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Social Media Marketing – Think Long-Term

Social media strategiesWeb marketers who view social media as a promotional tool can be roughly divided into three categories:

1) Those who blatantly spam (in a hope to get quick traffic). They usually have no valuable content to offer the community and their main goal is to get people click on an ad.
2) Those who link bait (hoping that their article will generate some links from other bloggers). These webmasters usually focus on a catchy scandalous headlines with no truly valuable post following it;
3) Those who strive to become a part of the community and establish business or friendly connections with niche webmasters.

The third approach takes much time and effort and therefore people tend to choose either of the first two. However what seems to be easier has little [or no] effect.

By doing social bookmarking for traffic or spamming friends with “visit-my-site” private messages webmasters usually see low conversions as people participating in social media are “experienced surfers” – they don’t click on ads. So in this perspective, this traffic is worthless (sorry, Tad) these are only “casual visitors”. What is more, this method can hurt a brand, if a well known expert resorts to spamming.

Edgy headlines with no worth-to-pay-attention-to post below will generate minor or no inlinks as webmasters link to quality and useful resources. Besides even if your article is a state of art it is most likely to be buried without niche experts’ support.

This brings us to the third category of “socializers” who prove to be most successful in achieving all the above aims plus in building reputation, trust and brand awareness. The main rule here is when you start your social media campaign (I mean both social bookmarking and social networks, and even blog commenting), don’t expect fast results. Don’t measure the success of your social activity by mere numbers (traffic, feed subscribers or inbound links). Try to think in a different way. Each time when you want to measure your success, ask yourself the following questions:

Which new marketing strategies did I learn from my social media activity?
– How do my social media friends evaluate my blogging activity?
– Did I manage to get noticed by a niche influencer(s)?

If you remain active and persistent, you will soon have more questions to answer and more pleasant for an eye statistics to look into. Being backed by niche experts and friends is the huge treasure which will help you throughout the time. Thanks to them you will soon see:

– People searching Google for your name;
– Your brand name being recognized;
– Niche influencers linking to your website and citing your posts;
– Friends asking you for a favor and helping you in return;
– Active social media participants helping you to promote your articles;
– Plenty of other direct and indirect benefits of your social media activity.

Update: please sphinn the post (kindly submitted by Tad)

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  1. 27 Responses to “Social Media Marketing – Think Long-Term”

  2. Excellent post Ann! I like how you broke out some qualitative analysis for social media – it’s much more on point for this kind of marketing. It’s funny you should write about this as I’ve actually been looking at different analytics stuff today (RSS, web, the eMetrics Summit, mall analytics).

    That said, I think RSS readers might be a decent proxy for measuring success, kind of like leads are in B2B.

    Besides that, Tad submitted this, and I’ve Sphunn it, because it’s some good writing. Please do a follow up with more on tracking your results from social media.

    By Gab Goldenberg on Dec 16, 2007

  3. With the sheer numbers of social websites out there it’s hard to play for the long haul. If the last web revolution was any indication 90% of all sites will be gone or absorbed in the coming years.

    Anyone remember the pre-Google days?

    By Shark Diver on Dec 16, 2007

  4. Yes, I would like to see “what is measurable” in social marketing success. If you can’t measure by traffic, bounce rates, RSS subscriptions, etc., what CAN you measure by?

    And you do say, “don’t expect fast results,” but what DO you do to get some results? What are some actionable steps one can take?

    Thanks again for the article. Consider it stumbled!

    By Lucy Dee on Dec 17, 2007

  5. @Gab: Thank you for the comment. To be honest, I do regularly check my feed numbers too :), I am just trying not to get obsessed with them.

    @Shark: If you do a quality job, it will survive any revolution, I think.

    @Lucy: You can measure by numbers. What I was trying to say, don’t do it at the start. With social media you can see 1000 people coming to your website today and 3 tomorrow. So what’s the point? I will be doing follow-ups with actual practical advice, so check back soon!

    By Ann Smarty on Dec 17, 2007

  6. I definitely fit in The Link Baiters category. When doing SEO for the clients, this is the only logical category to best serve your clients. Most clients don’t care about community, they care about rankings and successful link bait will really help. Cheers.

    By SEO Canada on Dec 17, 2007

  7. Lol, I’m “SEO Canada” :P. I was there first!

    By The real SEO Canada on Dec 17, 2007

  8. Excellent post!
    Not sure where I am yet. Probably a social being, although not in the most common sense. I guess time will tell, and I’ll see what I end up developing into.

    By SlightlyShadySEO on Dec 17, 2007

  9. Great post! Thank you for saying this.

    By BrettFromTibet on Dec 17, 2007

  10. At a recent politics conference I attended the issue of authenticity on social media came up. The consensus was that you can’t “fake it” on social media.

    In my opinion, this fits in with your line of thought: in social media, you have to make a long-term effort to be real and make real friends. Only then will you have a real reputation.

    Great post, Ann. Keep it up.

    By Guy Rosen on Dec 18, 2007

  11. Thanks for the article. I place myself in the number three category and find that the more I begin to participate in SM, the more overwhelming it all seems. I think having a specific strategy and timeline for your social campaigning is key.


    By Katrina Joy Plam on Dec 18, 2007

  12. Great post! I tell clients all the time that “Small Success leads to Big Success!” Things don’t just happen overnight when you are starting a new business. It takes effort. Mark Twain said that

    the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.

    Social media is not part of a “get rich quick” scam. It’s a legit way to network online. You have to have good information to share and build friendships if you want SMO to pay off long term. Thanks again.

    By Nate Moller on Dec 19, 2007

  13. The good news is that at least the blatant spammers won’t find it as easy as email spam, since captcha codes and other barriers such as approvals force more manual methods that spammers won’t want to do.

    By Screak on Dec 19, 2007

  14. @SlightlyShadySEO: I did see some of your submissions, so you really fit into the third category (welcome!)

    @Screak: an interesting thing about spammers is that those people always find the way to spam :)

    By Ann Smarty on Dec 20, 2007

  15. I have copied this content on my blog. I will keep copying all your good post on my blog. So keep on writing good posts for me!!!

    By Chirag Vyas on Dec 22, 2007

  16. Hi Ann,

    Great post. Hope you don’t mind if I introduce my personal perspective.

    The challenge I run into with social media as a Small Business Owner and Web Marketer is the dichotomy of 1) Developing your network to accomplish your internet marketing efforts (meaning spending endless ours at SEO, coding, design, etc forums and blogs) and 2) Developing your network around your products and customers (reviewing reports, commenting news, analyzing new findings, article writing, etc).

    I like the idea of creating a long term community around my business as well as participating in communities that bring value to my marketing efforts, and that I can contribute to their cause. However, in my experience most of the time they don’t intertwine. For instance, not many SEO people care about Natural Products, and not many Greenies care about SEO. Or when they do, often times the efforts can be mistakenly perceived as trying too hard to promote your ideas or business. So there is a thin line to walk through. Plus, becoming a member of different communities also implies to change hats all the time at a very fast pace. In the process, mistakes are made unintentionally.

    This goes along with something I would call the fourth category: “The Mayflowers” or new web marketers who are interested in social media. It could be a daunting experience for newbies to try to understand how things work (on top of other responsibilities) and be effective at using the tools and networks. In our desire to become members of a community many things can be done without proper understanding of protocols and principles. One can find himself in a spamming situation, or focusing too much on link bait to the point of affecting our brands. Is that always done intentionally or premeditated? I don’t think so. But it happens all the time. I am guilty of that.

    Finally, even though the approach you are taking to measure someone’s success in social media is applicable; it might not work for some of us. Blogging cannot be a measure to take into consideration for some because of the limitations it can present. My question is: where do I focus my blogging efforts? The marketing community that will help me carry out my goals, or my customers and potential market that can buy my products? Both will be challenging to be good at, and I am not sure they should be mixed under the same business.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.

    By GlobalFusion on Feb 1, 2008

  17. @ GlobalFusion: Thanks a lot for the comment. My answer is: focus on your customers. Focus on what you are good at. If you don’t know SEO or SMM – hire a freelancer – but don’t waste time on it unless you are truly interested in it. Blog about what you are best at – about your product and your business, try to establish connections with those who also blog about this. That is good for your brand, for your customers and for your possible partners.

    By Ann Smarty on Feb 4, 2008

  18. A very intereastig post!
    Constant measarument of results is very essential so that you can see which channels deliver more traffic. And most importantly, online marketing is about people communicating to other people, so communicating your brand image and seeking customers’ feedback is crucial.

    By Lily on Oct 1, 2010

  19. Great Post Ann,

    I love the way you mentioned to not worry about metrics..

    By Latha on Dec 18, 2011

  20. @globalfusion
    I think you are getting it wrong..
    Like Ann said you could outsource the tasks and work on building relationships. The most important thing for a small business like yours is branding.
    It is not about doing stuff yourself…
    It is about getting your name out, using different methods. These could be Press Releases, Social Networking, Bookmarking at certain web properties (catering to your niche – Stumbleupon seems to work across board better), Article Marketing, Blog Commenting etc.

    By Latha on Dec 18, 2011

  21. Good Insights in article but it’s important to take the time to do it properly. An effective social media strategy will drive more web traffic for us, help us to build deeper customer relationships, and improve our customer satisfaction, retention and ultimately sales. Thanks for sharing a wonderful post. i would like to share this article with my marketing team. Thank You!

    By Samtaa on Dec 15, 2015

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