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February 27, 2008

Wonder Twins: SEO & Social Media Marketing

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The sign of a truly classy conference? Miniature pastries. Yum! Have I mentioned how great the food (other than breakfast) is here? Now that lunch is merely a fond memory, it’s time for some good old fashioned superheroing.

Wonder twin powers, activate! Shape of marketing synergy! Vanessa Fox (Search Engine Land) is the Batman to this Justice League of speakers Barbara “Wonder Woman” Boser, (3 Dog Media), Rand “Martian Manhunter” Fishkin (SEOmoz, Inc.), Michael “Aquaman” Gray, (Atlas Web Services) and Neil “Green Lantern” Patel (Advantage Consulting Services). (No, there’s no significance to the identities assigned. Yes, I thought about doing Buffy characters instead.)

Rand Fishkin is up first. He loves social media marketing. He attributes SEOMoz’s popularity entirely to social media marketing. Is Oprah social media now? He says we’re going to fly. I think he’s doing this to make my life harder. Luckily it’s just an intro and you already know much of this stuff.

How does SMM do its work? It’s by interacting with communities. You’re creating and promoting viral content. He’s got a map of single men vs single women geographically and while it SAYS that there are single men in my area, I’ll tell you now that’s a lie.

Why is SMM valuable? It supports branding and mindshare. [He's got pictures though technically his mindshare picture is a mindmeld but E for effort.] It helps with traffic and conversions goals as well.

Why has social media become important?

  • Participation is up 668 percent
  • Blogosphere engagement is 30 percent in the 18-34 demographic and 34 percent of influencers are reading blogs in the US. In Japan it’s incredibly high.

He revisits the history of search. Oh, hey Superman! (The real one, not Brandon Routh or Tom Welling.)

Many link techniques were eventually diffused and it became harder to spam (except for “the guys at the back of the room” — Todd and Greg. [Hey, I didn't say it. Rand did.])

So how do you get links now that people are reluctant to link? You have to read them through the linkerati? It’s not browsers or customers, it’s the people who are in social networks and who are spreading content to all their friends and connections.

As Rand sits down to take a breath, Neil Patel jumps up for his part of this session. He’s going to be doing case studies. I’ll just give you the non-specific stuff.
Big site marketed using:

  • Photo sharing
  • Social news
  • Social networks
  • Blogs

They had deep pockets so they were able to pay bloggers to talk about them as well.

People in the social space are young and kinda stupid. So they will link to things that are dumb and somewhat lame.

Barbara Boser is up next. She’s Neil’s biggest fan.

She got into social media in August. She’s had over 60 articles hit the Digg front page and she’s a top Stumbler.

There are hundreds of social media site on the Web. Obviously there’s only one Digg and the rest of them don’t even compare but you can use the same guidelines in most places. In any community you have to commit and participate. It takes daily commitment. Be prepared to spend hours and hours your first two months. You want to read and learn what’s popular in the different communities. Build a reputation. See what sites are popular on the community. Mak sure your profile isn’t similar to any top user’s profile. Never self-promote, or at least don’t get caught if you do. Choose a unique name and avatar. Get a gmail account and IM for your unique name and use the same persona across all sites.

Start with the top users.
Add people with IMs and introduce them.
Add friends who are supportive.
Avoid high maintenance friends.
Be one of the first to vote.
If you think it’s going to be popular, leave a comment so that people will see it and vote.
Stumble while you vote.
Submit from a variety of sources.
Learn to write titles in a way that matches the community.
Don’t submit more than 2-3 stories a day.
Don’t take anything personally. People will take your content and your stories but that’s just how it is.

Networking:
List your site profiles
List your IM
Don’t use multiple accounts on the same IP
Don’t ask users that you don’t know to submit for you
Don’t be annoying.

Stumbleupon is good for long term traffic.

Michael Gray jumps up. He’s an eager beaver. He’s going to talk (very quickly) about Twitter and social media.

Social media friendly consumers are on the leading edge of technology. They’re comfortable with blogs, SMS, mobile.

When you play the news game it can bring a lot of traffic very quickly but the traffic will drop off. You need to try to convert them as soon as you can, get them to subcribe so they’ll come back. He shows a graph for [oscar fashions]. It’s a short lived term so you have to convert as you can.

Going green is a big topic now. So everyone wants to see how people are doing green things. Jump on fads to get attention.

Twitter is a younger crowd mostly.

Using Twitter for marketing.
-permissive marketing to reach bleeding edge customers
-takes advantage of pull technology
-subscriptions are controlled by the users
As traffic generation:
-tie your blog into your twitter account
-post news or information with link to encourage sub
-beg your twitter friends fro votes

As a sales channel:
-drive customers to products or offers
-high CTR from 8-16 percent
-you can schedule tools to promot and publish links to coordinate with your other marketing efforts

Use twitter to keep in touch. Reply to anyone replying directly to you, it’ll prove you’re human and it’s quick and easy because you only have 140 characters.

News people using Twitter: NYT, Orlando Sentinels
Sales channels: JetBlue, Southwest, Amazon, Woot

Tips for getting the most out of Twitter
-build your profile before you try to build friends
-decide on the blend of information and sale messages
-use tools to post and automate as much as possible

He prefers Jana over Zan, because Zan’s powers are ridiculous. Just so you know.

Vanessa talks about using RSS to track buzz on your company via twitter. Whatever piece of viral marketing you’re doing, make sure you have hooks back into the rest of your site. You can build your customer base that way.

Michael points out What Would Seth Godin Do? It’s a wordpress plugin that will allow you to customize messages on your blog.

Q&A

How do people appeal outside of their niche?

Rand: There are infinite ways to reach out to people on the Web. Find something that’s truly interesting and you can still make an impact. If you see something interesting, just stumble it or digg it.

Michael: Some people don’t have a sense of humor and if you don’t have a sense of humor you’re going to have a harder time getting into social media.

Vanessa says Greg Boser isn’t allowed to ask Barbara questions.

I didn’t catch the question but the answer is:

If you have six people on the same IP, you’re going to get banned. Period. Don’t vote from the office, vote from home. Set up IP routing if you’re voting from the office.

Barbara: Vote for other things while you’re voting.

Michael: Schedule your voting to get things popular during the day.

Rand: Best times to go popular on Digg is Tuesday morning at 12 pm Eastern time. You want to get in front of bloggers and that’s when they’re checking.

What is the most effective social media site

Rand: YouTube — Potentially the most powerful because you can reach literally tens of millions of people. Digg has the potential for a 100,000 people at most. But YouTube has the potential for Millions.
Neil: Facebook — The traffic is continual and there’s no Matt Cutts to ban you.
Barbara: Stumbleupon — The traffic is good and you can get traffic on older posts and it’s quite a bit friendlier.
Michael: DiggStumbleuponDelicious — Disqualified for not giving ONE answer.

Rand: I’m worried that this sounds like we’re making this sound like spam. If you submit spam, you’re going to get buried. Your content is going to live or die on the quality of its content. Yeah, you can spam but it’s not going to be very effective. Spam away at the beginning but you can’t spam social media like you can spam Google.

[Lights just went out. They're blaming Greg.]

Vanessa: You want to engage people who are useful, so it’s worth spending the time doing good content. Spamming doesn’t really help you because you’re looking to pull people in and talk about you.

Michael: I like to plan where I’m going to put something so I’m not just always throwing it in off beat stories.

Are there strategies you can employ to help influence the anchor text?

Rand: Yes, we register new domains or sub-domains.

Neil: Yes, make the title whatever you want. Post

Michael: If it’s a controversial subject, hate on it. Google doesn’t care about intention.

Have you seen a backlash on social media regarding spam/smm?

Rand: We used to manipulate a lot more than we do now. Now we focus on making the content really really really good. You don’t have to manipulate as much.

Neil: If you want to spam, keep on spamming. It’s a numbers game. Get in there early.

[Vanessa: Matt do you want to come up here?
Rand: Matt doesn't know how to spam social sites.]

Selling products on social media

Rand: Tailor products to the audience. Apple Air is about the only one that’s really popular.

Vanessa: Will It Blend? Sells lots of blenders because of their social media content. Also make the twist on the product interesting. Check out thegoat.backcountry.com.

If the demographic for you target audience skews older is there any way to get through through social media?

Rand: If you’re Charles Schwab and you’re trying to read 55+, you’re not going after them on Digg. You’re going to craft content for the linkerati who aren’t your audience.

Neil: Try eons.com

Vanessa: Facebook is moving older now.

Rand: YouTube is everyone.

What were some of the hardest lessons you had to learn?

Barbara: I think you really have to separate yourself from your social profiles. You should stay as anonymous. I was surprised by how much time it took. And it’s very addictive.

Neil: One of the smart things Barbara did was using the same nickname and avatar across sites.

Barbara: If you have a corporation, register your social identity just to protect it. You don’t want someone else pretending to be you.

Don’t be super obvious.

Is social media useful for B2B?

Rand: SEOMoz is entirely B2B. It’s extremely useful. You just need to make sure that your audience is participating in that space.

Michael: Go after the crazy stuff just to get the links.

Sphinn–has it been effective?

Michael: Yeah, it’s good stuff and the moderators know all the tricks so they catch stuff.

Rand: Moz gets on Sphinn a lot. I like it for finding new blogs. Signal to Noise is very high on the noise right now unfortunately. However, I read it everyday and some posts are useful.

Vanessa: Isn’t that the case for most sites? You should submit good stories!

Neil: I disagree with Rand. For a lot of the users it’s good, new content. Just not for experts.

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One response to “Wonder Twins: SEO & Social Media Marketing”

  1. Ricky writes:

    I agree to this ” One of the most important qualities of a successful SEO is a drive and ability to keep up with the ever-changing search space. ” So my answer to the question: Is it now a necessity for an SEO to have practical social media skills? Is simply NO



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