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Social Marketing: 10 Best Practices for COI Research

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Engaging with communities of interest is an essential component to building a comprehensive social and content marketing strategy but the first step is to identify communities of interest that have an …

Engaging with communities of interest is an essential component to building a comprehensive social and content marketing strategy but the first step is to identify communities of interest that have an influence on your target audience. Marketers can learn from COIs the people, places and content that influence their consumer's buying behavior. These 10 best practices on how to conduct COI research will help guide marketers in identifying the right places in which they can connect with their target audience.

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  • 1. R2integrated 10 Best Practices for Communities of Interest Research
  • 2. 22 COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST RESEARCH The process of discovering the online communities where your audience spends their time consuming content, interacting with peers and engaging in decision-making behavior. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 3. 33 COI Research Best Practice #1 Determine your audience before you do the research. Define your target as much as you can before beginning a COI research project - this will allow you to stay focused and relevant with findings and applicable insights. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 4. 44 COI Research Best Practice #2 Create a search scope. A search scope is a set of keywords that is relevant to your brand and/or product. Define this set of keywords before you do your research, and then use the search scope to find relevant communities. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 5. 55 COI Research Best Practice #3 Create an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of your research. Include a mix of qualitative and quantitative classifications such as COI name, COI URL, platform, top content types, audience segment, traffic ranking, and inbound link volume. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 6. 66 COI Research Best Practice #4 Start with Google. Search engines are the best way to start your research. Just type in your keyword string (from your search scope) and go. As you get deeper into the research, you'll start to understand what you are really looking for. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 7. 77 COI Research Best Practice #5 Custom search engines and filters are your best friend. Use custom search engines, such as Board Reader and Blekko to tap into specific types of communities. Use search filters to target your research, such as date ranges, blog filters, discussion filters, and other community criteria. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 8. 88 COI Research Best Practice #6 Only include COIs which have published content recently. Outdated COIs will still come up in search engines, however they won't be useful as part of your research set. You can adjust the date ranges for published content in the search engine options. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 9. 99 COI Research Best Practice #7 Keep an eye out for competitors in the communities, and don't exclude competitor-owned communities of interest. This will allow you to better understand the industry and how competition will impact your marketing strategy. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 10. 1010 COI Research Best Practice #8 Spidering: Use COIs to find more COIs. With some COIs you can use a technique called "spidering" to discover additional COIs. For example, most blogs have blog rolls (a list of related/favorite blogs) and these are a goldmine for finding additional COIs. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 11. 1111 COI Research Best Practice #9 Keep track of why you chose each COI in the first place. After identifying a long list of communities of interest, you may forget your original intention behind choosing certain COIs. Keep a column in your Excel spreadsheet titled "Why this COI matters" and fill it out while you do your research. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 12. 1212 COI Research Best Practice #10 Use free traffic and inbound link ranking sites to gather quantitative criteria to help evaluate your COIs. Sites like Compete.com, Alexa.com, OpenSiteExplorer.org and others will allow you to include some quantitative data points to determine things like reach, content value and site popularity. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH
  • 13. 1313 WANT MORE INFORMATION ON COI RESEARCH? Contact the experts in social and digital marketing strategy at R2integrated! R2integrated.com @r2integrated ………. READ OUR BLOG POST FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO COI RESEARCH