5 Reasons to Join a Niche Online Community

Paul Gillin is a writer, speaker, veteran journalist, and online marketing consultant. His website is gillin.com, and he blogs at paulgillin.com.

While the rest of the business world hustles to develop outposts on Facebook and LinkedIn, a few savvy marketers are discovering that small is beautiful. That’s because there are several online communities that cater to specific audiences better than social behemoths ever could.

The membership in highly-focused professional communities like Spiceworks and FohBoh.com attract B2B companies, which know that success is more about quality than quantity. Professionals with problems to solve seek out others with answers, and niche social networks are often the shortest route to a solution. So if you’re wondering about other pluses, here are five reasons B2B professionals like going small.



1. No Waste

As good as LinkedIn groups are for getting questions answered, navigating many of them can involve picking your way through spam messages and marketing tactics. Most small professional communities are pretty good about controlling this kind of thing. Some, like Sermo (physicians) and PoliceOne (law enforcement), even require people to submit their professional credentials for validation before granting membership.

2. People Speak the Lingo

Professional communities are self selecting. As a result, newbies generally go elsewhere. Visit any of the social networks listed above and scan the discussions. People speak in a code that they understand, even if nobody else does.

A blog entry entitled “New technique ‘amps’ potential for gallium nitride electronics” may not excite many of us, but for several hundred Element14 members, it’s a must-read.

3. Your Stock Rises

Nearly all professional social networks use ranking systems that reward active members for their contributions to the community. The more active people are, the higher their social stock rises.

There are all kinds of benefits to this, including professional advancement, speaking opportunities, and simple bragging rights. People’s colleagues in the workplace may not always appreciate their expertise, but their peers do.

4. Peer Referrals

Many B2B professionals, particularly in technical disciplines, work in highly-specialized fields where new developments are hard to track and like-minded peers are difficult to find. Professional communities are the fastest way to seek out others just like them and tap into the information they’re sharing.

If your job depends on implementing VMware virtualization, you’ll find nearly 1,200 members of a VMware Spiceworks group who are in the same boat. Those members keep each other on top of the latest news and technical advice. Not to mention, an article recommended by a peer carries more weight than a Google search result.

5. Advice You Can Trust

When businesses have important buying decisions to make they seek advice from others who have gone down the same path. They’re more likely to find these early adopters in professional communities than on search engines or consumer-review sites. Vendor and product discussions are popular gathering places in most B2B forums. Do you know what they’re saying about you?

Marketing guru Seth Godin said it best in the title of his 2006 book, Small Is the New Big. Focus your sights on the people you really want to reach. Then go forth and engage.




Facebook may start job posting service

Soon the popular social networking site Facebook will become a recruiter, as per knowledgeable sources, by launching its own job board after teaming with existing job-posting companies, the sources said.

Citing anonymous sources, media reports said that BranchOut, Jobvite and Work4Labs will be at least three of the companies that will pair with the platform.

With the rise of LinkedIn – and its aggressive moves into social-networking functionality – having Facebook enter the fray is an obvious play for them.

Facebook may start job posting service

Whether or not the job posts will display in the news feed is unclear.

Many bigger companies have career recruitment presences on Facebook already, but a centralised engine behind job postings and searches would feed the engagement metrics.

According to recent estimates, the job-posting market is worth about USD 4.3 billion and everyone would like to have a piece of it.

Last October, the social networking site initiated its move towards becoming a source for job hunters by teaming up with the US Department of Labor and three employment-related agencies in an attempt to decrease the country’s 9.1 per cent unemployment rate using social media a project that may eventually include a Facebook job posting system.

This partnership started a new era of formal job hunting content on Facebook which some recruiters already prefer over LinkedIn for the first time.

As part of the initiative, Facebook launched a “Social Jobs” portal that makes easily accessible educational content and tools from its partners at the Department of Labor, National Association of Colleges and Employers, Direct Employers Association, and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

It plans to promote this page in the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates and Puerto Rico.

The most interesting aspect of the new partnership, however, is a plan to inch Facebook into job listings territory.

Facebook’s statement announcing the partnership mentioned “systems where new job postings can be delivered virally through the Facebook site at no charge.”

What shape such a job posting system would take, and whether Facebook has any solid plans beyond research to pursue one, are still not clear.

A job board that lives on Facebook could put the social network in direct competition with sites like LinkedIn and Monster.com.



How to Filter Unnecessary Likes and Comments from Your Facebook News Feed

How to Filter Unnecessary Likes and Comments from Your Facebook News Feed


Lately, Facebook’s news feed has gotten even more cluttered than usual, now informing you of every comment your friends make, and every page they like. If you’d like to keep your feed a little cleaner, reader Justin Beeson shows us how.

You could always customize Facebook with browser extensions or other tweaks, but if you just want to fix this annoyance, Facebook has a great method built-in. You’ll need a friends list to start with, but you should be using those anyway—it’s a great way to filter out the people you don’t really care about.

Click on your friend list of choice in the left sidebar, and click the “Manage List” button in the top right-hand corner. Click “Choose Update Types, and then click “Manage List” again to show the full list of possible updates. From there, you can uncheck things like “Comments and Likes”, “Games”, and any other updates that clutter up your news feed. Coupled with the friend list, it’s a great way to see only the good stuff on Facebook—and none of the junk.