There is a lot of buzz in 2008 around Social Media Marketing; a lot more than there was in 2007. Lots of organizations and individuals are experimenting on the possibilities of social media and networking sites as a means to drive traffic to their sites.
There is no secret ingredient !!!
Social media and their on-line participants behave mostly like communities and their members behave off-line; but many people still fail to see it.
By social media and networking sites, I mean sites that let their users socialize, communicate, participate in discussions and help one another. Those include not only giant social bookmarking places in the likes of del.icio.us, digg and stumbleupon but also forums and even smaller niche communities.
Here is some tips that I hope you find helpful. Some don't apply in all situations but most will probably look familiar from the off line world:
- Find a relevant community. Hanging out in a community irrelevant to your interests will get you nowhere. People will not be interested in you, your stories, your help or your services. Since for example I am involved in website development I am usually hanging out on webmasters forums a lot as well as in many other social places. Forums, most probably exist in all niches, I am sure its not going to be hard to find one of your interests.
- Be an active participant. You don't have to be a guru to participate. Most communities welcome newbies and questions. Questions give some of the more knowledgeable people the chance to prove their knowledge. But even newbies with thoughtful questions or observations can shine in any community. Be consistent with your frequency and try to be part of more than one community in order to be exposed to as many people as possible.
- Brand yourself. If possible choose one username across all networks and the same avatar. Choose ones that inspires you and stick with them for all of your online profiles. Using generic images for avatars could be misleading at times since other people might choose the same images. Some people use the names of their companies or blogs and that is fine with me. Individuals can use real names and images of themselves since it gives them more credibility. Use the profile page or the signature most places provide, to link to your website. Lots of traffic can result from these links.
- Share your discoveries, help others. Community leaders/celebrities are usually the ones that share their knowledge, their discoveries and anything that is relevant to the community. Sometimes they are the most helpful and make a name from that. They usually get quite a few hits to their sites as result of great posts they make. Discussing important issues or showing people great and useful sites will make people associate you with quality and strengthen your brand.
- Make friends; especially friends that have similar interests as you. Those friends will be more willing and interested in promoting you and your sites. Try to make friends that are active participants and have friends themselves. The more friends they have the more people you can get exposed to.
- Promote you friends stuff/sites. This tip mostly applies to social bookmarking sites the and voting on bookmarked sites. You can bookmark you own stuff there but, mostly let others do the promotions for you. Blunt self promoters are not liked by anyone even if they are brilliant minds. Voting on your friends stuff might actually entice them to promote your stuff in appreciation. But, remember try to give your votes on quality content.
The previous tips were partly inspired by the excellent posts of Dosh Dosh on The importance of Social Media and Darren Rowse's video blog on Social Media marketing tips for bloggers who are both gurus in this field.
Feel free to share your tips on how you have achieved your social media marketing successes.