An SEO pal and client of mine keeps getting banned from social sites as he tries to sell his wares. Dude, I tell him, “you have to get involved”. They are not called social sites without reason.
When a search engine optimiser gets success from doing anything that works (there is no such thing as ethics in seo, but that’s for another post) it’s hard for them to act in a completely different mindset when working on sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Delicious.
The first thing any self respecting seo does is start multiple accounts, this soon gets picked up and stamped on. Accounts and sites will eventually get banned if you abuse the system, even when you don’t submit the stories yourself your site can get banned. Collateral damage I think they call it.
Energy spent trying to game the system is like renting, whilst utilising the sites in pretty much the way they were intended is like owning. It’s about compound interest, you build your white hat social account daily. Your black hat social account will soon get banned, obliterating all your past energies that have gone into the site.
Another mistake is not to practice the Hindu philosophy of Karma or the Christian philosophy of love thy neigbour. I am sure there is a Jewish and Muslim version, but I’m no religious scholar. It’s a simple law that states, give and you will get. But you can’t just be seen to be giving to get.
You actually have to give, without worrying about getting.
Here is Tamar at Sphinn, note she has only submitted one of her own stories in 8 submissions. All stories are of high quality and are interesting to the community. Is she gaming the system? Is she using the power of good to tempt us into the darkness. I doubt it, it’s simply an example of meeting someone at a party who talks up all her friends, then drops something relevant into the conversation about herself.
And that is what social marketing is. One big party.
You don’t want to hang with the guy who is constantly raving about themselves, or who brings a bottle of Vodka topped up with tap water. The popular people are the ones with the great stories, who are not un-generous with their praise.
Being a search engine optimiser can be a solitary pursuit, you can succeed with little interaction between warm bodies. But success in social marketing means making friends, using the same social skills which would work at parties.
It took me a while to adapt my mindset from seo gunslinger, to Linkbait cowboy. Now I’m all about being social, and it seems to work. Of course, I leave a trail of banned accounts and sites in my wake, but that was how I learned. I guess I am trying to give a lesson here. Rather than traveling the difficult path I took, you can learn the easy way from people like Tamar.
Added 14/08/07 Chris Winfield just posted a great article on the same subject at Searchengineland it’s a great read.
After some success in the social optimising arena I have decided to publish an e-book detailing my techniques, giving away the process in a step by step guide, which will enable you to build an excellent source of traffic for you and your clients. I’m only going to sell 500 as I don’t want to flood the market with some of my techniques.
Sign up with my email newsletter and I will announce when it is available.