Let me start off by saying, the concept of Social Media is not a new one. “Social Media" together with "Web 2.0" makes it look new. Social Media has been around since the inception of the Internet. Stop and think a moment, some of the most powerful social media outlets for your clients, services and products have been around a very long time - Forums and Message Boards.
Forums and Message Boards are full of usually relevant content around a particular subject. Whether its subject is about collecting comics, fan fiction writing, or making crafts most forums have a lot of "power" when it comes to value and optimization of your website (think age of domains, relevant content, etc.). They also are able to offer traffic from very qualified resources, and these are resources that really would be more interested in what you have to say.
So now, maybe you are getting an idea of what micro-communities are? Micro-Communities are specific communities built around niches. When it comes to social media it can encompass a wide variety of social media types from specific social news sites (BallyHype, Sk*rt), bloggers blogging about very finite subjects, specific communities (WebMD, Corkd), to fourms/message boards (Cre8asite, Rotten Tomatoes). All of these social media types provide user generated content created by people interested in one particular niche.
When marketing to micro-communities you need to look beyond the particular website that caters to creating a community to one niche. You have to open up the possibilities of reaching more people with your message, by only looking at "communities" per se, you limit your reach. Micro-community marketing strategies should include social news sites, blogs and blogging groups, forums and message boards, video and photo sharing sites (think about photo groups and video subscriptions) and also communities. Any where people "share" they are being "social".
Taking the time, researching and being up front and honest about who you are is imperative to marketing to micro-communities. If the community smells a "rat", they'll dump you faster than you can imagine. Trust me when I say, you mess up by not being upfront and honest and your campaign efforts will be done. People in these micro communities talk with each other. Bloggers participate in forums, forum participants engage in social news, social news junkies scour the message boards for new information to post – etc, etc etc!
Micro-communities are a great place to market to a qualified targeted audience, but unless you invest the time and sincere efforts of engaging with a community, your strategy is doomed from the start. The last thing I'd like relate about micro-communities is: remember, these communities tend to be a much smaller scale than Digg, Propeller or StumbleUpon, you shouldn't be after traffic if you are looking to interact with these communities. Digg, Facebook,etc. all have broad and general audiences and can drive tons of unqualified traffic, micro-communities can turn out to be a much bigger "win" if your goal is conversions.
Larson note: You can win and be successful in Social Business Media Marketing, slow down, take you time and be real. Conversations lead to prospects and prospects lead to clients. If you don’t want it to come back and bite you in the butt you will or else you can be black balled. Sake your claim as an expert in a given area and you can own the territory.
Larson & Associates
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