This is a brief template for promoting your website using social media using strategies from my personal experience and from those veterans who average 2-3 front-page Diggs every week.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section and I’ll update this page accordingly. Please keep in mind that this template outlines the process / steps; if you’re looking for an in-depth explanation of what the key concepts mean, mention this in the comments and I’ll cater for that as well in future articles.
How to get as many social media votes as you need for your linkbait promotion:
- Networking Basics
- Social Media Basics
- The Process
Understand why you’re doing social media promotion. Your goals may change over time (as your business expands) and that will certainly change your approach but when you’re starting out, make sure you know what you want and what you don’t want.
Decide ahead of time whether you will:
* vote on ‘any’ article when asked or use a ‘quality filter’ (that is, only vote on those articles that you consider you would vote for yourself even if you weren’t asked to).
* create multiple accounts on one SM site to give yourself a voting boost or use a single account per site (multiple accounts give you a boost but are increasingly irrelevant for major social media sites and your time is much better spent cultivating relationships and improving your own account).
* write / brainstorm your own linkbait or outsource (unless you’re an expert, get help in this, even if it costs you ($100-$300)).
* go looking for votes yourself or outsource (this is a financial decision but it’s recommended that over time you build your own network as opposed to persistently outsourcing every article’s promotion).
Personally, I try to use a quality filter, build my profile on each site, outsource linkbait but do the brainstorming and editing, and I prefer to look for the votes myself.
* You need to help people first before they will help you. Be available via IM / email for social media voting. If you vote on their articles, they will vote on yours. If you comment on / review their articles, they will reciprocate. Give and you shall get.
* As a rule, quality and quantity are both important. Always look to expand your network but also look to keep adding power-players to your circle.
* Get in on as many lists, forums and social media promotion groups as you can. Just try to make sure they don’t overlap in terms of the people involved too much.
* Once you’re ‘popular’ enough (you’ll know when), start your own mailing list that you use to send social media requests.
Social Media Basics
* Get a power user to submit your content whenever possible.
* Building a profile is the job of someone who works fulltime (or relatively fulltime) in the online marketing niche. If that’s your calling, go for it. Otherwise work on leveraging the power of numbers and try to keep your profile clean (don’t blindly vote up every article you see, only vote on those you’re genuinely interested in).
* Every social media website has a different ‘system’ and pitfalls. Whether you’re in this fulltime or not, learn the culture and learn what will work and not work on each SM site. Digg and StumbleUpon are radically different and yet both can deliver massive amounts of traffic (Digg instantly, SU over time).
* Tap into non-English social media sites. Again, tailor your content to suit the audience. You’re looking for links as much as exposure, and if you can get links from websites your competition isn’t tapping into, it automatically gives you an advantage.
* Social Media is just one part of the equation. The key has always been and will always be the people you know and what influence they have over others. Target bloggers and journalists through your social media efforts and with really great content if you can get links before you push your campaign through, you’ll get a very nice natural voting pattern through the traffic coming through.
* Content isn’t king. How people feel about it matters much more. The same thing said one way to one set of people produces a different reaction to saying it another way to the same set of people. Changing your presentation, changing your positioning and changing your targets will have make a difference in how successful your promotions are.
* Create a weekly list of urls that you’ll be promoting through social media
* Position yourself as an active voter – offer to help and help as much as you can – write comments / reviews on social media sites, comment on the content as well, consider voting on other social media platforms if the content is really good.
* On your list of contacts, directly ask everyone to vote for one linkbait per week. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 or 1, ask them to vote on only one linkbait per week.
* Whenever someone asks you to vote, do so, do the comments, and then ask them to reciprocate on your linkbait (pick a different one from what you’ve asked them already). This will get you a guaranteed vote without you seeming like a greedy fucker who wants votes all the time. Spread out your linkbaits for the week and ask people to reciprocate on different ones. If you have few, ask them to reciprocate on different social media platforms.
Embrace the fact that you’re getting asked for votes. Embrace the fact that people will reciprocate. Embrace the fact that people love the ‘extra’ – the comments, etc. And then milk it by creating top-notch content that will garner momentum on its own, give it some push and enjoy.
Ahmed it is a well thought out plan. I like that you emphasize on the creation of content. Linkbaiting works because the content is attractive to your target market.
On a second thought, I am not very fond of trying to get on the front page of Digg or similar social bookmarking sites. It does not bring in the targeted niche that you are looking for and the conversion rate of repeat visitors or RSS subscribers is very low.
You’re essentially right, but there’s another way of looking at social media / social bookmarking.
Digg puts you in front of the linkerati (read this and this) and that:
a) sends readers from other sites from within your niche
b) gives your search rankings a boost – better search rankings equals more search traffic equals more targeted readers.
I’ve used Digg here but the above is true for all major social bookmarking sites.