I wanted to find breakfast this morning near my hotel, and given that most of my dining experiences over the last few days haven’t been stellar, I decided to do a little research. I ended up looking on Yelp, the review site. Just now, I’m going to bet the following happened:
- Some of you said, “Well, of course you did. That’s where people go for food reviews.”
- Some of you said, “What’s yelp?” and maybe clicked the link.
- Some of you said, “Oh yeahhhhhh, Yelp. I haven’t used that in a while.”
This post isn’t specifically about Yelp. It’s about the side streets of the Internet. Yelp is my example of this. It could be any site that you’ve not visited in a while.
But my point is this: there are tons of hidden communities all over the Internet. When I talk to marketers about finding new potential buyers, this is what’s on my mind. Because we’re learning to grow bigger ears, and we understand how to follow along with a Twitter search, but there are still plump, ripe, juicy hidden communities that are of value to you and your interests.
Though this is more easily explained for business-to-consumer, this actually points out an opportunity to business-to-business sellers: if there’s not a hidden community, maybe you could make them one.
A Checklist for The Side Streets
- Ask yourself weekly how you’re growing your community base, or your prospect base, or both.
- Ask yourself right afterwards where you haven’t thought of as a good place to explore that’s not the normal places?
- Take 30-40 minutes investigating a few places that you’ve forgotten about (Yahoogroups? eBay? Craigslist?)
- Learn and understand their norms (how they interact in this space, so that you don’t step on any sand castles)
- See if there isn’t some non-spammy crossover way to interact with that community and introduce yourself.
- Do something to bring value to this community that could potentially lead to new business.
Opportunity Is Everywhere
On days when I’m feeling pessimistic, a line like that would make me crazy/angry. On most days, I feel surprised by how many people waste calories complaining or blogging negatively or griping on Twitter when they could be building opportunity for their projects or businesses.
Know who taught me that in spades? The moms I met at the Disney Social Media Moms event in Orlando. People like Molly Gold, and Sarah Pinnix, and sisters Susan and Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom. They look for opportunity and work on ways to improve their business. There are tons more like these.
Where are the side streets taking you?
Note: the picture above isn’t where I ate. It’s just a creative commons photo of a cafe.
Photo credit vmiramontes