This post will cover a few basics – Why you would want to learn more about social media, What kind of results can you expect from social media, and How to get started learning more.
Since I have had some success in the last few months with promoting this site via social media, I have had a high level of requests from people who want to know more about what works. In the last month, my sites have been on the front page of Digg, Netscape, del.icio.us, and StumbleUpon Buzz, so I’ll be focusing the info around those 4 sites.
I’ve also had several people send me very concerned emails about the fact that they feel they are ‘missing out’ on this traffic – yet their blogs/sites are only a couple of months old. It took me 6 months to get anywhere with social media and a full year to be confident enough to write a post about it.
So relax – social media is great, but it takes a while to learn, and should be just a part of your long-term online PR strategy.
Why Learn More About Social Media?
Quite simply put, social media drives traffic – lots of it. In the past week alone, this site has seen 10,183+ visitors from social media traffic, and this doesn’t include the ‘secondary gain traffic I’ll be discussing later.
A few more compelling reasons to learn more about social media:
- Mainstream media is increasingly looking to social media to connect with site visitors
- Mainstream media is using sites like Digg, del.icio.us and Netscape to source content. and ideas for their own articles/news stories (Chitika’s post did just that).
- Search Engines pay attention – the posts that do well on social media sites rank extremely well – and nearly instantly. This also influences your overall site rank (I can only say this second part speculatively, can anyone confirm?).
- Site exposure to new readers/visitors that would never find your site otherwise.
- Significantly increased Technorati and Alexa ranks which translates into higher advertising revenues
- The ‘Secondary Gain” includes all of the above, plus an influx of activity from many smaller social media sites such as DogDott, PopURLs, YCombinator, DiggRiver, DiggMirror/DuggTrends, and many others.
- Street Cred. A bit superficial, I know, but the main reason I made it a goal to get onto the front page of Digg was simply so that I could say I did it – and frankly, it does command at least a little bit of respect.
What Kind of Results Can You Expect from Social Media?
Besides the aforementioned traffic numbers, I’d like to share a little information on the differences between social media sites.
- Unquestionably the powerhouse traffic driver of them all, Digg traffic on the surface is actually not usually the kind of traffic that converts into subscribers, customers, or ad-clickers (unless you write about Digg topic favorites such as Google, Wii, Apple, and Macs).
- Grow a thick skin because Digg users are notoriously cruel commenters. The Digg crowd tends to be younger and male, and sometimes less than mature (though they do surprise me with their intelligence and wittiness from time to time )
- Digg traffic comes in a big burst and dies out quickly - so it’s not going to put you on the map unless you can continue to write good content.
- Beware of MFD (Made For Digg) posts that can get rather addicting – the traffic is nice, but your own audience needs to come first.
- Lastly, I thought I had Digg pretty much figured out – and only had hopes of Digg success on very rare posts (as a mom blogger!). But when my post about Keeping Kids Busy on Summer Break got to the front page yesterday, I can only say that there is always another (extremely surprising) road to success.
- StumbleUpon is really the raving favorite of most bloggers I know. The traffic can come in tens of thousands, the ‘Stumbers’ are genuinely nice people, and the system is somehow set up to continue to send traffic to popular posts for weeks.
- StumbleUpon traffic tends to bring longer-term benefits such as subscribers, repeat visitors and customers. This is because the StumbleUpon algorithm is set up so that users will only see pages they have previously expressed an interest in learning more about, or are recommended by friends.
- Beware of abusing the system – if you keep ‘Stumbling’ your own site, after a while you’ll reach your quota. Be sure to both participate in the community and share other great finds to get the best benefits and add the most value.
- Netscape users tend to be mostly interested in politics and traditional news stories. Their topic categories rather defy logic, as there isn’t even a business section.
- Your topic can influence your Netscape success tremendously – Dan from AskDanAndJennifer.com reports results up to 2500% higher than what I have seen from the site.
- del.icio.us is slightly different than the others in that the bookmarking features are a bit less social than on the other sites.
- Frankly, I’ve only had success on this site as a carry-over from getting onto the front page of Digg or Netscape – so I’m no expert on what it takes to master the process here.
- I love using del.icio.us simply as my own bookmarking site – so the added benefit of organizing your favorite resources easily in one place makes it one to use for other reasons besides driving traffic.
How to Get Started Learning More About Social Media
I’ve learned most of what I know from lots of trial and error (more error than trial, to be honest!). But also mainly from these three sources: Neil Patel, Muhammad Saleem (“Mu”), and my Elite Retreat cohorts (the participants hold a weekly mastermind conference call to implement what we learned at the conference). Neil and Mu write together on the Pronet Advertising blog, which has been bar far the most helpful and comprehensive source of information to really understand Digg and the Digg culture. Mu also recently landed a gig as a contributor to Brian Clark’s CopyBlogger.
Tips for Success:
- Connect with other users and make friends – it will not only help your own efforts, but it will also add more value to the community as a whole
- Don’t game the system – there’s nothing wrong with asking some friends for a few votes, but that alone won’t get results. Only really great content will get you what you’re after – and all of the sites are set up to reward great content and weed out and rid the community of spam.
- Learn the ropes – each site has it’s own community and it’s own set of rules – both spoken and unspoken. Take the time to get to know each community and be a part of it to really get the best results.
- Add value – comment on others’ submissions, vote on good posts, and submit great, relevant content that others would be interested in. Yes, it’s the long way to do it – and the best way to, also.
- Network with successful site users – they can not only show you the ropes, but also help you get successful faster. Beware – LOTS of people take this route – so don’t expect a huge, warm welcome, because unfortunately there are many people who are trying to take advantage of Top Diggers, Stumblers and Netscape Navigators, etc.
- Take them one at a time – start by learning one of the easier sites, and I recommend for the newest users to start with StumbleUpon. Once you have some success under your belt, you can tackle a new site to learn.
Lastly, I want to share some numbers from the last 7 days that will help put social media in perspective for you:
|Site||Number of Visitors||Page Views per Visitor||Time Spent on Site|
|I’d also like to point to another set of compelling numbers. I commented on 2-3 posts over at ProBlogger in the same time period. Although these comments drew far less visitors, the traffic generated from a good quality comment left on a relevant site speaks for itself:|
|Site||Number of Visitors||Page Views per Visitor||Time Spent on Site|
So, although Social Media traffic has it’s benefits, it should only be a part of your entire site promotion strategy. I’ve grown to really appreciate the Digg crowd (even though they are mean as all hell sometimes), but if I had to pick, I’d take those 54 ProBlogger visitors over a big Digg any day.
Thankfully, I don’t have to pick, and neither do you.
This post was written as part of the To Do Wish List Group Research Project. Here are some posts written by others on the subject of StumbleUpon as well as other sites that I don’t know a lot about, including Newsvine and BumpZee:
- Steven Welton on BumpZee
- Easton Ellsworth on Newsvine
- Ponn Sabra on Stumble Upon for Computer Dummies and StumbleUpon Addiction for Business Research
- Jordan McCollum on StumbleUpon start to finish and Is your site StumbleUponAble and Should You Use Paid Inclusion for StumbleUpon?
- Michelle on StumbleUpon