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SMX: Micro Communities

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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

Micro Communitites

Speaking first is Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-founder, SEOmoz on An Introduction to Micro Communities in Social Media. Apparently, he says he always seems to get to cover "overview"-type presentations.

What exactly are micro communities? These are basically verticals with social networking and media functionality. Eg: Llamaland.com is a community created by a Llama-loving micro community. The unknown thing is that micros communities have the potential to promote your brand. Why Micro? This i all due to traffic versus relevance (the battle between quality and quantity).

Either try to reach a lot of users (Digg). Some of them might like Llamas, else you can boost a more compact Llama-centric community. Micro communities have more accessibility as your voice can be heard easier here. These also boost brand building opportunities. Members of a micro community are also connected to other people of similar interests.

How does one find micro communities? Search engines. Use keywords that are related to your brand. Even though your may not see one community/site not ranking No.1 at all times, its good enough to go with the community that has a consistent ranking as that might be the leading community or site in that field. Social media discovery blogs are another place where you can find micro communities.

Rand Fishkin

How do you know if one community is good for you or not? Check out the membership numbers. Also, go through the community’s topical focus, relevance, and "leverage-able" features. If there isn’t much you can do with them, you will have to get busy with offline networking. Rand uses care2 to show how many functionalities one micro community can provide.

Next, he talks about WebMD, a community that makes you manage your own blog, take part in message boards, tag items you want to. This is a great micro community for medical personnel.

Next up, Rand brings up Library Things, a micro community for budding authors, publishers and marketers who have published their own books. After which, Rand shifts to Yelp! Which reviews local products and services. Next example is that of real estate community, Trulia which is similar to FaceBook/ Yahoo! Answers and has blog features. Trulia is pretty big within the real estate community. Rand emphasizes that micro communities are not necessarily a place where you can find customers but like-minded people who can spread awareness about your brand. Next up is Peer Trainer, a micro community on fitness where you can guide peers or become either trainer and vice versa. Not necessarily a site for body builders but regular folk like Danny (read: Sullivan). Trainers, gym owners will also like this community. Another one is called DonorChoose where educators and students can blog, review, post comments etc. Another micro community is Minti, specifically for parents.

DeviantArt, a great micro community where artists have online portfolios. Some other micro communities that Rand Fishkin mentioned include RealEstateVoices, Threadless, Corkd, imbee, Virb, Wayfaring, CouchSurfing, Wikihow, Helium, Etsy, Avvo, Urbis, BakeSpace, FoodCandy, and Sphinn. This is also a great place to hire artist. After many other micro community sites Rand is finally done.

Next up is Liana Evans, the Director of Internet Marketing, KeyRelevance who will discuss about marketing to your audience.

Unlike the olden days, marketing space is getting cramped. However, available also are more ways to market and sell your products and services. As competitive markets are too packed, the question now becomes where to find markets. Some of the case studies include: diet client, diet foods. PPC was done. SEO is tough with ranking. It was a tough market. The client’s product only ranked for brand name. Within 3 month’s time, for PPC alone they spent 40,000. They received less than fifty requests, no returns whatsoever and spent a sum of $800 per lead. Very bad. They then focused their energies on Micro communities.

Liana Evans

Liana says that Micro communities are all about “fishing where the fish are”. This is why she suggests initiating the conversation. Feed the community. Find out where they buy their products and go there. They paid attention to networks, boards, communities. However, this si not the same as FaceBook or Digg. Liana mentioned Cre8asiteforums who found bloggers they wanted to talk to. Take a note of readers, readability, reach, depth etc. once again, don’t make your sales pitch too salesy.

Liana worked keeping in mind WOMMA’s guidelines, in order to stay honest, ethical, and transparent. Liana says that the Walmart flog story should be taken as a cautionary example of what occurs when you are dishonest and not transparent. All in all, it brought in $600 in sales, a boost in brand exposure, traffic increases, and SEO benefits.

- How can you take your clients and apply MC’s to your marketing strategies.

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About Navneet Kaushal
Nav is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, a premier search engine company known for its assured SEO service, web design and development, copywriting and full time SEO professionals.

Navneet has wide experience in natural search engine optimization, internet marketing and PPC campaigns. He is a prolific writer and his articles can be found in the "Best Articles" section of many websites and article banks. As a search engine analyst , he has over 9 years of experience and his knowledge is in application here. WebProNews Writer
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