Tag Archives: facebook
Facebook offers exceptional, low cost marketing opportunities for small business. Facebook now has over 300 million users, and while that seems like an outrageous number for small businesses to be targeting, Facebook offers a very powerful platform on which to build a presence. If youâre not already active on Facebook; you should get started right away.
Basic Strategy: If you havenât signed up for Facebook yet, you absolutely should as soon as possible. Once youâve signed up, you should also consider securing your companyâs username. Be aware, however, that if you reserve your company name for your personal account, you wonât be able to use it for your Business Fan Page (more on those in the Advanced Strategy), so you may want to create a Page before registering your companyâs name. Fan Pages have special rules regarding usernames, which you can read here.
You should do one other thing: search for your competitors and evaluate their Facebook presence. What types of Pages have they built? How many fans or âfriendsâ do they have? Spend 15 minutes (per competitor) looking at their posts, photos and/or videos to understand how theyâre using Facebook.
Advanced Strategy: You may already have a personal Facebook account, but how do you extend that presence for your business? You have several options. You can register a Business Account â which is designed for a very simple presence on Facebook. There are many limitations on such accounts (read the FAQ here), however, so youâll most likely prefer to have a Business Fan Page. A Business Fan Page lets you create a page where customers or fans of your business can register as a âfanâ â expanding the presence of your business (because your updates will also flow to their pages). You might also want to consider running hyper-local ads on Facebook.
Basic Strategy: If you havenât signed up on Twitter yet, you should sign up today and reserve an account in the name of your business. While you might ultimately tweet in your own name, youâll want to have the option to tweet from a business account. More importantly, you donât want your competitors to register your business name. Twitter has put together a simple guide to help you understand what Twitter can do for business. You can also check out Mashableâs Twitter Guide.
Next, you should spend 15-30 minutes on Twitterâs homepage, doing basic searches to become familiar with the type of content available on the service. For example, if you are operating a small gift basket business, do some searches for various terms and phrases such as âgift basket,â âgifts,â âgift basket business,â etc. You should also search for the names of your competitors to see whether theyâre on Twitter and if they are, how theyâre using it. And donât forget to search for your small business name â your customers may already be talking about you! Once you become comfortable with the content thatâs already available and how your competitors are using Twitter, you can begin thinking about a strategy for how youâll leverage Twitter for your business.
Advanced Strategy: To truly leverage Twitter, youâll want to learn and use a few more advanced tools. This includes desktop and mobile Twitter clients like TweetDeck, Seesmic, and Tweetie. Desktop clients give you more flexibility and more control over your Twitter strategy than youâll have on the Twitter website. Among other things, youâll be able to pre-define searches (so that you can monitor certain keywords, including your business name) and group people you follow so that you can minimize the noise and focus on the real content. You might also consider using a web tool like Twitterfall, which will allow you to define (and color-code) various custom searches that you can review from time to time, and also to follow trending topics. For example, I use Twitterfall to identify helpful graphic design and industrial design resources to share with the crowdSPRING community.
3. Company Blog
Although thereâs more attention focused today on social networks than on company blogs, blogs continue to offer great value for small businesses.
Basic Strategy: At a minimum, you should consider reserving a domain name for your blog â if you donât already have a custom domain for your business. If youâre comfortable enough to set up your own blog, thatâs generally the best way to proceed â although this requires a bit more technical knowledge (many hosting providers offer a 1 step easy setup for blogs that will automatically install WordPress for you). You can also setup a blog directly at WordPress.com (itâs easier to do, but you donât have full control over everything that you would on your own site).
One easy alternative is to set up a simple blog at Posterous â a place to post stories, photos, videos, MP3s, and files. There are pluses and minuses to all of these options â you should take some time to compare them and do what makes sense for your business. I caution you only about spreading yourself too thin.
Advanced Strategy: Now that youâve decided to start or improve your small business blog, how do you build an audience for it? It all starts with great content. Decide on a focus for your blog, and write awesome content that people will enjoy. For example, some months ago at my company, we decided that we wanted to write more about small business issues, so weâve been writing original posts focusing on issues affecting small businesses. Think about your expertise and more importantly, think about the things that youâre interested in writing about. A blog requires a long term investment of time (and resources), and you donât want to be stuck writing about things that bore you.
Youâll also want to consider how you can make it easier for your readers to help promote your content. For example, install helpful plug-ins, such as a TweetMeme button, which makes it easy for people to retweet your posts on Twitter. Donât be afraid to experiment with plugins to add to the functionality of your blog, but keep it simple. You want to keep the blog focused, and easy for your readers to use.
LinkedIn is a business oriented social network for professionals, and itâs huge, with nearly 50 million users from over 200 countries.
Basic Strategy: Once again, youâll want to at least reserve your business name (or your personal name) so that others canât use it. Similar to the way you might start exploring Facebook and Twitter, you should look around on LinkedIn to see how your competitors are using the service. You might also look up your customers and connect with them.
Advanced Strategy: LinkedIn has some powerful features that most people donât use. For example, you can encourage your customers, clients or vendors to give you a ârecommendationâ on your profile. Recommendations are useful because theyâll make you and your business more credible with new customers. If youâre a roofer, for example, ask your customers to recommend you after a successful job. Youâll find such recommendations useful â particularly since your LinkedIn profile will come up high in search engine results. I recommend that you read Chris Broganâs post from last year discussing the elements of a good LinkedIn recommendation.
Another strategy involves the many subject matter groups on LinkedIn. Find some groups that have a connection to your small business and become involved in the conversations. Answer questions when you can, and help to establish yourself as knowledgeable about specific topics related to your business. There are many small business and general marketing groups that will be very useful resources for you, and if there isnât a group that interests you, consider starting one.
5. Participate On Other Blogs
It might seem counter-intuitive for you to spend your valuable time by participating in discussions on other peopleâs blogs, but the payoff can be very valuable. Remember that it takes time to build a reputation and establish your credibility, and you canât always expect everyone to come to you. Sometimes, you have to go out and build your own credibility and reputation.
Basic Strategy: Identify 2-3 blogs in your industry, or those that focus on small business, and get into the habit of regularly reading the content and participating in the discussions. Whenever you can, try to add value by sharing a personal story about what has/has not worked for you. Get to know the writers â theyâll be valuable contacts for you. One strategy for identifying good blogs is to use Guy Kawasakiâs Alltop, which is a directory of popular blogs across many different subject areas. For example, for blogs focused on crafts, you might follow this page on Alltop. If you want to participate in blogs focusing on small business issues, you might start at Technoratiâs list of the Top 100 Small Business blogs.
Advanced Strategy: Once youâve spent some time on other blogs and have participated in discussions, youâll find that youâve built a level of credibility and trust, based on your participation. You should consider reaching out to the blog owners and asking whether theyâd allow you to guest post an article on their blog (kind of like this post). This is a nice way for you to get in front of a bigger audience, and many blog owners will invite guests to post from time to time. Agree on a topic in advance and provide a draft of your post sufficiently in advance of the publication date to give them an opportunity to review.
Alternatively, ask if they would consider guest posting on your blog. Since youâre looking to attract more readers (and more potential customers), either option works well for that purpose. Donât worry so much about going after the A-list blogs right away. There are many excellent blogs and it might take a bit of time to build your reputation to such a level that youâll have opportunities to post in the top blogs. That doesnât mean you should wait, though â make opportunities for yourself and offer to guest write whenever you can find a new audience. I recommend you read How To Guest Post To Promote Your Blog from blogging expert Darren Rowse.
6. Mobile Social Networks and other Local Strategies
Yelp publishes millions of reviews about local businesses. Foursquare is a combination city-guide, friend finder and competitive game. It allows users to âcheck inâ by cell phone at a local venue and announce this via other social networks such as Twitter.
Basic Strategy: Yelp, Foursquare, and other mobile social networks can be powerful marketing channels for small businesses. You should at the very least register accounts on the popular services and get to know them. If you have a restaurant or a retail store, for example, youâll want to get to know Yelp pretty well. You can set up a business account on Yelp (no cost), which will let you answer questions about your business, track how many Yelp users view your business page, add information about your business, and announce special promotions. Similarly, youâll want to sign up with Foursquare to take advantage of local advertising opportunities. Using Foursquare, youâll be able to push promotions to potential customers whoâre in the vicinity of your business.
Advanced Strategy: If you believe that your business can truly benefit from a presence on Yelp, Foursquare, or similar networks, youâll want to do more than just register accounts with those services. For example, Yelp allows you to include a website URL for your business. Nearly all sites will let you upload photos to your profile, and photos will make your profile more trustworthy.
You can also proactively use Yelp and other similar services to promote your business. Ask your customers, friends and family who have used your services for a review on Yelp. You can encourage reviews by running promotions or discounts â offering free appetizers, for example, to a customer who will write a review about their meal at your restaurant (or to one who already wrote a review), or a small discount to a customer who hires you for carpentry work and mentions that they found you through Yelp.
Similarly, you can find ways to promote your business using Foursquare and similar networks. If you have a TV display in your store connected to a computer, you can display the people who are checking in. You can offer specials or discounts to the person who visits your location the most (this is similar to frequent buyer cards that many businesses have used for years).
Donât forget to also consider how you can improve your use of other basic local strategies. For example, many small business websites are optimized for specific keywords or subject areas, but are rarely optimized for local searches. If you have a gift basket business, youâll want to be sure that users searching for gift baskets in your geographic area will find you.
7. Comments and Conversations About Your Company
Whether or not you are a party to the conversations, people will talk about your company. How do you monitor and, when appropriate, join those discussions?
Basic Strategy: There are five simple steps you can take today to begin paying attention to conversations about your business.
First, set up Google Alerts. Google Alerts are free email updates from Google search results about any topic youâre interested in tracking. For example, I track, among other alerts, the names of our competitors, the name of our company, and certain other terms I believe are important to my business. Anytime Google adds something to its index that mentions my company or the other terms Iâm tracking, I receive an immediate email notification with a link to that item. Alerts can be set up for web, blog, news, video, or groups searches.
Second, review the results in your web analytics data. At my company, we use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that provides detailed and very useful information about your website traffic and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. When we run social media campaigns, weâll often attach tracking tags to those campaigns so that we can properly monitor them in Google Analytics. This is important because without such data it will be nearly impossible for you to evaluate the success of your social media marketing efforts. But analytics are important for another reason: theyâll tell you which sites are sending traffic to your site.
Third, search Facebook. In August, Facebook rolled out a real-time search engine (the search box is on the top right of any Facebook page). One effective way to take advantage of Facebook search is to search for your companyâs name to see who is talking about your company and what theyâre saying. In several months, youâll be able to search Facebook updates directly from Bing, which will be integrating Facebook public updates into Bingâs search results.
Fourth, search Twitter. You currently can search Twitter for real-time results (if youâre not logged in, just go to Twitterâs homepage). One easy way to monitor conversations about your company is to search for your companyâs name. You can also currently do this on Bing, which is indexing Twitter updates. Very soon, youâll also be able to search Twitter updates (and other social media content) via Googleâs Social Search (Social Search was rolled out to Google Labs recently, as an experimental product). You can also use Twitter clients like TweetDeck or Seesmic to save searches and monitor in real-time whenever someone uses a specific word or phrase in a tweet.
Finally, take advantage of services that will, similar to Google Alerts, push data to you. I use and like BackType, which is a real-time search engine that indexes online conversations in thousands of blogs and social networks. I use BackType primarily to keep up with conversations in blogs. Every day, I receive emails from BackType with links to comments that include the keywords Iâm monitoring. Without these alerts, I would be unable to monitor so many blogs, and my ability to respond to posts about my company would be very limited.
Advanced Strategy: If youâre having trouble keeping track of your various search strategies, you should consolidate your efforts and leverage one of the many applications that will help you monitor the social web. I have not personally used these services, but they appear to be held in high esteem by knowledgeable people who have. For example, truVOICE provides keyword monitoring of the social web with an emphasis on blogs and forums, while Radian6 pulls in a lot of information from the social web, analyzes it, and provides consumer sentiment ratings for your brand. A good resource to learn about paid social media monitoring tools is Mashableâs post Top 10 Reputation Tracking Tools Worth Paying For.
In addition to monitoring, youâll need to decide how, when, and where youâll engage in conversations. Itâll be very difficult for you to engage in conversations everywhere, so you should spend some time learning the various networks and deciding where you should focus your efforts. Looking at your website analytics data â if you own an online business â will help a great deal because itâll help you to better understand where your traffic is coming from. If much of your traffic originates from Twitter and Facebook, for example, youâll want to spend more time on those services.
Multimedia (video, photos, audio) is a bit more complicated for many small businesses to execute, but can provide excellent social media marketing opportunities.
Basic Strategy: YouTube has been constantly evolving and adding features that make it an attractive social site for small businesses. Although you donât have to produce videos to participate on YouTube, you should consider whether simple videos can help your marketing efforts. For example, if youâre already posting videos to your blog, you can upload them to YouTube to reach a broader audience, and embed the video content in your blog posts. YouTube has also been adding more comprehensive activity updates for its users and has made pretty powerful analytics tools available so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of your video content.
Similarly, you could start a Flickr account for your business and post photos of your customers or your products (or both). Flickr offers a place where people can share photos with others, but also has discussion groups, many focused on local markets, that offer additional opportunities for you to market your business. You can also consider setting up your own Internet radio talk show using BlogTalkRadio, which is another way to use multimedia to speak directly to your customers. Get creative with it â own a restaurant? Start a call-in show for people to ask cooking questions. Are you a piano teacher? Perhaps you could start a show to talk about classical music.
Advanced Strategy: Advanced strategies using multimedia are complicated and typically benefit from using experienced consultants. One effective way to leverage video, for example, is to create content that has the potential to become viral. While I donât believe you can set out to make a viral video (an incredible amount of luck is typically involved), there are a number of things you can typically do to build awareness about your small business using viral video (these strategies are beyond the scope of this post). Once youâve created good content, youâll want to distribute it using as many social networks as you can.
When you consider how you can leverage social networks, think about whether each network provides an audience or a technology solution (or both). For example, YouTube provides both a huge audience and a solution for uploading video files. Flickr can also provide both an audience and a technology solution, but not for every business. While your customers might not be on Flickr, you can still use Flickr as a place to store and tag your photos, and then distribute those photos to other social networks where you prefer to invest more time and effort.
9. Maintain Brand Consistency
Weâve discussed only a small handful of social networks. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of others, and new ones spring up every day. That means that your customers will have many different ways to find you. But they wonât find you if your brand is scattered across social networks using different usernames and profiles. Letâs review some strategies for making sure that your brand is consistent across social networks.
Basic Strategy: Usernames and user profiles are already showing up in search results. Do a search for your companyâs name on Google right now â if you also have a Twitter account with the same name, odds are pretty good that the Twitter account will appear very high in the search results. This means that having a consistent username across the various social networks is very important. At a minimum, if you havenât registered your company name on the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), you should do that today. For many small businesses, their user accounts on social networks will be the highest ranked pages in search results.
You should also evaluate your email and web presence strategies. For example, are you using a Gmail email address when you can very easily be using a custom email address with your company name as your domain? Compare: email@example.com with firstname.lastname@example.org â which looks more professional? Similarly, are you hosting your blog at WordPress.com instead of on your own custom domain? Little details can make a difference.
Advanced Strategy: Things get a bit more complicated when you consider that there are many different social networks, and itâs tough to predict which of them will become popular and which will fail. Use a service such as namechk or KnowEm to see whether your username is available on dozens of popular social networks and if itâs not, to see which username could be registered across all social networks.
Maintaining name consistency is important, but isnât enough by itself. Youâll also want to make sure that your brand speaks with a common âvoiceâ across the social networks. This may be easier said than done. Social networks differ in significant ways from one another and present unique challenges for interacting with customers and potential customers on those networks.
Speaking with a common âvoiceâ doesnât mean that only one person should execute your companyâs social media marketing strategy, but it does mean that everyone who speaks on behalf of your company in social media reflects your brand in a consistent way. I recommend you read Shel Israelâs recently published book âTwitterville,â for excellent tips and stories focusing on how large and small businesses can develop a consistent voice in social media.
10. Leverage Combinations of Social Media Tools
One of the best ways for small businesses to leverage social media marketing is to use various social networks in combination with each other.
Basic Strategy: At a minimum, you should do several things today to cross-market across the various social networks youâre most likely already using. Here are three suggestions:
First, connect your Twitter account to Facebook so that your tweets will appear in your public updates on Facebook. This will let you leverage your time on Twitter to also update your Facebook fans.
Second, connect your LinkedIn profile to your WordPress blog. LinkedIn allows you to publish, in your profile, synopses of the most recent blog posts on your blog. This application will automatically update your LinkedIn profile with your most recent blog posts.
Third, integrate Twitter tools into your blog. I like and use the TweetMeme retweet button on my blogs to make it easier for users to tweet about the blog posts. I also use the ShareThis tool to enable readers to quickly share content on multiple social networks.
Advanced Strategy: Advanced strategies require careful planning/execution and appropriate tools. In nearly all cases, your goal is to maximize the value of your content. For example, if youâre posting videos on YouTube or Vimeo, you can blog about those videos on your companyâs blog. Then, you can tweet about the blog posts on Twitter (which I assume is integrated with your Facebook account). This way, youâve taken one piece of content and found a way to leverage it across multiple social networks.
Youâll also want to consider ways that you can optimize the distribution to multiple social networks at the same time. Leverage tools to help you do this. For example, Ping.fm lets you update multiple social networks all in one go. Keep in mind that not all social networks will make sense for every business. Learn which networks are best for your business and find ways to leverage combinations of those networks to make your marketing more effective.
According to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Report , 67% of marketers plan to increase their use of social media channels including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.
As more companies integrate social media into their marketing and communications plans, emphasis needs to be on creating a social media strategy. Without a strategy, you’ll undoubtedly be sucked into a social media time sink.
So how exactly do you develop this strategy?
It’s easy. Here’s a practical approach to developing a social media strategy for your business.
Do you work for a large company? Before you develop your strategy, make sure your upper-management team believes in social media and that the first goal is not to sell, sell, sell. In other words, if your business is jumping into social media because “everyone else is doing it” or because you want to sell product rather than to build relationships, please step away from social media. Social media is a long-term commitment and not a marketing gimmick.
If you’re having a tough time convincing your team that social media needs to be integrated into your marketing plan, then counter any concerns with these responses to common social media objections.
It’s important for the organization to understand that testing and experimentation are keys to success. This comes naturally to an organization whose culture embraces being proactive and open. The reason why all businesses need to have a social media strategy is because it prevents any misunderstandings and emphasizes why social media is relevant to your business’ overall goals.
Now let's develop your social media business strategy, shall we?
#1: Determine Your Goals and Objectives
Determine who owns social media. Whether it’s marketing, PR, or communications is irrelevant. In a perfect social media world for businesses, social media instills a collaborative approach and breaks down silos.
What’s important is to understand your social media goals and objectives and how they tie into your overall company goals.
Keep it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Timely (aka be SMART!).
#2: Research, Research, and Research Some More
Rather than jumping into the social media pool with both feet, do the equivalent of the “splash-water-on-self” maneuver so you know what to expect. Step two of creating an effective social media strategy is research.
* Develop a list of social media sites where you can potentially engage with people. The list will most likely start off with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a few select blogs and forums.
* Check out each of the social media sites on your list and do additional research to determine relevancy by searching for your brand name, your competitors, and your target keywords. Listen to what’s out there, identify, and understand your target audience.
#3: Create a Digital Rolodex of Contacts and Content
When social media is done correctly, relationships will build naturally. Begin making connections by following the conversation. You can do this by subscribing to blogs in your industry and by making a list of influencers who are relevant to your business.
This becomes handy when it’s time to provide content on your social networks. Read Emily Proctor’s article in which she provides some excellent pointers on a social media content strategy.
#4: Join the Conversation to Develop Relationships
Now it’s time to start making use of all the research you’ve done. You can start joining the conversation by posting comments on blogs and forums, answering questions on Yahoo! and LinkedIn, joining groups related to your industry and joining Twitter chats.
Begin developing relationships by following and friending influencers and those in your industry. Don’t just look for people with thousands of followers; you’ll be surprised by the value that someone with only a couple of hundred followers provides. Here’s an article on how to network on Twitter.
#5: Strengthen Relationships
It’s easy to hide behind your avatar or profile picture, but face-to-face is incredibly powerful. I think more people are now realizing how underrated the in-person interaction really is because of how far social media has come, allowing so many people to “hide.”
Attend offline events related to your industry—not only to strengthen your knowledge base but also to network and strengthen relationships with those you might have conversed with via social media but never met in person. A popular offline event is known as a tweetup.
#6: Measure Results
You have goals and objectives, right? That means you should be able to measure your success.
Remember, what you measure will tie into the goals and objectives of your social media strategy.
Let’s take the four commonly used objectives:
- Improve brand presence across social channels—The measurement goal here is an increase in the number of followers on Twitter, number of fans on Facebook, number of comments, number of times your brand is mentioned in blogs and forums and so on.
- Increase positive sentiment about your brand—The goal here is to convert the number of positive mentions while taking note of negative mentions. Has the ratio of positive to negative comments improved? With the good comes the bad in social media. Get used to it!
- Develop relationships for future partnership opportunities—This goal is to keep track of those with whom you’ve connected. For example, if you met a potential speaker for your webinar, include that person into your digital Rolodex. If a vendor contacts you through your blog, capture that lead and take note.
- Increase traffic to your website—Keep track of visitors to your website who come from each of your social media sites. If you’re promoting an event using social media, consider using a unique code to track the campaign.
Measuring social media is a never-ending debate. What metrics do you use to measure social media? What objective are you measuring those metrics for?
When it comes to measuring social media, it takes a multitude of metrics as well as trending reports to get a sense of what to improve.
#7: Analyze, Adapt, and Improve
Your social media strategy doesn’t end with measurement; it goes beyond that. You need to analyze your social media campaigns, adapt any new findings into your current processes, and improve your efforts.
Testing and experimentation will perfect your social media efforts.
As you dive deeper into the never-ending pool of social media, you’ll quickly understand what works and what doesn’t.
More specifically, you’ll develop favorite tools to use, realize that there are certain days and times where it doesn’t pay to be active in social media, and come to the conclusion that you still have lots to learn. It’s a wonderful new world and I hope many of you are as thrilled to be part of it as I am.
Social media strategies will vary for each business and for each industry. However, one thing is clear: social media needs to have “all hands on deck” in order to be successfully integrated into your company’s goals and objectives.
In general, I view social media as a strategy, not a tactic. I consider the social media platforms like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc., as tactics that tie into the social media strategy. In other words, outline your social media strategy and support your strategy with tactics. Without a carefully thought-out plan, you’ll eventually be overwhelmed with social media and even worse, get burnt out by it. Use this guide as a stepping-stone to your social media success.
What are your thoughts about strategy versus tactics? Do you have any tips from your own experience developing a social media plan? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.
Social Media Popularity Around The World
With 750 million members (as of August 2011) Facebook is a tremendously popular social networking site. Its massive reach provides compelling opportunities to connect with customers, both current and future, through fan pages, news feeds, groups, and throughout the site.
Twitter has quickly become a popular platform for consumers and advertisers alike. For brands looking to communicate with customers in real time, the micro-blogging service is a great way to carry on conversations in 140 or fewer characters.
LinkedIn could be a very effective resource for both you and your company. In addition to setting up a basic profile (with a followed link), you can also utilize groups, events, and answers to connect with a large online network.
Wikipedia has an active community that’s quick to remove self promotional or spammy content, but for those who have relevant, authoritative content, it can be a great place to acquire new visitors to your site.
Though rapidly losing market share to Facebook, MySpace remains a highly trafficked social media site that can be effective for marketing. In addition to creating profiles and getting friends, connecting with groups interested in relevant topics and using group bulletins can each be great ways to connect with both customers and potential customers.
Appearing on the Digg homepage can lead to massive traffic increases to your web site or blog. And depending on your users, it can sometimes lead to significant increases in sales. Digg can be particularly effective for bloggers who write regularly and make their content easy to Digg.
A well executed video with the right title and content, can have huge viral impacts for your brand, especially if your video reaches the most viewed pages. There are also numerous other ways to optimize your videos, but coming up with an interesting concept and being aware of title, tagging, and thumbnail image, should each be key components of your strategy.
Though the effectiveness of the sometimes fickle StumbleUpon traffic varies, experiments with the bookmarking service could expand your reach with a diverse demographic.
If you have an interesting article, video, picture, or whatever else, submission to Reddit with an interesting title could lead to significant referral traffic from the Reddit homepage.
Though you can promote just about any local business on Yelp. Among the greatest opportunities on Yelp are for restaurant owners. A strong profile with friends, pictures, and positive reviews can provide high quality leads with the validation of 3rd party business reviews.
Using Delicious can be a fairly manual marketing process, but if your product appeals to a younger, techy crowd, the social bookmarking service could be an effective acquisition channel.
For artists, photographers, or videographers, Deviant Art is a great place to create a profile, submit content, and increase exposure.
With a strong network of friends, articles about popular topics with interesting titles can receive lots of traffic when promoted on Yahoo Buzz. For maximum effectiveness it is important to participate in buzz activity and proactively develop your network. Active members with large networks will yield the best results on Yahoo Buzz.
14. Hacker News
Hacker News Guide
Y Combinator has invested in their fair share of startups including Reddit, Scribd, Posterous, and a host of others, but their news aggregator, Hacker News, provides an aggregation of social technology news. In particular, tech startups who actively use the service can yield high volumes of traffic through Hacker News.
Newsvine stories are comprised of both traditional news and popular peer-voted news, which makes the site a great platform to showcase expertise on a topic. Be aware, however, that it is particularly important to categorize articles and include high resolution images when submitting pieces to Newsvine.
Given their high traffic volumes, Technorati is a viable option for online marketers looking to expand their RSS syndication.
Scribd is an underutilized tool for those looking to make documents, ebooks, or other content more shareable. A free account on Scribd gives you the ability to share documents across numerous file formats, which can be a great marketing tool. Be careful, however, not to syndicate content that is not yours.
The tech news aggregators’ article selection processes is largely based on quality based algorithms, but founder Gabe Rivera has also publicly identified two alternate methods for article inclusion which include using Twitter and driving referral visits to Techmeme.
A strategically tagged and titled SlideShare presentation can serve as a good contact point with customers. Events and groups are also avenues worth exploring for increased exposure on the SlideShare site.
Kaboodle, who puts a social twist on shopping, allows product focused sites to create public shopping lists. Exposure on prominent shopping lists can result in increased through sharing.
Epinions is a consumer review site. In addition to potentially being a good traffic source, it can also be a great place to manage your brand. Additionally, reviewers who garner lots of trust can develop a broad reach within the Epinions community.
Beware of their aggressive post sign up e-mails, but Care2 groups can be a good place for companies and organizations who specialize in health or environmental issues to market themselves.
Fark describes their site as having “news that doesn’t look like news.” Before submitting a new site, such as your own, it is important to first build trust among the community. You should also be aware that the articles that perform best on Fark tend to be funny, extraordinary, and even downright stupid in nature.
Submitting your site to Adobe and getting chosen as the site of the day can be a great way to get visitors from their highly trafficked customer showcase.
In addition to finding movie info, agents, actors, publicists, and others in the entertainment industry, you can also use IMDB to post resumes or gain visibility on the site.