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Lesson Six: Content and Social Media

socialmediasmThe search engines like to see that your site is growing. They like to see new content being added. It’s actually an important part of their algorithm. Many people add content when they optimize their site, and that is a great idea but you shouldn’t stop there. Create a plan to add content on an on­going basis. We all get busy and forget, but if there is a plan to guide and remind you, you are more likely to remember.

We are often asked how much content you need to add. It depends on so many factors, just a couple of which are: how big is your site already, how often are your competitors adding content and the most important factor what can you realistically commit to getting done? If you start adding a page a day and just can’t keep up with that pace the engines will notice when you stop adding content. You want to establish a pattern and some consistency.

Most people look at adding content once or twice per week.

If your Blog is on your server in a subdirectory then content you add to your Blog counts. (Don’t have a Blog yet? You are missing out! But that’s a whole other topic.)

Once your content addition plan is in place it is time to turn your attention to social media. Social media as defined on Wikipedia is:

Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories, and understandings.

Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture­sharing, vlogs, wall­postings, email, instant messaging, music­sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing), Twitter (social networking and microblogging) and other microblogs such as Jaiku and Pownce. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.

Last year Time magazine announced that the person of the year was YOU. After all the “user generated” content that was published and spreading rapidly across the internet Time felt YOU were responsible for this amazing new trend and information that is now available.

The trend continues to grow as more and more sites appear and existing sites allow for much more interaction and user generated content.

In March 2009, YouTube reached 100 million monthly viewers in the US.

6.3 billion videos were viewed on YouTube.

Facebook has grown from 100 million to 200 million users in less than 8 months.

Nielsen Online’s latest research shows that social networking is now more popular than email. According to their study, 66.8% of Internet users have used social networks, while only 65.1% have used email.

Twitter is growing at a frenzied rate, it grew 76.8% from February to March. 1,382% is Twitter’s annual growth rate. According to Nielsen, Twitter currently has 7 million unique monthly visitors.

These social networks allow you to post articles, podcasts, videos, Blogs, bookmarks, bios, profiles and comments.

With social media it is very easy to share your thoughts and your marketing message. Of course sharing it is only step one – the content has to be interesting, funny, informative, shocking etc to create a viral spread of the content through email and various networks.

This new phenomenon gives the consumer the power to voice their opinions and impact the decision making of other potential consumers. Because of all this open and honest dialog that just spreads across the internet “Reputation Management” has become a big buzz word and something we are all concerned about.

Tip! Set a Google alert for your name, your company name and various other keywords that are relevant to your site and business. Keep tabs on what content is spreading about you and your company. You may come across negative content and will have to work to neutralize the negativity and you may discover supporters of yours that will open up new opportunities. So, definitely plan some reputation management so this new age of user generated content doesn’t work against you.

The advent of social networking sites and user generated content also opens up new opportunities for businesses to get involved and really interact with and market to their audience in a different way.

Many companies are shying away from social media for 2 main reasons:

  1. They don’t understand what it is and how to participate.
  2. They don’t believe they will benefit from social media.

It is important that we address both of those issues.

How do you participate in social media?

There are so many ways, we could never cover it all right here so let’s look at just a couple examples and some of the rules and tips you must know in order to participate. is a site that was designed for social networking. You connect with friends, family and colleagues by searching the Facebook member database.

Each member has the opportunity to create their own profile, which is a page that allows them to post a photo, share contact info and post information about education, career, interests, as well as photos, quotes, videos and much more.

You can also set up a Fan page. I highly recommend you create a Fan page and promote it. You can use your Fan page to build your mailing list, promote your products or services and drive traffic back to your site. You can even pull your Blog feed into your Fan page.

There are many different ways to break into and use it as a marketing tool, but the key thing you need to remember is you can’t go in there and plaster your sales message all over the place and expect hordes of people to go running to your site.

You need to experience the “culture” of the site and learn the etiquette. There are ways you can share content that will turn your audience off and there are ways you can attract them and get them interested.

Without learning the accepted etiquette for each site, you risk offending the very people you are there to attract.

Start by setting up your profile and then check out groups and individuals that have listed an interest in what you do, or the product or service that you offer. See how they communicate and check out the type of interaction that occurs.

One thing you have to remember is things may not play out like you would expect them to. For example, I have a Blog that many of you read. Many popular Blogs have comments and feedback from the Blog readers. My Blog gets none of that – instead people email me directly and share their comments and ask their questions.

At first I was disappointed, I expected people to post comments on my Blog. I quickly learned to adapt and realized I was getting a response; it just wasn’t in the form I expected. So, you go with the flow. If something isn’t what you expected you either adapt your expectations or alter your strategy. In my case, I just adapted my thinking since the end result was what I wanted; it just didn’t occur that way I expected it to.

So what I’m saying is the whole point of social media is that it is driven by the public and you don’t have control, so you may not get what you expect. There is no precise science. There is just trial and error and getting your name, your site and your message out there.

I will go into detail on how to specifically participate in social media in an article coming out soon, but for now I just wanted to lay the foundation and provide a basic understanding for you.

So, in general you would participate in different ways depending on the particular site, but usually you start a group related to your product or service, posting your interests, posting comments on the Blog or Message Board forum within the particular website. You can post announcements, list products or services in the marketplace section (if the site has one). You can announce events, newsletters, teleconference calls etc.

This is a good thing, but if people abuse it and bring the overall quality of Twitter down, we will all be sorry.

If you have a feed that sends your tweets to Facebook, or your Facebook status to Twitter, you may want to consider turning it off. If you have the same message in both places you are missing an opportunity for Bing to pick up both. If they are unique, you have 2 chances to get in there!

Lesson Five: Links
Lesson Seven: Blogging

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