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.

* 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?

Blog Marketeer

Stephanie Clegg

Stephanie 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!

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