Community Marketing Gets The Buzz

    December 7, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

When it comes to technology and the Internet, buzzwords fly faster than a swarm of bees around a field of flowers; but when it comes to community, publishers need to listen to what it can offer them.

Where has community marketing helped your site? How have blogs, tags, or forums helped drive traffic to your site? Tag us with more details at WebProWorld.

Despite the rampant rumors that Muhammad Ali was staying somewhere at the same hotel, Jason Lee Miller kept his nose to the virtual grindstone and attended the SES Chicago session on SEM Via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging.

Jeff Watts, the search and community manager for National Instruments, spoke about community and its impact on marketing. Businesses have to understand that conversations about them are going to take place online.

Those businesses can and should have a voice in those discussions for several reasons. They can respond to criticism and educate those critics about hot-button issues. In turn, businesses can learn from their customers, among who may be the biggest fans and users of the business’s services or products.

Transparency gives people the perception that someone resides behind the corporate faade, and is listening to customer concerns and comments. Watts also noted engaging people online helps grow the company’s mindshare, in how users think of it.

Wikipedia, the community-edited online encyclopedia, poses concerns for businesses. Companies need to be aware of their presence in Wikipedia, and act to correct negative information.

Wikipedia can be one place where a company can create an entry describing itself, but should take care not to turn what should be an informative entry into a promotional pitch.

On the topic of tagging, SEO Book’s Aaron Wall, and We Build Pages CEO Jim Boykin, discussed how tags help a web page, blog posts, photo, or other online content gain social value.

Tags are simply category names. When people search for community postings like blogs, tags let searchers more easily discover posts on the topics they want to find. Sites like, Technorati, and My Yahoo have integrated tags heavily into the way they work.

Publishers must take care not to abuse tagging by placing them on items that have nothing to do with the tag just to get traffic. Doing so will get a site some very negative publicity.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.