Name any interest area and there’s probably a social media site with exploitable Web2.0 features serving a community. These sites might be “micro” in size compared to large and well-known services like Digg, but they have passionate members who might also be a more targeted audience comprised of the exact folks you wish to reach. This session toured some of the many smaller communities which are out there and offered tips for finding them and evaluating potential value.
Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-founder, SEOmoz
Micro communities in social media are important and can be pursued to great benefit. “They’re essentially vertical portals like cars, cameras, web2.0 real estate and umm…llama lovers. (Gee Rand J www.llamaland.com)
Micro communities can have the ability to promote your brand and typically will have at least some social media tools. For extreme relevance, “go micro” instead of getting lost on major players like Digg. It’s much easier to reach your peers and people with a higher quality small play for focused engagement. On Digg and other giant communities you may have a tough time standing out in the gigantic crowd. Micro communities offer the accessibility to have your voice heard. As a result Micro communities also have a knack to build your brand to a group of totally like-minded individuals.
How to Find Micro communities
One way to discover micro communities is by searching Google. Try searching for Artist community. Another mainstream search engine technique is to search on all-tail keywords and look for pages that rank well in the SERPs that are obviously from a micro community.
Find them in social media discovery blogs and social media and web2. Try searching for “Web2.0 lists.” The tail in social media is a very long, long tail.” Try pursuing recommendations and references like Avva and Urbis.
There are ways to determine if a community is beneficial to your business is first like membership numbers. Many sites overtly reveal and even promote how many pages and members participate. Also look for leverageable features like people discovery, groups, petitions, e-cards, photos, email accounts, and newsletters. You’re looking for other bloggers and site owners and folks who have an affinity to highlight and link your content.
Rand gave us a guided tour of the following micro community sites:
Care2, LibraryThing, Trulia, Yelp, donorChoose, ThinkVitamin, Minti, RealEstateVoices, DeviantArt, SportsShooter, Threadless, Corkd, imbee, Virb, Wikihow, Helium, Etsy, Avvo, Urbis, BakeSpace, FoodCandy, and Sphinn.
Liana Evans, Director of Internet Marketing, KeyRelevance, spoke regarding marketing to these niche player-sites. The marketplace is becoming much more crowded and it’s very different than the good ole’ days when it was easy to optimize and buy cheap PPC and SEO. Pills, porn, casinos, travel, airfares, hotels, personal injury lawyers, shopping, shoes, and wine are good examples of industries that are highly competitive for PPC and SEO. Search marketers need to put a new spin on their strategies.
Micro communities are all about “fishing where the fish are”. Social communities really are not new and neither are micros. Networks and message boards are micro community flavors and are venerable structures (that most folks know how to find and use) that provide community based SEO value because of relevance.
Determine blogger influence (reach depth, reliability, and reader participation. Gauge the fit for client (theme of blog, attitude toward products). Personalize the communication to avoid being “salesy.” Check out the womma (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) guidelines to be honest and ethical in your pitches.
In keeping with the recurrent theme of this entire conference, Liana stressed that “you have to lose control and take the bad with the good.” The value of social media centers on sales, boosted brands, exposure, blogger exposure, traffic increases, and SEO benefits.