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Social Marketing Secrets #1


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How YOUR content is making THEM rich.

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Social Marketing Secrets #1

  1. 1. Social Marketing: The Rush Is OnThe rush is on. Companies big and small are rushing to use social media in a frenzied hurry reminiscent of lemmings following each other off a cliff. I’ve been a pro-social media preacher for a long time, but responsible use of social media for marketing requires understanding secrets.Today’s Social Marketing Secret is how your social media efforts help enrich Mark Zuckerberg (owns Facebook), Biz Stone (Twitter) and Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia). Enriching powerful Internet innovators may be inevitable, but your company needs to understand Social Marketing Secrets in order to break off some benefit. Zuckerberg, Stone and Wales have created powerful applications that define what the Internet is, applications that are now part of the web’s “background”.Their Platform = Their JuiceI’m going to have to use some geek terms to explain how your efforts enrich others. Platforms are worlds of code such as Facebook designed to capture, house and project data. Platforms require scale. Build a platform and have no one use it and you’ve sneezed in the desert with no one to say “bless you”. Build a platform like Facebook with over 300,000,000 users and the distinction between your software and what is “web” or “Internet” is so tiny it is meaningless.There is no free lunch. Why do you think creators are willing to seemingly give way millions of dollars of code for free? Scale creates revenue. All those searching eyeballs are connected to wallets and checkbooks. When a “free” platform can introduce revenue models without losing its audience it enters the pantheon of “freemium” marketing. What, you might wonder, are these platform creators selling?You and the content you provide is what these Internet marketing geniuses package and sell with varying degrees of grace and skill. When you create content on a social network you are creating an “arbitrageable” event. This is arbitrage as practiced by investment bankers. Investment bankers spend most of their day packaging businesses and ideas, ideas and businesses. When you Tweet you add to Twitter’s content and Twitter’s content is valuable. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr are investment banks that know how to package and re-package your content.Platforms know more about search marketing than most. Platform creators know the search engine marketing rules such as:<br />Frequently undated content is more powerful than the same amount of content put up once and left alone.<br />More content is always better than less content. <br />Content development requirements are so great no company can afford to pay for all the content needed so User Generated Content must rule the day. <br />Search engine juice is a form of currency and must be guarded like gold.<br />Yes you could create a company using other people’s software (OPS), but every effort enriches them. You must bring some search marketing juice back home if you want to enrich your company even a little bit from social marketing. Remember, they are and will always be better at search marketing than you, so don’t attempt to compete. Instead of competing understand the rules of the game and break off a little search marketing juice for you and your company. Here are a few ways to make your social marketing efforts create traffic and juice for your company:<br />Build links back to your home site.This suggestion can be tricky. They control the game, so too much linking back to your home site will be seen as spamming yourself and you may be put on double secret probation. A relevant link every now and again will not get your account suspended (more on this later).Create highly linkable content.This is easier to say than actually do. Topical content, news breaking content and controversial content are all examples of “linkable” content. Take a junk bond approach – develop LOTS of content, see what sticks and then double down.Build A Content NetworkThe Beatles were right. You get the love you give. Link love is a basic web currency that you should spread around carefully. Indiscriminate linking makes you look spammy and can cause search engine penalties, but well researched content link partners reinforce your business’s core search engine identity and can only help.Understand PageRankNot all web pages are created equal. Google weights page importance with an algorithmic device called PageRank. PageRank is a value from 0 to 10 with higher scores indicating more rank. Pages get rank by being linked to from “authoritative” sources. Authoritative sources are pages with high PageRank or groups Google loves such as .edu (colleges and educational sites). Many downplay PageRank’s importance. I do not. PageRank is one of the few instruments we have to understand a page’s place in the vast sea that is the Web. PageRank is a valuation system, a model. It isn’t the only predictor of success. It is possible to have high PageRank and not be on the first page, but all things being equal I would rather have high PR than low. Also, social networks generate high pagerank making links from them valuable. Developing high PageRank and judiciously placing it around on your pages and others creates a positive virtual cycle (think of this as a snow ball rolling down hill getting increasingly bigger).Think and Act Globally, Lose Proprietary ThinkingIf your company is going to become a Google source then your concern must extend beyond your Stock Keeping Units (SKU’s). You need to understand and communicate the big picture. You need to act, think and write globally. Your company must lose its proprietary stance. Google experts understand their vertical’s world and how their products fit into the world at large. Search engines want the most relevant content. Search engines don’t care if you or your competitors provide the most relevant content. This makes your job, if you are a marketer, understanding EVERYTHING about your brands, your competitor’s brands and how they impact people and the planet. If your competitor does something good you should report it. Content should never tear down, as this is a form of spam. Content should always build up. If your competitor scoops you best thing to do is report it and get on your horse.Process is content.Companies think big thoughts, cook and then come out with some new widget. Time is the problem with such thinking in a search engine enabled world. By the time you get to “big thoughts” to market your search engine marketing smart competitors scooped the market out from under you. Better to share everything all the time making your creation process content, gist for the mill. Share your process and listen to your potential customer’s feedback you get, react to that feedback in some public way (site, forum, blog). Do this and you build an instant market for your new widget. What about secrets, I can hear someone asking. What secrets are those? Get used to the idea there are not secrets anymore and share anything and everything all the time. The benefits of sharing outweigh the costs of letting any cats out of bags.User Generated Content (UGC) is a must.Learn from your platform suppliers. They know the cost of creating content needed for PageRank 8 and 9 sites is too costly. Jimmy Wales understood no editor-based encyclopedia could survive in an Internet time. Things move too fast, so users must provide most of your content. Reviews are a good example of how companies harness UGC and its power. Reviews, handled correctly, can add to a site’s relevance and pagerank. Reviews are organic. Reviews help create “live” content. Remember it is better to create x content over time with y uploads. Create the same x content with a single upload and your site will not seem as relevant to search engines as the more frequently updated site. User content is valuable for many, many reasons I can’t go into here (such as making a site seem warmer and less intimidating), but UGC is a MUST so make sure your site thinks of ways for your users to contribute.<br />Following these simple ideas doesn’t change the massive power social media platforms control, but you will break off a little piece for your company. The best thing to do to harness social media power is hire ScentTrail Marketing as a consultant ☺ because there is no way to explain all of the ways to protect your interests without knowing your vertical, web set up and capacity. Should you use Facebook et al.? Absolutely yes, but be sure to be SMART about how you create and manage your brand in the world of social media giants.ScentTrail Marketing ConsultingInitial conversations are always FREEMartin Marty Smith (my CV on LinkedIn)MartinSellingZoe(at)AOL(dot)comCell: 919.360.1224<br />