Newsgroups? Ever heard of them? If not, here is a quick introduction, if so and you are a small business, the question is why are you not using them for your business?
Two reasons for this post today, 1) to remind everybody that newsgroups can be a great tool for small businesses and 2) to highlight the fact that Google Groups has relaunched and it’s pretty darn nice – see screen shot below.
Small Businesses and Newsgroups
The first problem with newsgroups is spam – there is a lot of it. However, newsgroups are still used by a large portion of the public that is looking for specific topics of discussion. This can range from everything to do with cars, business, health, pictures, photography, etc. When it comes to newsgroups there are over 100000 of them, so they basically cover every topic know to man.
So how does a local business use newsgroups? To start with find the groups where you local audience resides, for example in Calgary I might watch calgary.general as a newsgroup. Let’s assume that you are an automotive repair shop. Every week, I would view the newsgroup scanning for posts looking for user who are asking for information on auto repair. When you spot a question, provide the response and tag your companies website with that response. What you don’t want to do is simply post in the newsgroups promoting your web site without any context – this is called spam. Nobody on the newsgroups will consider it spam if you post a reply and the signature of your reply contains your business name and website URL.
What this does for you is a couple of things; a) you start to become that groups expect – this will lead to sales, maybe not right away, but over time it will, b) it helps with your SEO marketing by creating links as well as opening your site and business to the groups search on Google, and c) it is a good place to refine your business story.
As for Google Groups, here is the new beta site screenshot below. If you have not tried newsgroups, take a look – there is a lot of good information available.