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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I am the owner of this blog as well as Brand and Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas and Founder of MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU and

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

  4. @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!

  5. 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.

  6. The real SEO Canada says:

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

  7. 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.

  8. BrettFromTibet says:

    Great post! Thank you for saying this.

  9. Guy Rosen says:

    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.

  10. Katrina Joy Plam says:

    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.


  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. @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 🙂

  14. 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!!!

  15. 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.

  16. @ 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Great Post Ann,

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

  19. @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.

  20. 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!

  21. Lisa Patel says:

    Hey Ann, that’s a really great post. What I have learnt till now is, no client have patience for result. They have started taking the SEO service or social media services, that means from day 1 they will get more traffics and more engagement. So we have to move towards the paid posting or paid campaign. And I believe in natural link building or organic engagement which is long lasting and have more impact, but it will need some time.

  22. most businesses on social media are terrible. All they seem to do is spam the place. Dont see many small businesses using it correctly imo.

  23. Hi Ann, lovely post! I totally agree that the easiest methods usually don’t bring expected results. It requires time, effort and dedication in order to create value. Keep up the great work!

  24. Your Article is Wonderful! A lot of Great Tips and Very nicely written. I have learned a lot from your article Thank you for sharing with us.

  25. You are definitely right with “click bait” headlines that lead site visitors to poor content, that may be a way to get visitors in but the bounce rate will be very high and you will not receive any links as webmasters link to quality content.

  26. Hey Ann, Thanks for discussing some important topic. Yes, I also agree with you that long-term thinking can bring a good change in a business using social media marketing.

  27. Joie Gahum says:

    Make use of tools like hashatory whenever youre using hashtags in your post. It’ll help you find the right hashtags.

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