There's a lot of buzz lately about “social media.”
People are saying effective participation in sites such as StumbleUpon, Facebook and del.icio.us can lead to increased traffic, more customers and a stronger online reputation for you.
But what if you don't want these things? Here are a few tips guaranteed to help you alienate potential customers, damage your online reputation and annoy community members at any site you join.
Join as many social bookmarking sites as you can find. StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, Digg, Mixx, Sphinn, Fetch, Propeller, etc. Once there, invite everyone you can find to “connect.” You probably won't know very many of these people and they probably won't know you. Don't let that hold you back. You're counting on the law of averages. If you invite enough people to connect, eventually at least some of them will connect back, even though they don't know you from Adam's housecat. And you'll need to have a big enough audience to make it worth your while when you start submitting content to these sites. Quantity is the important concept. The quality of these so-called “friendships” is really not a concern, because you're not going to be wasting time with all that “interaction” stuff anyway.
Save time and energy when you submit content! Submit the exact same pages, with the exact same description, to all the social bookmarking and social news sites. Cut-and-paste is your friend here. Your time is valuable, there are a ton of these sites, and (if you're doing it right) you're a member of pretty much all of them. There's no point wasting time figuring out what sort of content is appropriate for each site. If the other members at a particular site don't like some of your submissions, that's not your problem. The point is, in order to not like it, they must have seen it to start with. And that's the whole idea — to be seen.
Crucial: only submit your own stuff, never anyone else's. Consistency is important, and you don't want to confuse anyone. Besides, your content is more important than theirs, anyway.
Submit every blog post, every article, every product page you create. Don't concern yourself with quality — once more, quantity should be your watchword. After all, you never know which specific item will interest people, and you want to make sure they're exposed to as much of your content as possible. It's that “being seen” thing again.
Every time you submit new content to social bookmarking sites, IM or email every one you know and ask them to “vote up” your submission. Don't waste time trying to figure out whether the article or post would be of interest to them, or even if they're a member of the particular social bookmarking site you're asking about. Let them sort it out for themselves. They won't mind, even if you end up pitching them several times for the same submission. In fact, they'll probably be flattered you've thought of them. (At least, that's what you can tell yourself.) If anyone complains, they're probably just jealous of how prolific you are.
As with the social bookmarking sites above, join every social networking site you can find (Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Naymz, etc.) and immediately start “friending” everyone you can. Do the same on Twitter. It's that law of averages thing again. Remember, the goal is simply to have as many “friends” as possible. Don't fret over how much time it might take to keep up with all these “friends.” You're not going to actually try to engage any of them in conversation. You simply want to make sure you have a looooong list of people to whom you can forward all your new product announcements, blog posts and other pearls of wisdom. If you automate your site updates properly, you may never need to log in to the networking site at all, except when you want to track down more victims “friends.”
Every time you write and post anything, also use Twitter to announce the update. Don't use Twitter for anything else (especially actual conversation) though. You don't want to dilute the impact of your new content announcements. Bonus hint: save time! There are “bots” or blog plugins you can install that will do this automatically for you, so you don't have to spend any time on it, or even log in to Twitter yourself, at all. Everybody knows Twitter is simply a waste of time anyway, so no point in using it in person and risking getting sucked in.
Use your “friend” lists on all those networking sites as secondary channels to incessantly pitch your content and beg for votes on the social bookmarking and social news sites. Because, of course, not everyone uses Twitter (yet), email can be unreliable and IM is inefficient (as you can only IM one person at a time — how lame is that?). This way, you can be sure your message will reach all your contacts, no matter what. People will appreciate your thoroughness.
Just follow these few simple steps, and you may never have to worry about the problems of overloading your server with excessive traffic from your social media marketing efforts or having “too many followers” on social networking sites.
Learn more about the ways Diane can help improve the performance and profitability of your business web site, or request a no-obligation personal consultation, by visiting www.NineYards.com.
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