Six years ago from July, Twitter launched. By the beginning of 2008, businesses were inundated with words like tweet, engagement, authenticity, #FF, and buzz. Your local florist, shoe repairer, and laundromat owner asked themselves, "Do I need a Twitter?" Our team started the OnSIP Twitter account on October 30, 2008 (TWBirthday.com) By February 2010, we were making fun of the "buzz" with our very own social media guru video. (Hey, I've been looking for a reason to dust that off and link it.)
Today, it's not just about engagement on Twitter and Facebook. With the help of commenting apps like Disqus and open standard OpenID, almost every site I visit today is a community, in and of itself, providing visitors the ability to login and interact. In addition, niche social communities have formed. As a result, for most businesses, the question is no longer, Should I engage in a social community? It is, Given our time and resources, in which communities should we engage?
For OnSIP, one such community is Spiceworks.com, a website where over 2 million IT pros write product reviews, rate vendors, ask for IT help, answer IT questions, compose how-to's, and... socialize. Spiceworks provides free network inventory and management software. In addition, over 1,200 vendors offer deals and information on their products and services via "vendor pages".