How to Build the Right Social Media Network for Driving Website Traffic

Are you spending too much time at social media sites like digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc. to drive web traffic? Have you seen any substantial results from your efforts? You are not alone. Thousands of people try to promote their websites using social media tools and fail miserably due to the lack of a solid plan.

If you are starting out with the sole intention of promoting your sites using the social media tools, you are on the wrong track. Social media tools are for interacting with people who share the same interests. These sites are not for promoting your interests from day one. However, if you know how to be a part of the collaborative network, you can reap enormous benefits. This article offers a five-step strategy to put you in a solid footing.

Select a few sites and create a network of friends who share your interests. There are hundreds of sites and you don’t have time to spend on all of these sites. Start with facebook, digg, and stumbleupon.

Create your profile in each site and upload a picture. People can easily connect with some one if they have a picture of that person in their mind. It is your brand and you don’t want to create a brand using a cartoon icon.

Find out people in these sites who are submitting stories and creating groups in your niche. These are the people who share your interests and you want to associate with.

Make a habit of sending at least ten friend requests daily. Send a note with your request explaining your interests and brief comments about their latest submissions. Within six months, you will have a large friend network.

Browse your friends’ profiles. Read their submission that interest you and provide humorous or quality comments on their posts. Promote their submissions by voting.

You must establish your credentials first. When your network knows who you are and they see your picture in your comments and submissions regularly, they will trust you and you will be able to develop your brand.

Sites like stumbleupon and digg have features to share links. If you receive shouts in Digg from your friends about a link, check it out and provide your feedbacks on the article. If you think you should digg it, go for it.

Create great contents, helpful web tools, humorous web pages, or off-beat articles. If you write blogs, create contents that will benefit your visitors. These may be in the forms of unknown tips and tricks, tutorials on complex subjects, a compilation of tools to improve productivity, etc. Humors benefit everybody because it is a way to make us feel good.

Don’t submit your contents or to the social media sites. Send the URL to a few friends in the network and ask them for their feedback. Don’t ask them to submit your contents. Ask them that you want their opinions on improving the article or your site.

After you receive feedbacks, immediately act upon those feedbacks and improve your contents based on those feedbacks. Once it is ready, thank them from their constructive criticism and remind them that it is now ready. If one of them really likes it, they will submit it to the social media site.

You need great contents for lots of visitors from one of these social media sites. But contents will not work. You also need an online social network and you need to actively participate in the network by sharing and providing feedbacks.

Social media is the only warty to create a traffic tsunami to your site. However, it takes time to build the network. If you want to reap the benefit of the new online channel, start building your network slowly.

Five Rules For Social Video Optimization

The popularity of social video sites like YouTube, Yahoo Video, iFilm, blinkx is undeniable. YouTube alone receives more than 65,000 video uploads and plays 100 million clips every day. By 2010, video enthusiasts will consume 44 billion user generated video clips. This represents 55% of all the video content viewed by US consumers.

In the future, user generated videos may even end up on your television screen through the cables and satellites. YouTube has already announced incorporating the revenue sharing possibility with the creators of these video streams. Other sites may follow soon. You will be able to monetize your video contents and allow others to discover your skills and talents for better jobs or other lucrative offerings. To maximize the impact of your creativity, you need to know the kind of contents you have to produce and effectively present those contents in the video sharing sites.

The social video optimization is not about optimizing your videos for high search engine ranking (SEO). It is about making your videos for others to enjoy and learn from (providing benefits to people) and publishing those videos in social video and social media websites for viewers to easily discover, bookmark, and share for a viral effect.

1. Provide benefits. Offer something that will benefit others. It may be funny video clips, a series of “how-to” videos, an unusual moment, etc. Don’t upload any violent clips. Though these clips are popular in video sharing sites, most of the time they don’t provide any real value to the society. Unless the violence has journalistic value, don’t embrace it for amusement.

Funny clips are popular. Kids and pets provide plenty of opportunities to capture hilarious moments. If you have plumbing skills, offer a series of short “how to” videos on fixing things around the house. A computer geek can channel her skills in developing short videos on how to setup a home network. Plenty of opportunities are available. Find your niches and work in those areas. If you are comedian, create short stand-up comedy routine videos. The bottom line is to create themes and produce a series of videos based on each theme.

2. Provide enhanced viewing experience. People do not want to watch a full-length movie in a video-sharing site. A clip should not be more than 10 minutes long. Buy a cell phone with a good quality camera for capturing those unexpected moments. Otherwise, use a digital video camera for making your clips. Use a free online video editing sites like for cutting video scenes, inserting title and sound effects, etc.

3. Create your brand. Companies spend millions to establish and promote brands. Why should not you? Brand recognition is very powerful and it may set you apart from others. Insert a few frames at the start and end of every video you create to introduce yourself, your skills and talents.

People like to associate with real persons rather than some unknown entities. Tell them what this video is all about. Make it short. Setup a blog and provide your blog URL in the introductory and conclusionary frames. Make the blog URL short for people to remember it easily.

4. Make it discoverable. This is like marketing your video on the video sharing sites. If you don’t do it properly, your contribution will be lost in the sea of video clips. Provide a short and catchy title with keywords related to your video. Relevant keywords will help locate your clips when people do a search. A catchy title in the search results will draw viewers’ attention.

Learn from the titles others are using by doing a search using your keywords in YouTube and other similar sites. The same goes for the description. Use relevant keywords but make it interesting to arouse curiosity. Write in the natural language and avoid adjectives. Let the users decide the quality of your presentation.

Tags are everywhere now a day. It is a keyword, not a keyword phrase. You should provide tags for your uploaded contents. If your titles and descriptions are relevant to your videos, you already have a few tags.

Besides the tags you have already collected from your title and description use one or more tags to closely identify your content to the categories available in the site. For example, on YouTube you have categories like “autos and vehicles”, “comedy”, “howto” etc.

If your video is about how to fix a flat tire, use additional tags like “tire”, “car”, etc. Add a few additional tags to describe the least important thing in your video. In the “fix a flat tire” video example, you can add tags like “stems”, “valve”, etc. Use as many tags as you can accommodate in the tag text box.

5. Relax and enjoy. You may be wondering why this is a rule. This is a rule because you do not want to feel the burnout. Enjoy what you are doing. Have a passion for your creative works. Don’t think about how much money you are going to make by producing these videos.

This is not going to make you rich overnight or within a very short time span. What is important is that you are pursuing something that you like. If the society is benefiting from your creative works, you will get adequate monetary rewards.


Gear Up Your Site for Social Media Marketing

The year 2006 saw the emergence of social media. If you are engaged in operating a website, you must realign your site to exploit the popular social media sites for increased traffic.

You should also introduce social media components to your site because web users are experiencing these new form of interactions in more and more sites and they may have an expectation of the same from your site also.

If you want to attract repeat visitors and want them to stay longer, your focus this year should be on the social aspects of your site.

Social media use technologies like RSS, blogging, podcasting, tagging, etc. and offer social networking (MySpace, Facebook), social video and picture sharing (YouTube, Flickr), and community-based content ranking (Digg, MiniClip) features.

The central theme of these sites is user generated contents used for sharing among the end-users. The social aspects of these sites are to allow users to setup social communities, invite friends and share common interests.

You don’t have to change your site completely within a month or so to take advantages of these new technologies. Introduce small changes incrementally through out the year and you will be on your way to meet these new challenges.

The first step is to declare who you are to the online community. People should be able to relate to you. Unless they know more about you, you will be just an unknown identity and most people don’t like to deal with unknowns. Create an About Us page and list your achievements and skills.

Create a MySpace page and link your bio in the About Us page to the MySpace page. Also provide a link back from the MySpace page to your website. Spend an hour every week to develop your online social network in MySpace. Invite a few of these new friends to write blog articles at your site about your products or services.

Install a free blog software and start publishing at least one article in your blog. Provide an easy bookmarking feature to social bookmarking sites like delicious. This is done by providing an action button for each article in your site. The action button takes users to the submission page of the bookmarking site.

Also, provide an action button for direct posting of blog articles to digg. Digg is a popular news ranking site. A well dugg article will bring thousands of visitors to your site.

Provide a forum at your site for users to discuss your products and services. Don’t delete negative comments because they provide insights into the improvements needed to serve your visitors better. However, censor hate speeches and meaningless bantering. Register your forum at BoardTracker. BoardTracker is a forum search engine.

If you are offering products, allow users to review and rate your products. This will help you in inventory management because you may want to discontinue low rated products.

Provide RSS feeds for your new products, blogs, forum postings, etc. An RSS feed provides teasers of your contents. Users will use RSS readers to scan your teasers and visit your site for more information if the teasers draw their attentions.

Publish all your feeds at feedburner. Feedburner provides media distribution and audience engagement services for RSS feeds. They also provide an advertising network for your feeds. If you have quality contents, you will be able to monetize your contents using their services.

Create short how-to or new product videos and post these videos in social video sharing sites like YouTube, Google video. Provide a few start and end frames in these videos to introduce your site with your site url. Post these videos using catchy titles, teasing descriptions, and appropriate tags to make them discoverable.

Provide embedded links to your posted videos in your site. This will save your bandwidth and storage space because the videos reside in the video sharing sites.

Besides videos, use social photo sharing sites like Flickr to share pictures related to contents in your site. Use the same title, description and tag techniques discussed earlier for social video sites.

Provide a Send to Friend feature for all products and services you offer. This feature is a link that sends the article, product description, etc. to a recipient via e-mail.

For starter, Yahoo provides a service called Action Buttons (search for Yahoo Action Buttons) that add links to your website for users to share, save, and blog about your website. The Yahoo action buttons use delicious for social bookmarking, and Yahoo blog site for blogging. It also has a print feature.

The social media is not a fad. It is here to stay and bring in profound changes to web surfers’ experiences. It is the right time for implementing features that will make your site social media friendly. Also, using marketing techniques that utilize popular social media sites, you will be able to bring traffic to your site.

8 Social Media Marketing Tips For Your Small Business

There is no dearth of social media sites. Almost all demographics are represented by the top few social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. A recent study by Pindom indicates that males and females are equally represented in Facebook, average Facebook and Twitter users are in their mid thirties and LinkedIn is popular among the mid forties. According to Comscore, close to 92% videos viewed by the US online population are from YouTube.

So, you have a wide variety of websites to leverage for your social media marketing. If you cover the top channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, you will cover most of the ground for your social media marketing efforts. Now the question is how you use these sites to better understand your customers’ needs and competitors’ positions. Here are eight tips you can easily follow.

1.Survey you customers. Use these sites to conduct formal surveys to find out what they think about your products and services. A Facebook fan page is good for setting up a formal survey. Twitter can be use to ask a question directly to your brand followers.

2. Monitor your customers’ sentiments. Find out what your customers are talking about your brand in these sites in the forms of YouTube comments or Twitter tweets. You can use tools like Social Mention and Trackur to find out your customer’s sentiment about your products and services.

3. Find competitors marketing efforts. Use these sites for competitive intelligence. Find out how your competitors are using keywords, back links, job postings, etc. in these sites. Check out the type of contents they are publishing in these sites and how they are promoting their products.

4. Generate ideas monitoring competitors. One of the highly effective uses of social media sites are competitive analyses. You can learn a lot of social media marketing techniques just by observing your competitors’ activities in these sites.

You can find out what gap they have in their products and services by monitoring their customers’ sentiment. This will provide you with an opportunity to fill these gaps and position yourself firmly with new products or new features to an existing product.

5. Promote unique offers. Social media sites are good for promoting exclusive offers that are not available on your website directly. Set up some doorway pages with exclusive offers that are only available to your social media followers, like Facebook fans or Twitter followers.

6. Participate in customers’ discussions. It is not enough to just passively observe your customers. You need to participate in their conversation. Inform them what is going on with your products. When your next software release is going to be. What new features you are working on.

7. Inform your customers. Post videos of new product tests, conference presentation, TV interviews, company events, or any other news items. Invite them to comment and take actions based on their comments.

8. Sell products. Though this is the ultimate goal of participating in the social media sites, it should be the last attempt. Once you get your customers engaged with your brand using social media channels, you can use these sites to sell directly. Facebook pages make it a bit easier to set up an online store. For other channels, you need to be creative. You can promote the best selling or clearance items using these channels.