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Why aren’t you attracted to online communities? More specifically, why don’t you find value in reaching a small number of people who may all very well have interest in your product?

I am no advertiser, but it seems to me that if I knew I could find 50 people in one location, who typically come back to that location at least 3-4 times per week and I knew for certain they were all in the same profession or had a single shared interest that dominated the conversation, I’d want to be there. Particularly if I had a product or service that this group of people would want.

But before you write me off as not understanding the industry, I’ll beat you to the punch. I don’t. I did not study advertising, nor do I practice it. I am a journalist. But I am also logical.
When I see a group of teachers sharing the ins and outs of the craft, their problems of the day and commenting at length about new edicts from the administration, that seems to me like an advertising opportunity.
When a group of 60 people discusses books and does it consistently month after month, isn’t that a good place for a book seller to offer discounts or join the conversation?

How about a 50 diabetics sharing recipes? Can you think of anyone who might value that group?

Now, let me say that I do get the concept of scale. I know that you want larger audiences. I do. But won’t a lot of small, targeted audiences eventually add up? And isn’t there a smidgen of value in that?

All I’m suggesting is changing the game a little bit. And I’m not talking about advertising on Facebook. Do something new. Seek out the smaller online communities where passions run high and advice is doled out in droves. Give it a trial period and see if you can find a new model.

And if you want more ideas, ask. I’ve got plenty.

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November 2008

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.


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