6 Things Small Businesses Should Know About Niche Sites And Online Communities

niche-marketingEarlier this month I was invited to be a panel member for Social Media Club LA's event about niche communities. How did they find me? My blog about 60 niche communities that marketers should know about.

If you ever doubted the fact that blogging gives you credibility and expertise on a topic, go ahead and erase that from your mind right now. If I didn't write a blog post about that topic, I would have never been asked to give my insights or even looked at as someone who could speak on the topic. Blogging gives you credibility and authority in your industry. Period. Score 1 for blogging!

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. :) The event was amazing and I was truly honored to be on the panel with really awesome social media and community managers and owners from the Los Angeles area.

Panelists:
* Babette Pepaj (@bakespace), founder of Bakespace.
* Tim Mather (@timm3h) is the co-founder and designer of Untappd, a network that enables beer drinkers to socially share and explore the world of beer with your friends and the world.
* Ebonique Wool (@1stcf) is the Marketing Director for 1st Class Fashion, a fashion-focused social media company promoting photo-sharing of daily street style.
* Claire Gendel (@Clairetastic) is the Public Relations Manager for Get Glue.
* Me (@StephanieFrasco), VP of Social Media for ConvertWithContent (@convertcontent).

6 Things About Niche Communities That Small Businesses Should Know

My role on the panel was to bring in the marketing perspective. As always, I am very interested in learning about how marketers and small businesses can use social media sites to connect with Influencers and customers.

1. Community Rules Each community has their own set of rules you must abide by, and there is no way to get kicked out or tarnish your reputation faster than going against the rules set forth by the community and the influencers involved. There is nothing wrong with reaching out, engaging and adding value to the community, but the minute you start spamming or taking away value, you are going to hear about it.

2. Members Are Everything A community is only as good as its members. Before you start running off and trying to get involved with a network, make sure its audience is active and engaged. A good rule of thumb is, where there is conversation, there is activity and engagement. And of course, make sure you share a similar audience.

3. Hyper-Targeted Future The future of the Internet is highly targeted. It is much better to have an extremely targeted audience of 1,000 than a non-engaged audience of 1million. As communities play a larger role online, small businesses will want to think about creating their own branded communities and networks that they can influence.

4. Cost Effective Besides the Influencer and word of mouth properties that are built into community sites, niche communities have a better CPM than larger social networks. Not only is the price better, but the audience is more targeted, and you know what you are going to get. If you are looking to spend a little advertising money, try a community site first.

5. Use Larger Networks While the content you post needs to be tailored and relevant to each specific community you are present on, you should use the larger networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote your engagement and activity on the smaller niche networks. By doing so you can cross promote your activity as a business, but also encourage your followers and customers to join in on a niche site where they will get super targeted content.

6. Blogs Are Communities Even though blogs aren't thought of as communities, they are. In fact, blogs are really the first social network out there. As a small business, it is important to think of your blog as a community of readers who are interested in your content. The more targeted your blog is, the better off you are for creating active and engaged readers, fans, and consumers.

How do you see communities playing a role in the future of the Internet?

Author: Stephanie Frasco

Stephanie Frasco, VP Social Media Marketing, started helping businesses get results with social networks before Twitter even existed! Stephanie has worked directly with high profile clients like Oprah, Atlantic Records, Dashlane, The International Culinary Center, & many more. She specializes in helping business owners and marketers find massive ROI by developing targeted social campaigns focused on *engagement strategies* that work!

FREE: Social Strategy Report
Get Stephanie's exact system to get more engagement on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.
We hate spam just as much as you

10 Responses to “6 Things Small Businesses Should Know About Niche Sites And Online Communities”

  1. How do you see communities playing a role in the future of the Internet?

  2. Alex says:

    Each small community have rules that are specific to itself. It's very much ruled by their own government and in order to connect with these groups you need to understand their rules and directions.

  3. Amy says:

    I love it when I find niche communities that are engaged. I recently joined Google plus and have very quickly learned that not all communities are created equally. It takes time, but finding the right communities really helps to target your audience.

    • So true Amy! I think where there is conversation, there is community. I have found that there are communities within G+ that are really good. It just takes some digging. You could also start your own. :)

  4. Jeremias Schmidt says:

    I also think that knowing what you can do to contribute to the niche you are targeting to, if you can understand what that niche is after, and what are the rewards of the contribution in the status or relevance you get on the niche, the faster, better and more accurate the content you can use to promote yourself, the product or the company, knowing that can help you to be on the center of the activity and engagment in the niche, also provides usefull info to develop a similar tactic to use on different niches.

  5. Pam says:

    I really understand that I have to find the niche community that fits my business. How do I find them. My friends in Facebook are not a help, but I know it is possible. My husband and I are just starting a marriage coaching business and the social media world is new to us. Finding the community has been a stumbling block and I a very determined to find my way. I can use any advice on how to proceed. Thank you.

    • You can try some therapy based communities and maybe some spiritual growth communities. I'll look around for some more for you. Sounds like a great business.

      • Pam says:

        Thank you, this has been the hardest part so far to identify the niche. You put love into the search engine and then you get all kinds of things we are not looking for. Our goal is to help people with their marriage before it becomes a total separation, but where do they go on the internet? I will look into your suggestions and thanks again.

Add Your Comment Below!

share on Twitter share on Facebook share on Linkedin share on Google+ share on Pinterest