Since the social web allows you to interact with others, create and promote content that can get links and viral attraction, you can – with the right strategy – reach key influencers using this medium. We all know what blogs alone can do, and they are pretty search engine friendly out of the box.
Social media expansion is important because this provides foundations for broader / faster mindshare, along with supporting your search engine marketing objectives. You *can* convert traffic if you target appropriately (research needed), and do not spam. Read each point below to get a deeper understanding.
Tip #1 – Assistance: Limit talking about yourself, at least initially – provide ways to help others instead. This is probably the most important tip in the social media workplace. Say you are building your new del.icio.us profile, make sure to bookmark other useful resources and sprinkle yourself lightly. It’s about “them”, not “you”. Don’t forget this important rule!
Tip #2 – Process: Don’t become a “me too” – establish a process and goals for how to get there. I recommend reading 5 pillars for one, and much like SEO programs that have a process (keyword research, competitive review, content analysis, etc), build out a similar map. Too many companies dive in too fast, with no real plan and they are simply peeing in the pool, and no good results come from that.
Tip #3 – Contribute: Be the one to create (quality) content. While community is Queen in Social Media, quality content is still King, and always will be. Studies show that people are reading much online, but a much smaller group is contributing content. This can mean good opportunities for you.
Tip #4 – Connect: Reach out to the influencers in your niche, be polite, honest, sincere, and you’d be amazed what brand advocates can do for you.
Tip #6 – Blog: Make sure you have setup a blog. These numbers are not to be overlooked. I think Technorati is tracking over 110 million blogs now, and growing at a furious pace, even excluding splogs (spam blogs).
Tip #7 – Links: Don’t be afraid to link out to other blogs and websites in general. Links are what search engines and users make good use of – and search engines would not survive without them. Give others the love too.
Tip #8 – Videos: Video consumption is growing fast. Create a “how to…” or “top tips…” videos and submit to YouTube. It has wide reach, and you could have millions of people see it. For even wider distribution, you should try tubemogul.com or vidmetrix.com, tools to help automate. In generating all content, make sure to keep #1 rule in check. It’s fine to brand with a URL at the end of the video, but no direct selling. Humor, controversy and weird stuff works very well, keep that in mind – don’t be afraid to test.
Tip #9 – Technorati: You said you have a blog, right? Claim your blog at Technorati. This will ensure you are indexed in their search engines for blogs and updates are broadcast across the network, along with your own blog network updates. This happens behind the scenes from automatic “pings”.
Tip #10 – Analytics: Open an account from list below, use your brand name as identifier. This will establish your brand or company name, and not let anybody else assume or steal your personality so easily. Then, work with one or two from the list below to start, and don’t go too fast. Look at your web analytics and track referring domains and review traffic movements daily, weekly.
Tip #11 – Feeds/Research: Subscribe to feeds, and use iGoogle, My Yahoo Web or other favorite RSS readers. Watch for changes (use Google.com/alerts also), and be the first to comment and engage in your topic. First commenters often get more visibility and traction.
Tip #12 – MicroCommunities: Locate and join microcommunities – they are social communities that are relevant to your business. Some examples are education.com, nowpublic.com, travbuddy.com, gardenweb.com, shoetube.com, yelp.com and care2.com (non profits). It is much easier to have your voice heard in these and similar markets, than trying a post to Digg that may go nowhere. Those are the perfect places for the “big fish in a small pond” rule. Create highly relevant and linkworthy content, research what others are writing about, and connect with the top players and influencers.
Tip #13 – Submit: Review the resources below, and consider building out profiles over time. If you submit content, make sure it’s useful, unique and that the title of your post stands out. Pick one or two resources to start, and don’t overextend yourself. Some of the top social marketers in the industry spend 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. This is a lot of manual (social) labor, but you don’t have to go at it that hard. Make sure to ask friends to vote or comment on your postings, befriend others, but no spam. Make intelligent posts and do not have your company employees post from the same location (IP Address). The submission(s) will most likely be rejected, and worst case, your account blocked or suspended.
Tip #14 – Hosting: Have a good hosting provider. If traffic spikes come, and your server instrastructure cannot handle it, you are toast. You don’t want a Digg server melt-down (fun pic). Here’s a first hand story and how to deal with it.
Tip #15 – Monitoring: If you want to save time monitoring across many resources within the social networks, try the new Yahoo Pipes, it’s a social monitoring desktop in a browser.