Okay, kids, it’s time to talk social media and not about how much only having five minutes between sessions is so going to kill me.  Carolyn Shelby will act as moderator for speakers Mike Chapman, Michael Gray, and Guillaume Bouchard. Mmm, accents.

Up first is Guillaume. He came all the way from Canada. You know who didn’t come all the way from Canada? Rae Hoffman. Rae sucks.

He starts talking in French and we all blink. He’s hilarious. [kicks]

He thinks there are two main social news sites to go after — Digg and StumbleUpon.

With Digg you have on-site voting. It’s all or nothing. If you don’t make the home page, the time you spent trying will be a pure waste. It can take 8-10 hours to do a good push. You can end up buried, have your domain banned, etc. However, it is the largest social news site so the rewards are big.

StumbleUpon goes with a toolbar voting system. It’s more a spike system. It’s not all or nothing. You can get down votes. Success comes in the recommendation surge.

A year and a half ago, it would take 40 votes to make the Digg home page. Now it takes more like 100-250 votes. There’s much more control about spam and bad content. The users are much smarter and acting as the Digg police.  When you end up in the upcoming section, you have very little chance of having your story pop. That change happened with the recommendation engine. As a result, they’ve had to create separate Digg accounts that focus on different niches — Sports, Offbeat, etc. They use the account most aligned with the content so that it will be recommended to people with the same interests.

With StumbleUpon, you can send a page to a friend and force them to view it. It’s tedious, but its necessary. When you run a StumbleUpon push, that can get you a lot of extra votes. It can bring more visibility to your story.

Content – General Strategies

Give Quality: People like to laugh but hate failed attempts at humor. They appreciate hard work and deride build-content-quick schemes. They like learning. They tend to follow their community’s (dis)approval. They do not like spam or SEO or marketing.

Save time:

  • They don’t want too much text
  • They want to be able to skim and get the basic idea
  • They don’t like having to click unnecessarily
  • They resent when your server can’t handle their visits.
  • They like being able to vote right away.

Content – SEO Concerns

Keyword Use: Blog titles for backlinks with great anchor text. Page titles can have more keywords.

Interlinking: Wait until after the push to interlink strategically. Post regularly to dilute.

301 Redirection: Resist the temptation, let the content be.

You can put social content on three types of platform: Your blog, a client-owned or external blog, or a SEO/SMO company owned external blog.

Platform – Trust

Digg:

  • Trusted domains account for +90 percent of home pages.
  • Of non-trusted domains, 30 percent are images, 10 percent are videos.
  • ~100-125 stories hit the home page every day.
  • Only 6-8 text articles with juicy text from non-trusted domains will make it.
  • This means you need to work with trusted domains.

StumbleUpon:

Platform trust is not that much of a problem.

Submitter:

Digg

  • Domains are trusted, but so are people.
  • Less likely to be buried.
  • Immediate friend votes.
  • +30 percent of home pages are from top submitters.
  • Some top submitters will eventually find out you work for a client and may go to the client direction. [Sneaky 17 year old’s!]

Social Media Metrics

Links: Generally peak between 1-3 months after the pitch. Content determines Digg success, but also backlinks.

Traffic: Digg traffic spikes much sharper than StumbleUpon. Digg will get between 500-3,000 views.

Up next is Michael Gray.

He thanks Guy Kawasaki for warming everyone up for him. Smart ass.

He shows a made up statistics chart for how people use Twitter.  Heh. You can use Twitter however you want. It’s for you to decide. What you get out is what you put in. [Aw, good dad]

It’s similar to a group chat, except you choose who you listen to.

Expand your Social Graph

If you’re only going to follow the people who you know, there’s not going to be a lot of value there. You need to break out of your little social graph. Expand it to include people you don’t communicate with. You want to talk to your friends friends. The industry leaders.  Follow the people who you follow talk to.  Expand and prune your social graph.

Twitter is a river of conversations

Unless your social graph is very small, don’t try to follow every conversation.  Jump in and out of conversations based on your goals.

Get More From Twitter:

  • Follow the new, interesting, smart or noteworthy people.
  • Expect that pimping is part of the game.
  • Participate in the conversation. Use your replies tab.
  • Ask questions. Use your network.
  • Answer questions.  Be helpful.  That person will appreciate it and maybe tweet you back. It helps other people see you and follow you, too. Especially helpful for companies.
  • Answer all @’s and DMs.
  • Don’t always be about yourself. Drop links to interesting noteworthy things.  Link to your competition.
  • Keep self-promotional stuff to a minimum.
  • ReTweet. If someone else posts something you found interesting, retweet it. People appreciate that and it’s a good way to build goodwill and get more people following you.

Next up is Mike Chapman.

He says it was 85 degrees and sunny yesterday. Hee. Today is raining like a bitch.

Social media is about conversation and developing relationships. He loves the tools and they’ll all be outdated in two years. Hee.  He asks how many people are really proficient in social media and maybe 5 people raise their hand. Most just want to learn.

Mike spends a whole lot of time getting to his topic: LinkedIn. C’mon, Mike. :)

Mike has to know you before he’ll add you on LinkedIn. He’ll meet anybody on Twitter, but he’s more selective on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is a comfortable environment for you to build connections where some of the pre-qualifiers have already taken place. It takes longer to grow your network.  LinkedIn has not proven to be a major channel for him. He has contacts but it hasn’t proven that successful. [So, um, why are you here talking about it? I’m so confused.]

Don’t try and outsmart everyone. 50 years of manipulation by large institutions are being pushed back. The tools that were created (social media, social networking) are allowing that to happen. The Obama campaign was proof of that and the Republicans will follow suit next cycle. People have an opinion they can make known, even if they don’t have million dollar budgets.

If you have a good product, you have ways to make that product known. If your product is you, then LinkedIn can help you.  People are talking about you anyway, you may as well be part of the conversation.

Like some of the other social media platforms, LinkedIn is now allowing applications. That’s innovative.  He thinks LinkedIn should open itself up a little more. He wants innovative ways to help the more mature crowd link up.

Was that ‘presentation’ about LinkedIn? imsoconfused. Maybe it was.

Question & Answer

How do you know which sites you should be on? Do you need a personal and business profile?

Guillaume: Think about what you want to accomplish with social media. If you want to do X, then you’ll know which platform is most suited for that. You need to tie in what you want to do with the tactic.

Michael: Never put anything online that you don’t want on the 6pm news.  What are you comfortable with people knowing about you online.  You want to be on Facebook. You can create a limited profile.

Mike: If you’ve already created a marketing plan, there are tools available to help you decide how to best reach them.

Beyond Twitter, what’s the next big thing?

Michael: Brightkite.

Guillaume: It’s like trying to launch a search engine — not a good idea.

Any good ORM tools?

Michael: Google Alerts, EasyTweets, some paid tools, etc. Michael talks about the need to know when to engage and when not to. He brings up the Air Forces Rules of Engagement chart that breaks it down awesomely. [Check that out if you haven’t. It’s kickass.]

Guillaume: Trackur.

What’s more important: blogging or tweeting? Where do we spend our energy?

Guillaume: Decide how much time a month you can spend to those activities. He thinks you need a blog because that’s where the long tail is going to come from.

Michael: Look at your analytics and see what’s bringing the traffic. If you’re not going to do something well, don’t do it.  Leverage what you can across the different platforms.

[I apologize for the spelling and grammar in these posts. Five minutes between sessions is not conducive to editing and clean up. I’m trying!]


About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.


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