Sometimes, you just have to say no. When building a social network whose main aim is to improve your social media marketing strategy you have to say no at some point when someone asks if you would put your name to a social media submission.
It doesn’t much matter if your account is new and disposable, but if you have spent years building an account, submitting or giving the thumbs up to the wrong page can cause your power account to become a little less powerful.
I would say this is more important on Stumbleupon than on digg. Your blog page on Stumble defines how people will see you, how you are branded, whereas on digg, what you voted for fades into the noise. It’s very important when building accounts to understand cultural nuances of specific sites.
Within the social media marketing industry there is a lot of i-vote-for-you-if-you-vote-for-me, which works very well for some people. Although on digg they have seriously cracked down on this practice by instituting a more aggressive algo and it seems like it’s working. However, “paid to get to the digg front page stuff”, still gets to the front page.
How is it done? The content is just too good for the digger to resist voting for. Commercial looking sites tend to get banned as soon as the average digger takes his first gulp of Jolt Cola of the day. The way to get round this is simply buy a domain and slap the linkbait on it, wait a while, then direct the site to the page you wish to rank. I would advise to keep the content, as it may still acquire links.
On digg it’s not as important to have that network of mutual back scratchers anymore. So what about Stumble? Well, sending a page through the message system does little to effect whether the page goes hot or not, but getting a thumbs up from someone coming to the page through a random stumble is gold.
A Stumble by a friend seems to have little to no point other than window dressing.
Which is why it comes down to content and why you should say no to a page that has no chance of making it and simply says to someone you don’t mind associating yourself with such stuff.
This pattern can be observed on Sphinn, a social site for the marketing crowd. Obviously the people who hang out there know all the tricks, but do they really get it. A lot of poor quality stories gets to the front page reducing the reputation of the site, but also reducing the reputation of the submitter and those who vote for poor quality articles. You can quite clearly observe who votes for stories of poor quality and that association will bleed into your personal brand.
Some people feel they are unable to say no to people as they as for votes in return. My point again is, if the content is good enough those favour votes matter less. Therefore you have to worry less about saying no as a network is needed less if your submissions are of high quality.
In fact, it can make you lazy. Relying more on your network than the content to get you to the sweet spot on social media sites. And of course this highlights an issue. If your content is so bad you only get a front page by massaging it to the top by a network of friends, then how many natural, organic links do you think it will get?
I recently did work for a client and whilst the content did not get a front page digg, it did well on Stumble and went hot on Propellor (naturally), but then a niche social media site picked it up and the article was blogged about on New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Huffingtonpost.com and many more. Each delivering a juicy authority link.
The point is, the article received those authority links because of the quality of the content rather than a clever massaging of an online mutual voting network.
Don’t get me wrong, a network is still valuable. It can be very useful in lots of ways. But, the bottom line is getting links and possibly a bit of branding and subscriptions and even sales. And when it comes to links your content has to be hotter than a snakes ass in the mid day, Mojave desert sun.