Social Media seems to be quite a popular topic, you guys seemingly had no problems submitting your social media links. Thanks to all who submitted and for anyone who did not get featured, please try on the next one, better luck next time!
So What Is Social Media?
The main problem seemed to be from people wondering if they had the correct definition. Some folks have a stricter definition than me but here is mine:
The term “Social Media” describes tools, websites and software that allows people to connect and share.
Agree? So in my definition blogs, forums, bookmarking tools, toolbars, and such, all come under the Social Media heading providing they allow people to talk, share bookmarks, add buddies, and all the good stuff we expect to be able to do in modern Interwebs.
What Is Social Media Good For?
As I say in the definition, it is all about connecting people. You can use Social Media to find people with the same interests, to discuss and ask questions, to find cool new stuff, even for job searching.
One of the best uses of Social Media is “Social Bookmarking” which has become increasingly popular. This is where you add your own links, share links and discover new sites. You can use these tools to record, discover and research items you want to visit or write about later.
That is what Social Media is meant for but increasingly people are seeing it as a source of traffic to their websites, which is where Social Media Marketing comes in.
Social Media Marketing?
From the first time a website got a huge torrent of visitors from being “Slashdotted” there were people who wanted to know how to get that massive influx of traffic, and more importantly not leave it to chance. Social Media sites, the popular ones anyway, have an incredible ability to provide exposure, visits and inbound links. All stuff internet players want more of. Social Media Marketing is all about gaining that Social Media exposure in a tactical way, all why carefully avoiding getting blocked or banned.
In the past sites such as Digg seemed almost hostile to blogs but now most people agree that blogs are an ideal way to get social media attention, at times sending tens of thousands of visits to one article. Even if you are not a blogger it helps to think like one. Many sites though are not ready for the flood of traffic that can come with a big social media result. The flood of traffic can take down your site or flood your comment area with less than constructive feedback. You have to make sure you are prepared for the best and the worst these traffic spikes can bring.
While much of the attention is given over to the traffic spikes it is worth remembering that social media traffic can be surprisingly long lasting, due to the repeated discovery of your content and the subsequent links that are produced as a snowball effect. Getting on one popular social bookmarking site can get you on one or two of the others as copycat submissions, which then also produces blog mentions and forum link drops. One Digg homepage event can give you weeks of traffic goodness!
The key is to carefully select appropriate targets and approaches. While many small businesses are making inroads using social media, and cheaply too, not every venue is open to certain types of commercial content. For example a business to business company will probably find little success targeting MySpace but consumer brands, musicians and writers can do very well there.
Social Media Marketing Tactics
Social Media Marketing usually involves three tactics:
- Building a powerful profile on the chosen tools
- Creating content that the chosen tools audience will really go for
- Funneling traffic from already popular sites
To succeed with number 1. involves making a lot of friends. There are other aspects as we shall see, but the core is about making connections and networking. Social Bookmarking success is about votes, it helps if you give the voting a big push at the start. Signing up to all these services can seem like a chore, and it is, but many are coming around to the idea of integrating with OpenId so perhaps this will be easier in future.
Number 2. comes down to LinkBait (or DiggBait, whatever you want to call it). Putting compelling content, well packaged, in front of the right audience and watching the hits sky rocket. Lately LinkBait has become associated with “Top 10 Lists” but it need not be the case. You will see suggestions for tips and tactics in the links below:
- Matt Cutts SEO LinkBait Advice
- Nicks Performancing Guide: Art of LinkBaiting
- Beginners Guide to Linkbait
- Andys Ultimate Guide to LinkBaiting
The last tactic is most commonly associated with YouTube and is a growing trend over at Squidoo, but you can think of it as a more modern and bolder version of dropping links in forums 🙂 In the SEO world this is sometimes called “parasitic”. Build a video, page or site as part of an already well trafficked community and send it to your own. Another idea growing in popularity is to use Twitter like a feed, posting your links in Twitter to notify your followers. While it will not increase your link count it does get your posts noticed.
Social Media Sites
Below are articles for specific popular social media sites, also check out Andys list of lesser known social media sites. While the big guns will send maximum traffic, the smaller sites will be more open to your content. It’s well worth experimenting.
Digg is probably now the best known and the most sought after, but it can be tricky to get to the front page and the audience can be problematic. Just make sure you are wearing your flame-proof pants!
- People have been putting a ton of energy into Digg, is it always worth it?
- The key to Digg is building up your profile, see how Glen has been hitting the Digg homepage on a Daily Basis
I love StumbleUpon and recently I have received some nice flows of traffic from there. Just install the toolbar and surf the sites and you will have fun, but get to know the community and start reviewing articles and you will start to see just how useful it really is.
- Meg has outlined the main things you need to know in her Beginner’s Guide to StumbleUpon
- Learning what Stumblers like can help you create a great blog
- As Wild Bill says, you need to learn how to give and receive with StumbleUpon
Facebook is all about keeping contact with people you know. More recently people have been promoting their content with it. I must admit right now I am not convinced by Facebook but you can’t ignore it so I will keep trying it out hoping that the light bulb will go off 🙂
- Wal-Mart invested $300k on a Facebook campaign. How did that work out?
- Should employers ban Facebook at work?
- Should you use social media for your business? Anne-Marie thinks so.
You don’t hear much about this one any more but it still sends a great deal of traffic and it is a brilliant social bookmarking service.
- Using Del.icio.us as a web based inventory – This is a new one on me, using social bookmarking to catalog your stuff!
- How do you get more social bookmarking attention? Read Stevens 10 Tips for Making Your Blog Posts More del.icio.us
I must admit I have never really properly looked at Reddit, some people speak well of it while others say don’t bother – what do you think? Thankfully Chris Gray has written a great post on What Reddit is all about and how can I use it to promote and market my blog posts.
That’s All Folks
I hope that was useful for you. Thanks to all who submitted articles and sorry to those who missed out from getting linked, better luck next time. Let me know in the comments if I have gotten anything wrong, missed anything or if you just have something to say 🙂