana Evans, Director of Internet Marketing, KeyRelevance Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-founder, SEOmoz

We've had lunch downstairs and discovered where they put the uncomfortable chairs from yesterday.

Danny is up. "If you're from NY, do you like Huey Lewis or hate him?" Frank Sinatra popular? (yes) He's joking around about sharing rides to the airport after the conference and how this is a way of "being social". Everyone is freezing. The room is either too warm or too cold. At the moment, we're very cold. Next up are Liana Evans and Rand Fishkin.

First up, Rand Fishkin:

Micro Communities in Social Media - why important, how to pursue them? Asked if we liked Rebecca's talk yesterday. Vertical portals are based on our hobbies, interests. Micro communities help you promote your brand. Can be done underground or via marketing. Why go mirco? These are different from Digg, Reddit, and all the bigger SM sites. Micro's are smaller. You can reach who are your peers and who are interested in what you have to say. Accessibility is easier because your voice can really be heard. Sometimes you just need to contribute on a regular basis to get people to recognize you. Those people are also connected to other micro communities.

How do you find these MC's (micro communities)? Search engines. Ex. Search for "artists community" and "handmade goods" bring back broad results. Communities don't come up in first results in those examples. However, if you run broad searches and begin to see site names over and over again, you can tell these might be good places to check out, or join. As your MC grows in size, it's more pervasive.

There are SM discovery blogs. This is a good way to find MC's. Uses SEOMoz.org blog as an example. Find lists of communities, and "web 2.0" lists. "Read/Write Web" (http://www.readwriteweb.com/) has lists. Recommendations and networking are other ways of finding MC's. If folks are talking about certain communities, you can follow up on this by following the link.

How to determine if an MC is right for your business? Membership numbers is one way. You can find this on About Us pages, for example. Forums also show the number of members. Or use search engines. Topical focus and relevance help determine value. Look for conversations on the web. Can search on these using keyphrases. Care2 is an ex. of leveraging features.

You're looking for others in your field rather than people to sell to in many of these communities.

Try these communities: (You can find URLS for these via a link at the bottom of this post.)

Care2 - they connect non-profits to other non-profits; they work with a lot of large companies WebMD - They also have a community, a little over a year old. You can tag there. Create blogs. Talk about your own brand. Library Thing - share and review books, great for authors and publishers; you can market books there Yelp - A local reviews community; it's vertical but huge. 15 million reviews in it so far. If small or local biz, you can control your own description and manage your own information. Trulia - For real estate, make blogs, news, network with other real estate people. Peer Trainer - online trainers, mentors for body building and fitness, gym members. You can connect with local people there. Donor Choose - education oriented, idea share, students read the site, you can blog there, leave comments. Think Vitamin - for web developers, put up guides, content, launching point for your blogs to get readers Minti - For parents. Photo share, blogs, advice, connect with other members, discussion threads. Real Esate Voices - new site, it picks up links from other blogs and discusses them there.Handles news. DeviantArt - older established site; has new social stuff link portfolios comments recruiting getting your works out there to show people. SportsShooter - very active sports site; polls, networking community, leave comments on photos Threadless - You submit designs of your own t-shirts Cork'd - for wine lovers; blog, comments, reviews, wine industry Imbee - "Facebook for kids", not for adults to market to kids; large membership; Virb - Web design, video, music; creative site for artists; create content, comments, tagging Wayfaring - create maps and share them; used for parties, map out Halloween route, create, share, explore, connect by creating and sharing maps CouchSurfing - kinda like hitchhiking; you put your "couch" for rent, other folks can come to your house. Groups, good for travel industry. Wikihow - How to content; these do well in search engines; you can mention your brand, write how-to lists Helium - writers contribute content, knowledge share Etsy - shopping, ebay for handmade goods, not an auction. Great site search. Product sales, network with other who make things. Avvo - new site for lawyers, link to your site; networkin (He's out of time and runs by these quickly...) Urbis Bakespace FoodCandy Sphinn - for search marketers The Stranger - local for Seattle Ebay - now is getting into SM; there is a community there now

Next up,


Marketing to Your Audience - How can you take your clients and apply MC's to your marketing strategies.

Remember the "old days"? The marketing space is becoming more crowded. There are more ways to market now. Highly competitive markets are crowded. Where else can you get traffic in these markets? CAse study - diet client, diet foods. PPC was done. SEO is very hard to with ranking. Tough market. Client only ranked for brand name. PPC campaign spent 40,000 in 3 months, less than 50 requiest, no return, $800 per lead. Very bad. They looked at micro communities.

You have to start the conversation. Feed the community. Give information. Give a reason to talk. "Fish where the fish are". Go where they buy your products. They targeted at "Fat Blogging". They looked at networks, boards, communities. It's more than Digg and Facebook. She mentions Cre8asiteforums (yeah). They identified bloggers they wanted to talk to. Look for reach, depth, reliability, readers. Gauge fit for the client. Theme of blog.Attitude. Personalize the communication to avoid being salesy. Don't toss out just pitches. They read the blogs they targeted before approaching. Start small. This limits the negative reaction. Refine your approach. They wanted to follow WOMMA, to be ethical and being honest, due to bad marketing campaigns by companies in the news.

Let the conversation happen. One blogger tried the free trial, she was featured on MSN. Her response triggered viral, word of mouth. Accept the feedback and don't try to control the message. Accept both good and bad. Listen to your audience. If a bad review, you can suggest another product or alternative to the person leaving comments. 98% of people drank the free product that was offered. 308 trials delivered. Traffic increased, SEO improved.

Look at the communities you want to use. If blogs you can email them to see if they will test a product for you. This worked really well for this diet food client. Far better than PPC did.

For a list of the URLs to the list of sites that Rand listed, check out Marty's coverage of this session in AimClear


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