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But Is The Traffic Any Good?


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#1 projectphp

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 09:17 PM

Unless a site sells CPM based advertising, traffic for traffic's sake is not really the goal.

Quality traffic, how ever it is defined in a specific situation, is by far the most important factor. this, in a nutshell, is what has made Search traffic so valuable. People want Blue widgets, I sell Blue widgets, they come to my site from search, pre-qualified lead :)

So what about Social Media? Is the traffic worth it? Does it actually have any direct benefit?

Seems to me that most articles on the subject talk about indirect benefits. You know, links. I have rarely, if ever, seen a mention of the incredible revenue generation potential of Social media sites, and you would think it would make at least some noise if true.

So, I want to ask, has anyone found social media traffic useful directly? We are all sold on the idea of links, so what is the direct usefullness of the traffic?

#2 BillSlawski

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 09:50 PM

We are all sold on the idea of links, so what is the direct usefullness of the traffic?


I think that we have to look at the social aspect of this kind of software, and the potential for relationship building that it brings with it. What are the direct benefits from:

Joining a Chamber of Commerce?

Going to a business mixer?

Attending an industry conference?

Being an unpaid speaker at a University Class?

Creating profiles in MySpace, MyBlogLog, Facebook, LinkedIn?

Participating in a forum?

Blogging?

Commenting on peoples' blogs

All of those are social activities, and perhaps their greatest currency is creating relationships and opportunities. While we look at something like traffic from Digg, it's the two or three positive comments we might receive in our blog, or the email from someone who might have found your site only through a front page post on Digg that we should measure, and perhaps treasure.

When we talk social networking, it's no longer a web site that is the center or "node" of activity, but rather the person behind a site or article, or the person behind the profile. The "links" aren't the ones pointing to pages, but rather the ties to others that might be made.

Sure, Google might give our pages based upon "popularity," and we might call the impact of that "reputation." With social networking and social media, it's our own popularity and our own reputation that takes the forefront.

Instead of a link, think of a handshake. I think that's the potential benefit of social media.

#3 Ruud

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 10:05 PM

...has anyone found social media traffic useful directly?


Yup. I find that new eyes click ads more so than regular visitors do.

Social media also gives me additional exposure. Some bookmark the site, some subscribe by email or RSS. Some forward the page by email or IM.

Even with bad conversion rates I think anyone can benefit from a traffic burst :)

#4 projectphp

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 01:58 AM

Yup. I find that new eyes click ads more so than regular visitors do.

Which is a massive plus for sites with advertising. Not so much for everyone else. Still a handy fact to mark down :)

Even with bad conversion rates I think anyone can benefit from a traffic burst

Not if:
a. your server goes down, and legitimate customers smiss out (has happenned to a few people).
b. The conversion rate is 0%.

So as long as the conversion rate is better than 0%, and the site doesn't crash, agreed, any traffic is good traffic :)

Instead of a link, think of a handshake. I think that's the potential benefit of social media.

To make the best decision, we need to be frank, honest and blunt about the pros and cons.

I agree wholeheartedly that Social Media is a massive move online, and has huge potential benefits. But I want, I need, to understand the full picture. Quite honestly, I don't believe anyone is providing that at th moment, in atttempts to jump on the Social Media bandwagon, without mentioning any pitfalls 9and there are always pitfalls).

What are the direct benefits in:

They are all excellent examples Bill of cases where direct benefit isn't the only or main benefit. However, the overall benefit is well defined and understood and used to justify the decision inspite of, not because of, any direct benefit.

With Social Media, there really isn't any sort of balance or help in decision making of the "inspite of" type. Sp, waht is the full picture here? specifically:
1. What are the benefits - all of them, no matter how small.
2. What do they cost (time, money, effort, privacy etc).
3. What are the negatives? Is the traffic any good, does it convert well? What is likely to cause server crashes etc etc.
4. What situations and industries are worth it more than others (tech vs stay at home moms etc etc)?

If the traffic from Social Media and tagging sites isn't any good, and my guess is that it isn't because it is unmotivated traffic, that fact needs to be understood. I may be happy to trade that for say a few links, but that decision can't be made if I don't realise the traffic is not any good.

The benefits of cumminty are partly down to personal preference. I personally like engaging in certain communities, but I wonder why so many people divulge so much about themselves. If I were to recommend Social Media as a strategy to someone, I would need to be frank in the time commitments it takes, and the expected returns for that time

Now that we have a social media and tagging forum, I really want to get to the bottom of what exactly the pros and cons are. So far, to me, it seems like there may be a slight boost in advertising revenue, the community aspect and the potential for new marketing opportunities in specific communities.

Now we just need a "devil's Advocate" to provide some more of the cons :)

Edited by Ruud, 28 February 2007 - 01:19 PM.


#5 kh7

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 12:52 PM

I would say the traffic itself is its own reward. It gets exposure. Some people bookmark the site. Since it's usually web savvy people that use social media sites (myspace excluded perhaps), they will be more likely to show other people to your site.

#6 eKstreme

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 01:51 PM

Social traffic tends to pay later down the line. On my blogs, the most popular posts garner links in a great initial burst, and then are referenced in posts months down the line. It's awareness like no other.

Example: I wrote up a (really) long post about how we have evidence of humans evolving. It's still getting referenced around the web whenever the subject of evolution and humans are raised. That's a good position to be in - the "authoritative" post on a subject. All thanks to reddit and digg.

Pierre

#7 iamlost

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 04:25 PM

A Social Media Site [SMS] - or section within a site (think Amazon reviews) - is a framework to hold some type(s) of user contributed content. To succeed it must generate a committed (fanatic?) user base.

By definition social groups tend to homogenisation. To grow in overall size a SMS must deliberately splinter into subgroups or it will lose cohesion and bleed users.

To really benefit from SMS traffic it is important to differentiate the various frameworks and subgroups by demographics, focal (interest) points, 'member' numbers, 'viewer' numbers, update frequency, growth patterns, etc.

* The closer your site niche/topic to the targeted SMS subgroup the higher the return numbers (bookmarking) and the quality of resulting backlinks.
* Also the more likely a positive response - site reputation is important to many advertisers.
* The greater the number of members, their involvement, and subgroup growth the longer your investment-involvement will pay out.
* not all sites match well or benefit from any SMS interest, links, and traffic. Know not only what you doing but why. Without a well defined and understood 'why', don't. Without a defined, understood 'how', don't.

I am not a believer in traffic for volumes sake. It is a viable business model - so hold the flames - just not mine. Almost all the graphs I have seen posted showing SMS traffic spikes and claimimg lasting traffic effects actually show reversion to the pre-spike growth line. The exceptions are when both the visiting subgroup and the site share fundamental interests, not just the attention grabber of the day.

Surprise! Quality remains quality, even in Social Media. What is different is the ability to target groups not just individuals. For those of us who take the time to aim.

For the record: I spent the last half of last year treating SMS as amorphous entities and while the traffic spikes were often huge (thank you load balancing and on the ball hosts) the benefits were a ROI disaster. The last couple of months I have been defining subgroups and site matching with (initial) favourable results. The traffic spikes are significantly lower, the traffic growth line holds higher after, bookmarked traffic holds higher after, and new backlinks deliver higher quality (converting) traffic. I like six months of analytics to confirm results but so far very good.

#8 brevetoxin

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 04:59 PM

I've been playing around with social media for around a month now. My efforts were centered around 2 events. One was Valentine's day and the other was the Oscars. The site is a blog solely monetized through pay per performance affiliate marketing. My normal conversion rate for the site is just over 1%.

1) Valentine's Day. I created a few "top ten gift" type posts for various groups of people and submitted them to Netscape. Two of the posts achieved top ranking on the Shopping channel for a period of several hours and my traffic roughly tripled over typical levels. My conversion rate from this traffic was about 5-10%.

2) Oscars. I created posts about the Academy Awards that related to the subject of the blog and submitted these to Netscape. Several of these articles achieved top position on the Celebrities channel of Netscape. My traffic was about 10 times my normal average. Conversion on this traffic was virtually non-existent. However, I did pick up several links from other related sites. Time will tell if those links bring useful traffic.

I think the difference is pretty clearly in the intent of the people "surfing" the articles on Netscape. Those in the Valentine's Day scenario were probably looking to buy the products being peddled on the page at that exact time, so the conversion rate was higher. Those clicking on the Oscars articles probably just wanted some more dirty stories on celebrities.

It's likely the channel I submitted to made a difference as well. In theory, the people browsing the shopping channel are in more of a shopping state of mind, while those browsing the celebrities channel aren't.

I'm having fun testing things (however informally), and I look forward to more long term results.

#9 skore

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 05:38 PM

I could sit here and go on and on about the long term benefits from a successful social media campaign but many of you have already done that pretty nicely. So let me give you an example of short-term benefits when done right.

We launched a viral peice this week for a client. A single list page that incorporated video and pictures (yes lists still work really well). We submitted it to Digg, seeded it in StumbleUpon and del.icio.us and sat back. I should also note that this site is not tech or young male based - their target market is actually women between 30 & 55 y/o.

Within 8 hours the story hit the Digg homepage with the majority of comments being positive (about 95%). From there, it spread to ebaum's world pretty quickly and then out to the authority blogs and smaller blogs and forums. Digg traffic over the first day was at about 25,000 and about 17,000 the next day.

So where what were the immediate benefits? A bucket-load of links from authority sites and niche blogs (200+ in 2 days) and all of the increased traffic that came from them. The next day sales were up 75% - directly related to links from the authority blogs. Even though the article was not a main focus of our client's business - it was presented in such an appealing way and came from a trusted source (the blog that told them about it) that people stuck around and BOUGHT.

It's extremely important to not just think of Digg traffic as useless. Yes, the majority of them are not buyers. Yes, the majority of them have ad blockers on. BUT - Digg is one of the most powerful influencers out there right now. To get a quarter of the authority links that we obtain from one successful viral campaign would cost us thousands (if they would even sell them) and countless hours.

#10 Guest_rustybrick_*

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 07:48 AM

I feel Digg traffic is all about the links you get from it.

Yes, it sends a ton of traffic. But I would guess, on the norm, Digg users are not in any "buy mode" and often the content is not appealing towards those who are buyers.

In any event, Digg gets your content in front of a ton of people. These people are geeks, computer geeks (I am one of them). More people that see your content, the more likely they will write about it. The more people that write about it, the more links you have.

Digg, IMO, is about link building - quick link building.

More of my thoughts, with a case study, at The Power Of Digg In Link Building.

#11 lyndoman

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:42 AM

I started my SEO blog over Christmas. Through use of Linkbait and social media I know have over 2,000 backlinks, according to Yahoo.

Yes, there is a place for social media in the online marketers tool box, but it's a tool you have to learn to use.

I have another site I coblog on and since Christmas we have built over 4,000 links according to Yahoo by using the same method.

I know of no other method that is free, whitehat, and builds link so quickly.

The traffic is not the desire. If my objective is to get 500 links from a piece of content I only need 500 visitors, as long as they each link to me. The other 20,000 uniques are inconsequential.

I have completely changed my SEO strategy because of social media and it's working.

I could spend a few hours submitting my links to directories or submitting my article to article sites, but what I really should be doing is writing great content and submitting that to social media sites.

I think a lot of SEO people are having a problem with this as it needs a new skill and that is being able to write. When I say write I mean write for an audience. A good writer can make any subject exciting, desirable and most importantly linkable.

As I read my daily list of SEO blogs I realise that a lot of great SEO people are not up to scratch when it comes to the written word. They are successful because of their knowledge, not because they can write, so when it comes to writing something for a wider audience it falls flat.

Luckily my background is words, and I know how to spin a yarn.

I see more SMO services being brought online for those who can buy the linkbait rather than having to write it. I have been approached by a couple of people to help with their linkbaiting/smo strategy, I think it's really going to take off.

BTW don't judge my writing skills on this post, I never have time to edit forum or comment posts, lol.

#12 cre8pc

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 11:15 AM

Is the objective to get a quantity of backlinks or quality inbound links from SM marketing?

#13 skore

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 11:41 AM

Kim - as with traditional link building the same rules apply (from my standpoint), the goal is quality but you will get quantity as well.

Let's use Digg as an example. It's a trickle-down effect:

* Influential bloggers/site owners read Digg (think engadget/lifehacker/gothamist/ebaum's world/etc - not just tech bloggers, not even close)
* They need content and they want to share things with their readers that are hot, cool & unique
* They blog about the items that interest them and link to what they just saw on Digg (authority link)
* Then their readers who have smaller blogs link to the same thing b/c they saw it on an authority blog and they want to be the first to share it with their audience
* But a lot of times bigger sites/blogs will find it later too and link out (many times putting it in their daily link finds/etc)
* People start stumbling it / del.icio.us'ing /etc it (later links when people discover, etc)

So you do wind up with massive quantities but it's those authority links in there that are the real goal to me.

#14 cre8pc

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 12:05 PM

They blog about the items that interest them and link to what they just saw on Digg (authority link)


Do search engines consider this an authority link?

Do we know if SE algorithms have been programmed to evaluate SM site links as sites of authority value?

#15 skore

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 12:36 PM

Kim - they look no different than any other normal post/page so unless they are devaluing everything - my answer would be no.

#16 lyndoman

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 12:50 PM

The objective is to always go for quality authority links.


"Every link is sacred
Every link is great
If a link gets wasted
Google gets so irate."
Thanks to Monty Python for the that one.

You can't just say, "I'm only going to get links from authority sites."

If the content is interesting enough to be linked to it's going to be linked to by authority and the rabble. I'm sure there is a ratio out there of authority/rabble but I wouldn't like to guess.

My own content gets linked to from authority sites such as searchenginewatch.com etc. But the point is to create great content then throw it to the social media lions in the Arena.

It's easy stuff if you have great, relevant content.

#17 ukdaz

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 01:06 PM

It's easy stuff if you have great, relevant content.


Exactly but if EVERYONE had great relevant content what then? ANd lets be realistic a lot of content out there is poor to average and theres tonnes of it floating around.... thing is if you asked most of those "authors" they would of course say it was great.... are we gonna start sinking under TOO much content?

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#18 cre8pc

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 01:36 PM

You can't just say, "I'm only going to get links from authority sites."


Why not?

Granted, we have no control over who links to our sites. But, I would take 10 incoming links from an industry expert or reputable business or high ranked site over 10,000 "I thought this was funny" links from people. They are not linking because of they find value in my product/service/blog/etc.

I'm not convinced (grumpy old Kim) that search engines aren't evaluating the history and value of links and the sites they come from.

This reminds me a lot of when Zeus was launched and there was a huge debate over it because the premise was quantity, not quality for the reciprocal linking process it automated. The backlash caused the developer/owner to make refinements, and now, it's rare that you hear of anyone who uses Zeus anymore.

As Daz says, not every link is relevant.

For example, when my blog was Dugg big-time last month, they didn't come to read my blog or see what else I had to say about anything. They came to find the link to the site I blogged about. THAT website, an web design information provider site, likely got a ton of links. How many of them were content valuable, or is the point that a relationship between links no longer matters and it's only quantity now, relevant or not?

#19 storyspinner

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:05 PM

There are some other aspects that are beneficial as well. Not just traffic and not just links.

Social Media fuels Word of Mouth Marketing and branding online. Good or Bad. Of course we as marketers all want the good kind of WOMM.

There are several different types of personality groups in this world and online, and WOMM along with social media appeals to a great many of them in different ways.

Take for example the "humanistic" personality. That type of person puts great value in what others (friends/family) say about products and services. Reviews are very important to this type of personality, so they are likely to read comments and judge things by how popular they are.

The competitive personality - well they want to beat out all those other people in the group. Then you have the spontaneous - so if they see it talked about a lot in the social media realm - they are more likely to buy.

However, you can't be fooled into thinking that Social Media is going to give you an immediate return or can be the holy grail to get your conversions going. Much like TV or Newspaper Ads or Radio - it's all about branding and getting your name out there. It use to be that someone had to see your name or ad 7-10 times before they would decide to buy. I would think that is much how Social Media plays into things, but, in this case there are ways to measure it more closely.

#20 GeoffreyF67

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:07 PM

Of course I'll take quality links but I go for quantity usually if I can get it.

I figure the more eyeballs that see my link, the more that might click through to my site :D

Incidentally with regards to this:

Unless a site sells CPM based advertising, traffic for traffic's sake is not really the goal.


Do you know how much traffic you've got to have to make CPM advertising worth more than a lunch a day? LOL.

G-Man

#21 projectphp

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 07:59 PM

Social Media fuels Word of Mouth Marketing and branding online.

My tact levels are at an all time low (and lets be frank, I ain't very tactful on my better days) due to lack of sleep, lack of alchohol free days, and an illness I am just now getting over, so please give me the benefit of the doubt and take everything I am about to write and reduce its harshness by about 99.9% :)

What annoys me so much about Social Media discussions is the lack of any sort of caveat or dampenning of comments. Not to pick on my fellow mod, but that quote is the classic example.

Ironically, given my coming rant, I agree with the comment 100% but ONLY if there are some caveats added:
Social Media fuels Word of Mouth Marketing and branding online for some industries, countries and niches.

That caveat is vital because for some industries, the value of Social Media is totally, 100% non-existent. There are no links to be had. There is no influence to be garnered. There is no value to Social Media at all.

BTW: Liana's post was very good, and I don't want this to be seen as a criticism of her at all. Again, tact != me this morning (I am not cranky so much as lacking a littleman in my head as a final tact check).

And in many locales, the value is also negligible, or at least reduced. I love Barrack Obama, don't get me wrong, and American politics certainly affects the world more than any other nation's, but http://digg.com/politics isn't really politics so much as USA politics.

Similarly, I doubt "Wordpress 2.1.1 Security Hole Leaves Blogs Wide Open" is a story that appeals to eveyone to the degree it appeals to diggers (front page right now).

Less than a third of the planets populace is online, and of that number, how many have the Net as such a central part of their lives that Social Media seems like not just a good idea, but a vitally needed one?

That is not a problem with Social Media. Nothing can be all things to all people at all times. But Social Media's shortcomings are an important, I would say the most important, facts to undestand.

The problem with Social Media that I hoped this forum would overcome is the cheerleading. The fact we have taken the step to add a Scoial Media forum shows that we believe it has value, and is something deserving of discussion. The need to explain why Social Media is good has been somewhat resolved. It has at least some use, and it has at least some benefits. That was the start of the conversation, IMHO, and having set the forum up, I would like to now move the converstaion on from "whould we take a trip overseas" to "Paris or Madrid?". That will include looking at the shortcomings, pitfalls, problems of this new area in an accurate, denotative, justification free exploration of where it all fits in.

This is a problem I see in any new or emerging field: People are so busy explaining why, they don't offer the why not. It happenned to SEO, and it even happenned with the web fullstop originally.

In the interest of stiring things up a bit, I ask this: is the fact this topic evolved into a discussion about the SEO merit of Links an admission that the only real, tangible benefit to Social Media is a few links, at the cost a potentially server crashing traffic spike with no direct value?

#22 infonote

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:11 AM

Is social media everything? The answer is No.

Is it just another part of the marketing plan. (SEO is part of marketing). Yes

It also depends on the age of the site. In the first 3 months of a site existance you will be in sandbox. So it makes sense to use social media to spread through word of mouth the site.

After you start getting rankings in search engines, your resources should shift to adding more content and making the site more accessible.

#23 projectphp

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 08:56 AM

Is it just another part of the marketing plan. (SEO is part of marketing)

It isn't a part of marketing, it is an option available when marketing something :)

So it makes sense to use social media to spread through word of mouth the site.

I don't think general advice is anything but generally wrong :)

Make this fictional site not a general site, but somethign specific, and tell how does Social Medai specifically benefit this site?

Think of it like Personas, where the website has unique needs.

As an example where that simply wouldn't hold, a Kenyan website on local business probably has two chances of Social Media acheiving any word of mouth: Buckley's and none.

#24 Ron Carnell

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 10:58 AM

I don't think general advice is anything but generally wrong.

Uh, isn't that just a generality, Michael? :)

#25 iamlost

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 11:20 AM

Ron Carnell: please note the 'don't':

I don't think ...

Option 1: he believes general advice is generally correct.
Option 2: he 'does not think'.
Option 3: the Lead Technical Administrator made a grammatical code error.
Option 4: he is Down Under where life is strange.

#26 Respree

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 11:42 AM

I can go along with options 1 and 3 (and possibly 4 :) ).

Personally, I'd, go back and edit your post, putting a smiley face by option 2. Careful, iamlost, you're playing with fire. :) You don't want to get on the bad side of this guy...

#27 iamlost

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 12:04 PM

Respree: There is nothing humourous in a Lead Technical Administrator 'not thinking'. There is sorrow however: :crybaby: :cry: :)

From way back in the original post:

So what about Social Media? Is the traffic worth it? Does it actually have any direct benefit?

Seems to me that most articles on the subject talk about indirect benefits. You know, links. I have rarely, if ever, seen a mention of the incredible revenue generation potential of Social media sites

The best criticism of SMM I have read.

In the webmaster fora and blogs (the webmaster social media space ;-)) I certainly see a tendency to view some monolithic single 'social media' entity as linkbait heaven, especially among those marketing themselves (and their services) as SEO-slash-SMM gurus. Like all advertising parse the message through the filter of the messengers' agenda and then test concepts before acceptance. I didn't (see earlier poat) and it cost me 6-months.

What, if any, use each SM variant is depends on the individual person, site, and niche. There is no one fits all contrary to many SMM boosters.

The SM site clone and mutate rate make inclusion planning look like targeting MIRV warheads. The fact that many will evaporate just adds to the irritation. Remember the late '90s and the proliferation of SEs and Directories? Deja vu all over again.

It is critical to know the SM audience you are targeting if you want to maximise ROI. As the SM sites splinter their audiences become more discernable and targetable. The current shotgun approach seems more a misguided PR (self-PR by the proponents) approach than directed campaigns to meet specific goals.

It takes time and effort to defining SM subgroups, locate matches with your site niches, and integrate into existing marketing programs. I found few of my sites able to target SM sites with sufficient granularity to generate positive ROI.

We each have our business models - at least I know I do.

* SMM is NOT for every person, site, or niche.
* SMM CAN be precision targeted (initial results only) by specific niches to advantage.
* There IS more to SMM than unqualified traffic spikes and linkage.
* Most of the SMM hype is.
* SM marketing requires research, analysis, imagination, time, and effort. Surprise!

#28 cre8pc

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 12:57 PM

It is critical to know the SM audience you are targeting if you want to maximise ROI. As the SM sites splinter their audiences become more discernable and targetable. The current shotgun approach seems more a misguided PR (self-PR by the proponents) approach than directed campaigns to meet specific goals.


This rings truth and sits well with me, personally.

Had I purposely written for a Digg audience, I would not have said "boo hoo" about my experience with that community. Since I didn't seek out Digg and didn't know much about its members (demographics, culture, behavior), I was caught off-guard and unprepared.

Since then, I've learned there are companies who have a good handle on SM and skillfully manuver marketing campaigns into the SM environment. They are in the position of constantly defending it too, because people like me fell in head first, not understanding and not cooperating.

Even though I'm learning more, I still have a mental block or two because SM seems so unruly. As niche SM sites become established, I'll feel more comfortable about submitting items and participating. I don't think there is much point in purposely entertaining a crowd of people whose purpose seems to be to boo everyone off the stage, like Diggers do, however.

#29 bwelford

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 01:17 PM

I guess it's 'American Idol' all over again. :)

#30 earlpearl

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:36 PM

To date I have not seen an example of significant impact from social media and tagging for my industry. Its been tried repeatedly. The topic or articles haven't grabbed attention.

But within the realm that Bill described...my little b&m does very well. In an industry that is often scorned we get good marks. A significant amt of our business (99.9%) local/regional has always been via word of mouth. In fact referrals have always created the highest level of conversions from interested customers to buyers.

But the question was one that directly related to the social media sites like digg.

It'd be great to pick up thousands or even hundreds or even a dozen links at one time.

Still we have found that from the web perspective...about 20 different phrases are our best. They are combos of regional/local terms and our best business terms. We have found lots of valuable contributing sources of business. Unfortunately they each contribute minute amts of business. But if we hit the right notes on a lot of them it adds up rather dramatically.

Who knows maybe someone in our industry will hit the right note with social marketing a la digg or one of the other similar sites. Frankly I hope its us first.

Dave

#31 projectphp

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 06:32 AM

Uh, isn't that just a generality, Michael?

You know Ron, the irony of that statement was something I always enjoyed, and wondered when someomne would note. You may collect your prize now :)

The other aspect of social media that makes it difficult for some is the fact it needs, well, socialness. If the target audience are not living online, then chances are they are not going to be involved in Social Media. Something based upon participation is biased by those it encourages to particpate, which starts with "have internet connection", and gets harder from there.

It is critical to know the SM audience you are targeting if you want to maximise ROI. As the SM sites splinter their audiences become more discernable and targetable. The current shotgun approach seems more a misguided PR (self-PR by the proponents) approach than directed campaigns to meet specific goals.

I agree this is bang on. That worries me a bit. If the experts on Social Media are so scatter gun,. doesn;t bode well...

#32 bwelford

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 07:38 AM

If the experts on Social Media are so scatter gun,. doesn;t bode well...

What you're describing, Michael, is the scatter gun nature of human societies. It's all chaotic movement and sometimes things begin to clump together. As the clumps get bigger then they're more visible and others join the clumps. It then depends on the cohesion that's keeping them all together. At some time it may weaken and the clump breaks up. There's a great deal of randomness in all this.

That means that you've got to do lots - have lots of fishing rods in the pond. If you're lucky, sometimes you'll catch a fish and very rarely you'll catch a big fish.

What makes it all work is the long tail nature of it all. There's so many fish out there so you'll always catch a few.

#33 mikemora

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 10:05 AM

SMM as it relates to local search marketing offers many avenues and I find it very exciting. Outside.in allows people or businesses to claim a spot in their neighborhood or zip code. Local.Wikia is the same, someone with a truly local intent can become part of the virtual community and position themselves as the authority in their niche.

FaceBook, MySpace and Bebo offer great potential for local business or services if someone has the time to mine them properly. I paid Stumbleupon for some traffic to my hobby blog as a test and it was amazing but nothing stuck. As their service matures and targeting is refined for local eyes it will be a very valuable tool.

Honestly Digg scares me, it's too much like the crowds in the Roman Coliseum with the thumbs up/down thing. My ego is a bit too fragile to be judged by twenty somethings with a lot of time on their hands.
:wacko:

Edited by mikemora, 04 March 2007 - 10:07 AM.


#34 iamlost

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 12:20 PM

There is a difference between 'normal' web marketing and SMM I instinctively knew but had not conscienciously acknowledged. The web has been all about content: niche, keyword, and keyphrase; the longtail simply descriptors of lessening specificity. The 'new' Social Media is traditional advertising/marketing finally arriving online; people targeting.

Many webmasters are investigating SM on a content basis: desperately seeking niche compatable content to drive pre-qualified traffic to see or click ads, buy products. Instead they get enormous unqualified traffic surges, negative ROI, and, like flotsom after a storm, potential branding with soon buried blog links.

Like traditional off-line marketing, SMM is all about demographics. Few SM sites are yet specialised to deliver by narrow niche content interest i.e. quilters (quilters are always an exception). Rather it is which SM site can deliver how many of what demographic group.

Therefore the very first thing a webmaster interested in SMM must do is identify which people - what demographic group(s) - are (extremely, reasonably, neutral, reasonably not, extremely not) interested in your site topic(s), possibly even down to the page level, depending on niche.

Once it is clear who the target group is (and who it is not) the second act is to identify where they are; which SM sites, or parts of SM sites, they inhabit. At this stage of SM site evolution it can be hard work to cut your 'own' out of the herd.

You finally know who you want because you know who wants you. Now it is time to design an advertising/marketing plan. Soon your assault on SMM can begin with expectations of true ROI success.

Note: it is quite likely that, at least for now, you are unable to find clear matches. You can either go for a broader match with lower ROI or wait for true love. Decisions, decisions.

#35 bwelford

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 01:09 PM

I think I'm seeing it the same way you are, iamlost. SMM is to people as SEM is to search engines. So you should do both SMM and SEM. You may think understanding the SE algorithms is tough but it's much tougher to determine what gets 'high rankings' with the SMs.

There always is link-baiting of course. Otherwise I think you're trying to spread out a very fine net with many holes as wide as you can. You may only catch a few butterflies but they may be just the ones you were hoping to catch.

#36 projectphp

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 06:31 PM

I am just not conviced, Barry.

I had to give a presentation on Web 2.0, and the very, very, very best comments I have read are these by Drew Curtis of Fark fame (Fark being a pretty strong Social Media kind of place) http://www.ideagrove...rew-curtis.html

The whole concept of Web 2.0 is great if you have a small dedicated group of loyal readers (TotalFarkers). The problem is it doesn't scale because the vast majority of people are goddamn idiots. In general, voting sites are great ways to generate traffic but they suck at putting out a quality product. I'm a huge huge fan of youtube for example but let's face it, 99.99% of the stuff on there is utter crap (but the other .01% is really amazingly good).

I don't care what anyone says, the masses are morons. You can't count on them to pick good stuff. Just check out Network TV to see what the masses want for entertainment. It all sucks. Don't even get me started on how they vote for elected officials. There's certainly a place for that kind of thing but it's not on Fark. Just watch, Web 3.0 will be something called Good Editing.

I think Drew is spot on there, and sums up, in large part, why I like cre8 and can't stand webmasterworld.

Social Media can be great, no doubt, but if the the closest we can get to what constitutes a particular community is change, that is a pretty useless IMHO.

If Web 2.0 is going to be about boundaryless communities, that exclude no one, there will be no use in them. In many ways, a community is defined by whom it excludes. A group of Webmasters is a marketplace, but a crowd of people going to work is a just that: a crowd.'
The real issue is whether or not this will actually happen:

As the SM sites splinter their audiences become more discernable and targetable.

Will they really splinter? Will there be a Digg for coders and a Mummigg for mums? I am not really convinced that will happen.

There will be some dilineation, as sub-communities use numbers to force their agenda on others (think Digg and SEO), but I think some areas will be like webmasterworld (lots of random, non-dilineated noise), some like Cre8 (a small, specific group) while some groups simply won't be represented at all.

#37 getitinwriting

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 11:52 PM

Very Interesting Discussion, another case study of the aftermath of a digg and how it can create massive numbers of backlinks can be found at Voltier.com I also saw this featured at Seomoz a week or so ago.

#38 iamlost

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 12:29 AM

projectphp: I don't think you, bwelford, and I are that far apart. We likely see similar problems and simply differ in our explorations, findings, and evaluations. By pooling concerns and discoveries, as in this thread, solid matter just may coalesce from the chaos. Maybe.
Rant ! rant
Can we BURY the 'Web 2.0' term please...
I much prefer SM...not to be confused with S/M...despite striking similarities...

People form groups. It is natural. A well structured SM site pre-defines the groups: Cre8 has several sub-fora, conversation is directed; Cre8 has Admins to maintain structure, Mods to maintain behaviour, and members to maintain conversation. Cre8 adapts to meet the needs/interests of the community i.e. this new Social Media forum. If Cre8 did not adapt eventually those interested primarily in SM would go elsewhere. If Cre8 had no boundaries one of two things would occur: (1) it would dissolve as noise grew, or (2) the members would initiate structure and enforce boundaries. It is simply basic human behaviour.

WMW has the problem of size. I love the CSS forum there, tolerate several others, and ignore most. Human scale is actually rather small. When a town exceeds a certain size it naturally splits into neighbourhoods. WMW still succeeds (despite the noise) for all the reasons illustrated in the Cre8 example above. It pushes at the boundaries of size, relevance, and noise losing some, gaining some, managing growth that must be quite a high wire act.

We are in a web period of rapid change. SM is evolving a myrid of variations and per Darwin some will die, some will thrive, many will mutate. At the moment some community 'shapes' can be seen stabilising, i.e. fora, blogs; some others while apparently viable are undergoing internal shifts, i.e. MySpace, that may or may not prove fatal.

Will they really splinter? Will there be a Digg for coders and a Mummigg for mums? I am not really convinced that will happen.

Maybe not. Hopefully not. BURY that thought.

This flux makes SM weather prediction difficult. At best they are informed risk assessments. But where there are groups of people exist opportunity and money to be made (or lost).

I find the online integration of content/information/sales and demographics/personalities/culture (or stuff and persona) rather interesting. SM is not a universal panacea. Stuff and persona are valuable together and individually. It is up to each webmaster to determine if and how Social Media can be incorporated in your business model.

Early adapters tend to hyberbole. Especially when they want to sell you the new whatever-it-is. Try not to be distracted by the noise.

Oh, and I agree: the masses are morons. :iamwithstupid:

#39 Janeth

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 09:08 AM

Everyone seems to talk a lot about social media sites lately and although I rarely post on this forum I would like to add my two cents or maybe just tell my story.

I started my online business about 5 years ago and had no idea what I was doing. I live in Colombia S.A and it is rare that anyone even has a computer, much less a website or knows how to market a website online. I lucked up and found a forum WPW.

On WPW I had members help out and point out problems with my website and point me in the direction I needed to go to fix those problems. I also found this forum where bragadocchio helped me out on more than one occasion.  

For me forums are by far the best social media sites online.

1.I learned about problems with my site
2.I learned how to fix those problems
3.I learned how to get traffic to my site
4.I sold jobs to other members
5.I ranked in the search engines due to signature tags
6.I meet new friends
7.I learned about the latest things coming out
8.I debated topics
9.I made money
10.And I enjoyed myself.

I have learned a lot in the last 5 years and most of that is due to forums. Search engines can send you targeted traffic but forums can teach you how to convert that traffic into visitors. And if you are on the right forums the traffic you are getting can be just as targeted as the search engines.

#40 BillSlawski

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 10:42 PM

Hi Janeth,

It's good to see you.

I'm a big fan of forums as social media sites, and I've received a tremendous amount of direct and indirect benefits from being involved in places like Cre8asite.

There have been a few times in the past in the back of the forums where we've discussed adding features to the forums, such as user tagging of threads, and ranking threads. I'm not sure that the forum software that we are using makes applying some options too easy, but I'm curious as to what other members of the forum might think about the impact that those types of things might have on a forum. Would they change its nature? Would they be a good thing, or a bad thing?



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