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Posts Tagged ‘social bookmarking’

How Come StumbleUpon Isn’t Working for ME?

I have been asked this question on more than one occasion, and in true “Old School” fashion, rather than answering everyone individually, I like to take the opportunity to create a blog post to answer the question.

First, lets talk about your goals. If your goal is to just promote your website on website, then you have failed to understand the purpose of Social Networking. Social networking is the equivalent to offline networking; with the exception that it can be done from your computer. Your goal “should” be to meet people in your industry and people that share your common interests in en effort to mutually benefit one another.

So How Does One Get Started?
It’s pretty simple actually. Build a profile – a REAL profile. There has been lots of talk in the blogosphere lately about people who use fake pictures on their profiles. That’s no different than meeting someone in the real world and giving them a fake name – it’s bogus and it doesn’t fly online either. Would you introduce yourself as a “Trump”, “Bush” or “Rockefeller” in real life, just so people would think you are important? If your answer is yes, I will have my wife call you – she is a THERAPIST. The right is answer is NO, it’s not acceptable behavior. The same goes online. If you aren’t willing to divulge who you are online, then Social Networking isn’t for you.

Secondly, reach out and make some friends. You can search by topic, but the best way I have found is by viewing peoples Stumble Upon profile as listed on their blog, or viewing the profiles of those who like the same articles as I do on Stumble Upon.

What if it Doesn’t Work?
My guess is that you are guilty of one of the following:

1. You are primarily promoting your own website. That’s the equivalent to going to a party and just handing people your business card and walking away without showing interest in them or what they do. You will get the same reponse online – not much.

2. You are a “waver”. You may just thumb up other people’s websites and never review them. That’s the guy or gal who goes to a party and just waves at every body without ever talking to them. No one gets to know them, and therefore no one ever refers anyone to them.

3. You are networked with the wrong people. If you have friended people that are interested in nothing you are interested in, they won’t care about your website or anything you send them. If they haven’t logged in for a month or so, they don’t know you exist. That’s like being friends with the guy that never shows up at a party. People start to think you have imaginary friends. Or if you see a “silhouette” where they once had a picture, they could be under investigation for allegedly breaking one of Stumble Upon’s rules/

4. Your profile seems like it’s a fraud.
I have had people “friend” me and when I look at their profile it look like a knock out of a woman, and then the description says it’s a guy. Well, cross dressers aren’t on my list of related or interested topics, but that’s not even what it’s about. It’s a lame attempt for someone to try and lure me into becoming an “Stumble Upon Friend” by using sex. Sorry – it doesn’t work. Perhaps if I were single, or just trying to find parties it might work, but for me, Stumble Upon is about building professional relationships, sharing quality content, and finding new and interesting sites, blogs, and news stories.

5. You aren’t making the transition away from Stumble Upon. Social Networking is like online dating; if all you do is chat online, you’ll never go out with anyone. Make it clear what you are looking for from those you are networked with – ask for the order. Send someone an offline email (what – give a stranger my email address?). If they are strangers, then you haven’t built an online relationship with them. Even better, set up a phone call with someone to talk about business.

I hope that helps. Feedback and comments are welcomed.

Successful Social Media Marketing Without a Website or Blog

I recently had a chat with a colleague about promoting a client using social media. Initially I thought it would be a great opportunity but when I found out what industry this person served (not your everyday market) I had to put my thinking cap on to think of out of the box ways to use Social Media to help promote this site. The real kicker came in when I found out that there wasn’t a website (or blog) to work with, which made me have to think even harder.

Never wanting to give up and always seeking to be creative we just started to “think out loud”. The idea of promoting other sites that this guys stuff was sold on came up, but I wasn’t so excited about that. Then I thought “what is the simplest way to create content exclusively for this person without having to employ lots of monitoring (i.e. friend requests, comment management, etc)?” Here is what I came up with:

1. Create a Squidoo Lense. While some may argue the ads are distracting, Squidoo has certainly been an effective medium for many to build a home on the web. A big advantage is that the Squidoo network is pretty solidly trusted by search engines and is gaining consumer popularity. Secondly, they don’t seem to have the blog-spam issues that many blogs suffer from and while there is a certain amount of interaction desired, it seems less cumbersome than with a blog.

2. Get Blog Reviews. I don’t mean paid blog reviews either, but I believe every good online marketer should have industry bloggers that they can turn to when they want an unbiased product review. If you serve a niche market exclusively, you might be able to pull it off yourself, but it would run the risk of bias or concern from other clients, so anonymity, might be in order here.

3. Create a Single Page Website. I always encourage people to have some sort of online real estate. Websites can be costly to build, especially if you want them to look decent and have lots of bells and whistles, but at a minimum, I would recommend putting a simple “about me/us” page with either a logo or a picture if it is promoting an individual.

4. Leveraging Social Bookmarking Sites. Do you remember #4? Now you have “something” to work with in terms of Social Media sites. You might have thought that was the purpose of the Squidoo page, but some people frown on promoting Social Media Sites or other Social Media Sites. I personally don’t think it is 100% taboo, but I understand the caution behind it given that if people can abuse a method of online promotion, they often do.

5. Leverage Social Media Networks. Do some research to find niche social media sites that would welcome content or reviews for the site, product, or service you are promoting. Next, add a Facebook profile (if you or your client doesn’t already have one) and build a Facebook page making both the profile and the page public. Lastly, consider doing a MySpace page and starting a MySpace group for your niche. Keep in mind that success on MySpace is often combined with lots of “maintenance” such as seeking friends to add, seeking groups to join, and monitoring friend requests and comments.

6. Use Public Relations (PR). The way media relations are handled is very different than before blogging and Social Media were such a big item. I would find a way to create news about an upcoming launch or product/service offering and leverage your press contacts (which should include trusted industry bloggers) and seek to not only get your press release picked up, but have a goal of being interviewed on noted industry blogs and mainstream media venues.

7. Hold a Contest. Let bloggers, colleagues, friends, and media contacts know about it and someone (if not many) will pick it up and run with it.

8. Go Viral. Closely related to promoting a contest would be promoting some sort of “freebie” – perhaps an ebook, a download, an MP3, a even a coupon for a deep discount. Anything that would get people excited enough to visit your website and most of all tell others about the giveaway.

Having a website and a blog are clearly the top ways to leverage social media because you get plenty of opportunities to provide much desired content to those you network with, which ultimately is pushed out to those that they network with. Once you have made your headway with the initial 8 steps mentioned, I would take the time to build out the single page website, maybe adding some articles to it and then try and push for a blog. A no-comment blog is better than no blog at all if keeping maintenance and monitoring down is truly an issue. Hopefully the success will be able to wake up the client enough to want to invest time in building community by opening comments and interacting with their audience (read – prospective clients).

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