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Expand Your Horizons with Social Media


July 22, 2008


Speaking at the Supernova conference, Joe Kraus, a director of product management for the search giant Google described social networking as the latest fashion. He expects the Web to become completely social and adds that “being social is not a site. It's a concept."

Social media is rapidly gaining popularity and changing the landscape of communication, collaboration, and personal interaction. It is becoming more and more vital for every company and individual to develop thier comprehensive social media presence. Here is where the Social Media Marketing (SMM) comes up. It is an entire platform by which it can be achieved a wide range of goals such as increased web site traffic, conversions and sales, ad exposure, brand awareness, business development and so forth. Creating an environment to communicate with friends, customers and prospects across different social platforms will significantly help in the pursuit of company's objectives.

In order to provide companies with a clear understanding of consumers’ online behavior, Forrester research conducted a study, which classified consumers according to their participation in various types of social networking. 44% of all U.S. users browsing the web in 2007 were classified as "inactives". The "joiners” were those 25% who visited social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook; the collectors were an elite 15% who collected and aggregated information; and the "critics" were those who post ratings and reviews as well as contribute to blogs and forums. Actually, only 18% of all online Americans created content, publishing an article or a blog at least once a month, maintaining a Web page or uploading content to sites like YouTube and Flickr. With these findings in mind, it is more easily to decide what kind of relationship to build with your customers.

Social Media Marketing is attractive for several reasons but as main advantages are pointed the great amount of free traffic and the increased company's or blog's exposure as a result of it. According to a study conducted by HitWise UK, a considerable portion of the traffic delivered to UK retail sites in 2007 originated from the top social networks.

On the other hand, the inbound links coming along with the huge amount of traffic are sought as an ultimate goal by many marketers. Generally speaking, getting plenty of inbound links from other websites and blogs through social media campaign is beneficial because pages that are successful with social media and drive a significant number of back links are likely to get a higher PageRank from Google. However, social networking should be used as part of a wider strategy and not only as a link building opportunity.

 

All social media sites are used in a different manner and have their own specifics that must be known in order to implement a successful social media campaign. For this reason it’s important to understand how each one works. Sites like Digg, Reddit, Sphinn, TechMeme, StumbleUpon, Delicious are used to record what people like and dislike and are categorized as Social Bookmarking Sites. Sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter are defined as Social Networking Communities. They are appropriate for creating an identity, branding and advertising campaign. Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Yahoo Answers are User Generated Content Web Sites and TechCrunch, BoingBoing, Gizmodo are Popular Blogs.

 

Social Bookmarking

In general, social bookmarking sites allow Internet users to store, organize, search, and most importantly, share bookmarks.

As it was already mentioned, using social bookmarking in SMM brings a lot of benefits. It is a fast and reliable way your site to get indexed. It is a natural way to achieve a huge amount of incoming links which Google gives more weight and last but not least, creation of presence in targeted online social communities.

How to Bookmark For SEO

When you set up your social media campaign with purpose to generate backlinks to a content page, first you should optimize your piece for particular keywords. There are usually three places where you can add information when you are submitting a page on social bookmarking sites:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags

Your keywords should be placed in all three of them. Note that the title usually becomes the anchor text that is used in the resulting link so it seems to be the most important element to get exposure.

Digg

One of the most popular and democracy-driven social networking sites is Digg. Most probably, the biggest advantage for marketers is its amazing traffic: over 1 million users, 25 million visitors a month, and between 10,000-60,000 visitors in a 24 hour period.

Users can submit articles, images and videos and this content is being promoted to the front page based on popularity. Technology, politics, and business are amongst the successful topics.

If you want to be recognized, it is important to distinguish yourself by using avatar. Find active friends and pay attention not always the same people to Digg your content.

Reddit

People submit content and it can be voted up or down. Reddit uses a Karma ranking system. It’d be better to build some Karma before trying to submit your own content. The title is vital on Reddit because of the lack of descriptions and it is what actually sells the story.

Both Reddit and Digg bring lots of traffic but what makes these two sites different from each other is their users’ behavior. Digg users prefer commenting on their site rather than on the actual source and their comments rarely contribute much to the topic. In contrast, Reddit users like to comment on the both places and their comments are much more purposeful.

Del.icio.us is a community-oriented social bookmarking site which provides opportunities to store your bookmarks and share them with your friends or the community as a whole.

To be successful with Delicious, you should research and get ideas for the content you will create. Your choice of title and tags need special attention. Another important step to take is to identify key people and early adopters in your sector and connect with them.

Del.icio.us provides an option allowing users to automatically have their bookmarks published to their blogs. That is why, Delicious gives strong results for link building campaigns, especially for those popular pages that reach the front page of Delicious.

StumbleUpon.

StumbleUpon is used mostly by males and 45-54 year-olds. There are over 12,000 visitors a day and traffic keeps coming. Along with generating a huge amount of traffic, StumbleUpon is also good for branding.

All you need is to install the toolbar with the Stumble buttons. Then, start stumbling. Creating a good title is not as essential as it is on some other social bookmarking sites. Without an initial review almost no traffic is sent because your post won’t be found by the other regular stumblers when they are looking at their recent reviews.

Add friends and use them in a reasonable manner. You have to rotate your friends to keep up the effectiveness of their votes. So constantly pick up new friends.

You could send messages to all your friends suggesting great pages by using “SendTo” button. Your friends can't use the SU toolbar again until they view what you’ve sent. If they write a review, it will be seen by their friends as well.

Traffic from StumbleUpon and del.icio.us tends to increase for the first few days then it weakens but keep coming.

 

We will continue to post information on how to get the most out of social media sites. So stay focused. If you like to contribute with opinion or you are willing to share your personal experience with social media and there are topic you want to be covered, feel free to email at elena@devstart.com.

Hopefully, we will see you at Facebook.


                



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