So Digg has finally integrated with Facebook Connect and supposedly the online world is going ga-ga over this new functionality. Basically, if you are a member of either Digg or Facebook Connect, you now have the option to access the other and integrate the two identities. This allows you to have one identity to maintain it all and because that identity will be Facebook, you will retain your supporting profile information such as school, workplace, etc.
Cool stuff, right? Eh, not so fast!
Perhaps people DON`T want to blend their identities together. A lot of people want anonymity so that they may comments on something without ticking off a boss, co-worker, or even a family member. These people want anonymity so that they can just express an opinion without letting those same opinions affect their lives in a negative way. In this “information age of hanging all dirty laundry out in publich, you`d agree that getting fired or divorced because something you said wasn`t quite to the liking of your boss or spouse would be the pits.
I feel that “anonymity” encourages participation. I`ve found many simple and completely non-controversial comments on my blogs making me even wonder why they were anonymous. This leads me to believe that not everyone wants to be a “proclaimer” online, many just want to add their two cents to a discussion, while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.
So I`m not quite sure how I feel with all this integration that`s happening between the various social media websites out there. I`m sure that those who want to remember only one password, one login, etc. are probably enjoying on this.
Personally, I`m not shy about posting comments but and although I`ve never resorted to anonymous opines on any topic, I certainly see how someone else could want to have the safety net that “being anonymous” brings to them.
Folks, let me tell you something, Stumble traffic is serious traffic. What I mean is that the visitors coming through StumbleUpon.com are the ones who are really interested in your website or blog and therefore that traffic is considered valuable traffic. The whole premise under which StumbleUpon.com operates is that it allows you to find interesting content on the subject of your choice.
It is assumed that if someone landed on a website by going through StumbleUpon.com then it`s only because they were interested in the content of the website they were visiting. So if you are the owner of the website being visited by a stumbleupon.com visitor, you have generated enough interest to intrigue that visitor.
Just one more click before you go to sleep…
Once a stumbleupon.com visitor reaches your website, he or she then has an opportunity to rate you. The more positive votes or “thumbs-ups” you get, the more preferential treatment you will earn on StumbleUpon.com. That`s because as a reward for the numerous thumbsup you receive, the system will elevate your blog or article to feature it more prominently for other StumbleUpon visitors.
I know this is too clichéd, but I can`t help myself from saying “Content is King” and even more so on social media platforms like stumbleupon.com. If you can write well and present your information well, stumbleupon.com makes sure that your content gets enough visibility through their “thumbsup” system that it feels like you`ve arrived.
Barack Obama started using social media and the marketing gurus went “Oh my God, he`s a genius, now all we have to do is use his name to promote this and voila, clients will be lining up to buy social media marketing (SMM) services”. Well, it didn`t quite happen that way. And the wonderful case study that was “Presidential candidate Barack Obama” now became a not-so-active name on various online portals including, Twitter, where from November 2008 to May 2009, his twitter update has had five posts. Yep, only five posts in six months.
So what is happening in the Social Media world right now?
Well, first of all, social media website use has exploded with millions of people using popular Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and dozens of others. I personally “play” and “work” on many but my favorites remain Twitter and Facebook.
Celebrities and politicians seem to have found a way to pontificate one-way to their audiences. I say pontificate because most of these are rarely engaged in a two-way discussion, more times sending out their updates but not really engaging with others who may wish to interact with them. Politicians and celebrities across the globe have taken their messages to their fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook.
However, millions of users and dozens of so-called SMM experts later, I find that small business remain offline and positively scared of using social media websites.
The business owners I interact with when I`m speaking at an event or when I`m networking offline (yes I still do that) are concerned about using social media websites to promote themselves. They are worried about the lack of privacy and a misconception that they need to be technically savvy to use such websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. These same business owners also mention lack of time and lack of trained “marketing” resources which prevent them from taking the social media marketing plunge.
For marketers, social media marketing means a huge opportunity. The opportunity comes from being able to demonstrate actual results to end clients in the form of visibility and generated buzz.
For small businesses who have taken the social media marketing plunge, it means visibility at low cost. For everyone, Social Media Marketing means; buzz, visibility, website traffic and leads, assuming SMM is executed properly.
Social media marketing is here to stay and can bring tremendous value to those who know how to leverage it. From gaining new clients, to gaining visibility, branding, and credibility, not to mention leads, social media marketing is one activity that everyone needs to”find” time for and “create”a budget for.As an individual seeking a new job or as a business seeking new clients, here are some very basic yet very key strategies to keep in mind when embarking on the social media marketing journey:
1. Reap what you sow: This saying applies very well to Social Media Marketing. If you don`t begin leveraging social media websites to promote yourself or your business and especially if your competition is, you`ll be left behind in the dust of their visibility & buzz.
2. Make Time: Either Make time for social media marketing for yourself / business OR find an expert who can do it for you. Not doing anything is not an option. Find a marketer who knows social networking.
3. Land your next opportunity: Remember the impression you want to cultivate online. You wouldn`t go to a face-to-face networking meeting and complain “how tired you are”, “how sleepy you are” etc. Then don`t do it online either. Online networking has reached a new level and you need to show your “networking” savvy by creating an impression which will land you the next opportunity, a new client or whatever you seek.
4. Don`t end up in jail or unemployed: If you don`t want to end up fired or end up in jail, be careful about what you say online. Professional behavior should be the norm (even for teenagers who don`t realize the impact of what they put out there on Facebook). Prospective employers, prospective clients, current clients, and anyone who wants to look you up, can and will. Once you`ve put something out there, it is out there forever.
5. Frequency matters just as much as content: Blogging once a month or writing a tweet once every week or posting a FB status once every other day is not the way to grow your visibility. All marketing activities require frequency, consistency, and long-term effort. You wouldn`t expect one advertisement in the Detroit Free Press to generate leads immediately or ongoing. Similarly, online marketing requires consistent, frequent, and long-term effort.
Again, remember, not doing anything is not an option.
Just like email and voicemail, yes, those now archaic technologies that we don`t even think about; texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging, and audio & video podcasting are all slowly becoming mainstream. Social media marketing is also fun, quick, and a cost-effective way to get visibility and it provides the ability to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world.
Implement Social Media Marketing correctly and you`ll find that practice does make us perfect!
If you`ve been off the planet for the past two years, Twitter is a “Social Networking” tool which has grown from nothing to 25 million plus visitors and counting. I`ve discussed http://www.twitter.com in previous blogs but just to summarize,
Twitter is free, allows you to post an answer to the question “what are you doing” and only allows you to limit your answer to 140 characters. With more and more people joining and letting others know about “what they are doing”,Twitter.com has become of the most popular social networking tools out there. At least it is one of my favorite social networking websites immediately after Facebook.
The reason I`m pontificating about this is that last week the rumor mill was active with rumors of Apple`s interest in buying Twitter for $700 M. Geez, even if it this is a rumor, $700M made me go, “WHAT”?
Even though I love social networking on Twitter.com and have really enjoyed using it, I have along with others wondered where Twitter is headed. But as much fun as it is and as many users that it has, I fail to see anyone paying $700M for it.
I realize that there is power in having access to millions of users to market to. I also realize that monetizing twitter.com is a foregone conclusion.
But even if Twitter’s growth has been phenomenal, especially after Ashton Kutcher and Oprah brought it in the limelight in mid-April, is Twitter.com worth $700M?
It just boggles my mind that any company, no matter how successful it is, would consider spending its reserve cash in these times of severe, GLOBAL economic depression.
Will Apple make an offer? We`ll find out soon enough I guess. But even if Apple makes an offer, will Twitter CEO Evan Williams accept that offer? Remember, recently he turned down Google`s offer to buy Twitter. I mean who turns down Google, right? Don`t they own “Earth”? LOL. And if Google can be told to take a hike, does Apple really have a chance at buying twitter.com?
But then the million dollar question that begs being asked right now is, what exactly does CEO Evan Williams want to do with twitter.com?
Here’s what happened: Ashton Kutcher (actor) posted a tweet saying he could get to one million followers before CNN did.
Before anyone could say boo, twitterville (www.twitter.com) was abuzz with people tweeting about the race. Long story short, Ashton did make it to the finish line; but not as easily as he expected to and not before he had to throw in an incentive for people to follow him.
Yes, Ashton promised to donate $100K to the “No More Malaria Fund” if he got to one million followers before CNN. And although CNN said they’d match the donation, they still lost the race to Ashton.
Now, this was all fun and people got into the race because they either liked Ashton or hated CNN or were drawn in my the “donation to the malaria fund cause”. I myself decided to follow Ashton; but only after and because he offered the $100K donation for such a noble cause (eradicating malaria).
But the race highlighted that:
1. Spreading the word about a cause, initiative, or product using social websites is easier, quicker and less expensive than traditional marketing methods. It is viral marketing at its best; just post a tweet & voila!
2. Implementing cause marketing strategies is a sure bet to getting higher visibility to others. Cause marketing is when you let people know that if they buy from you; some of your proceeds would go towards a particular cause, charity, or non-profit.
3. The six-degrees of separation is perhaps now not even that far off – all you need is one connection to connect with pretty much anyone out there using the world wide web.
Bottom line? Use social networking & cause marketing to gain branding, visibility, feedback, and connections. The traffic and customers will come thereafter.