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October 17, 2007

SMX Social Media, Day 2

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The Lisa’s thoughts, impressions and ramblings on the sessions that made up Day 2 of Search Marketing Expo’s Social Media show.

Spamming Social Networks is Not "Leveraging" Them

Okay, kind of disappointed with this one and the flurry of text messages and Facebook wall messages I received this morning tell me I’m not the only one.

Dave McClure was part of this morning’s Effectively Leveraging Social Networking panel (along with Helen M. Overland and Cindy Krum) and gave a presentation on how to integrate Facebook into your marketing strategy.

Dave McClure was actually one of the reasons I wanted to attend this show, but now I’m glad I wasn’t there. I probably would have stood up and started yelling. Why? Because Dave essentially gave a presentation on how to spam Facebook (Dave later clarified his comments, which you can read about here). Not cool, especially when you consider that many of the people in the audience were SEOs–SEOs who are on Facebook and don’t want their community spammed.

Dave explained how you if you want someone to see something (a note, photo, video, etc) you can tag it with their name and then they’ll see it. Okay. Hopefully you’re only doing that if that people tagged are actually in the photo.

I’m sure I’ll elaborate on all this a little later in a separate blog post, but for now I’ll just say this. Trying to leverage social network sites for your marketing campaign is great. Spamming them and becoming a nuisance instead of a contributor is not. The end.

Recaps: Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land

Evangelist – The Marketer’s Role in SMM

After the morning’s first session, this one seemed like a breath of fresh air.

I really like Rob Key’s statement that the role of a search marketer in social media is one of a cultural anthropologist. It’s about entering the various social sites, learning about the communities that exist there, and speaking their language.

I was really impressed to hear how Rob’s company was using Second Life in their marketing campaign. It seems like that space is starting to become really powerful for visibility, assuming you do it right, which it sounds like Rob’s company definitely is. Rob explained a bit about what his company did (again I wasn’t there so I’m stealing SER’s coverage):

"We became active and started understanding the community ethos. We spoke to elders and asked what to do with the community. We learned that environmentalism is important so we started a virtual tree initiative…The accolades came in from the global community and the Second Life community – they took ownership of it in their own way. People started to do things with programs that we haven’t even fathomed. Let people start to own it. They started talking about dedicating trees to people who passed away in their memories. It became viral. Fifty thousand pages were indexed in search. American Express Member’s Project selected this as a finalist. "

Awesome.

Another thing that struck me was Adam Sherk talking about how smaller companies are better equipped to take advantage of social media because they can react to stuff quicker than big brands can who have to go through legal and PR and all that nonsense. Totally true.
Recaps: Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land

Finding Topic-related Micro Communities

I’ll be the first one to admit that I really had no idea what a micro community was before I read the recap for this session (I’m super smart!). Now that I’ve been educated, I can proudly say that I knew what it was, I just didn’t know it was called. 

The most impressive thing about this session: Rand’s awesome overview of a bunch of the micro communities out there, including Care2, LibraryThing, Trulia, PeerTrainer, donorChoose, ThinkVitamin, Minti, DeviantArt, Threadless, Corkd, imbee, Virb, Wayfaring, CouchSurfing, Wikihow, Helium, Etsy, Avvo, Urbis, BakeSpace, FoodCandy, and of course, our own Sphinn.

Micro communities are super beneficial because of their ability to promote your brand. Participating in the community not only increases your exposure, but it helps you to brand yourself as an industry expert. Look at how people have been able to use Sphinn to market both themselves and their companies. It puts your name, face and brand in front of the people who matter most – your customers, as well as other industry experts. There’s no substitute for that kind of exposure.

Search Marketing Gurus’ Liana Evans was also on the panel and brought up a great point about "fishing where the fish are". To be successful, search marketers need to find the micro communities that are best suited for them. Help narrow down the growing number of sites by considering membership numbers, topical focus, relevance, and how leverage-able the features are.

Recaps: Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land

Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers & Answer Sharing

You didn’t think you’d make it through the end of a social media conference without talking about Wikipedia, did you? Don’t be silly.

If you do want to hear all about the wonderfulness that is Wikipedia, you’re going to have to read the actual recaps. I’m not going to mention it.

For me, the awesomeness from this panel came from Matt McGee’s presentation on Yahoo! Answers. I knew Yahoo! Answers was a popular platform and that lots of people used it (I actually called upon it last night to see if black ants bite. Turns out they do), but I had no idea that it has made them the number 2 reference site on the Web or that it earned a 56 percent year over year growth. That’s massive.

Also impressive was that, according to Matt, Yahoo! Answers has brought the highest amount of new visitors with the lowest bounce rate to his site than any other source. Yowsa, those are some high-quality visitors. Also mentioned during the session is that search marketers should take advantage of the Answers RSS feed to help them stay up-to-date on industry-related topics.

Very smart. I think I know which site I’ll be playing with after I get off work tonight. Because yes, I do my work experimenting on my own time. Nerd? Yeah, that would be me.

Recaps: Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal

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