Social Media Myth No. 1 "It's about the conversation"

“Social media is all about the conversation”, I think that phrase started to rankle me around last July and I couldn’t figure out why.

It’s something I have taught people in my training class for years, so it’s not like I haven’t agreed with it. Blog – people comment – you reply – they blog – you reply, blah blah blah, yada yada yada.

Also with twitter, you tweet, they tweet, we all tweet.

And round it goes.

But it may be that the thinking is wrong. After all, the objective is not to have a conversation, the objective is something else, be it:

  • Links
  • Exposure
  • Sales
  • Branding

The objective is not the conversation, that is merely a stepping stone and yes it is an important and useful stepping stone, but it is not the objective.

I realise this may get me kicked out of the Secret Social Media Marketing Society, but social media marketing is not about conversation, it’s about getting people to do what you want.

This guy, Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli…

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

…. probably has more to teach us on social media networking than Chris Brogan, Brian Sollis, David Meerman Scott, Robert Scoble, Darren Rowse, Mark Hughes, Josh Bernoff etc. Although I have learned from you all and you are all at the top of your game, I can’t help thinking that you need to dig down and get into the root nature of human interaction and manipulation to really understand the fundamentals of social media.

Sure Machiavelli is not going to teach us how to integrate a twitter feed onto our blog, but he is going to teach us something about the nature of mankind. And although we use a lot of technology to do what we do, at its core is the human being with all the ancient brilliance that that entails. It’s not until you understand people and their motivations and the way people are, that you can truly understand what social media is about.

The chaps above who I have mentioned all know this, they are all students of human nature and have simply used a technological interface (social media) to employ what they know.

Social media marketing is not about conversation, it’s about getting people to do what you want them to do.

Where is PRWSocial?

There is a “PR & Social Media In Practice” on today.

I noticed it in my twitter feed, #PRWSocial, which is fine. But then I went to Google and did the search thing and had to wade through a bunch of twitter nonsense before I could get to the meat, which was the offical PRWSocial page.

Which is here if you are looking.

The point is they failed to optimise for the tweet tag before they launched.

Why is this important?

Well, if you have a bunch of PR people yammering on about social media whilst their fingers are leaving grease marks on their iPhones from the canapes tweeting about the conference, you need for people who stumble across the tweet stream to be able to bang the hashtag into Google and get to the page that tells you what it’s all about.

PR people must find it tricky to tweet from their iPhones, what with their wrists being weighed down by those really heavy Rolex watches ;)

So in future guys, know that social media must be integrated into your entire online marketing strategy and that includes SEO.

It’s the same if you are going to build a digital camera review blog, you must integrate to maximise the effect.

It’s interesting how the PR industry is so slow to really take advantage of social media. Meanwhile, it is the SEO professional who is the true master of this domain.

Getting Links for a Poker site is easier than you think

How do you linkbait for poker or similar uber competitive terms?

In fact how do you go about getting success for mortgage linkbait or hotel linkbait. All apparently difficult topics to get links for, not because few people link to such subjects, but because so many want links for those niches.

It is important to know why it’s hard or why people think it’s hard. I’ve played around in these sectors a bit and the reality is, it’s not as hard as you think, In fact, it’s just has hard to get links to a non sexy niche such as marble flooring, although I have met some people who find the smooth, cold marble floor rather arousing. But I no longer have her number.

Consider this, how many poker websites do you think there are?
Narrow that down to websites that will link to other websites based on the content (rather than being paid)
Then look at the actually number who are worth getting a link from.
After that consider how many people are competing for links within the niche.

Self referential niche linking are not the only links that work.

Consider how much easier it is to get links outside of that burned niche?

Next question:

Why would a non poker website link to a poker website?

The answer is simple, “because they want to”.

If you answered, “because their prize winning Shitzu was being held hostage and would only be returned if a link was placed”, your partly right. The Shitzu provides the motivation and the reason they want to link. But ultimately it’s “because they want to”. The point being it’s the desire you want to create, it’s desire that is our focus.

The point being, you do not “get” the linker to link, but you create a desire in them to link. If you want to think you got them to link your wrong, they linked because they wanted to link. You gave them a reason to create the desire.

масиYou link because you want to, not because someone makes you.

Which leads to the next question:

How do you create the desire within a linker to link?

Lets stick with the poker theme. How do you get someone to link to a poker site?

You create the desire.

What is desirable?

To answer this we must be specific, we must focus on the the linker. I say “the linker” instead of linkers because my method involves picking a single target and developing a strategy for that one linker. You can go wide and gather info on the whole niche and that’s fine initially but to really get under the skin of the whole niche you need one person as a totem for the whole group. We can get into how you would do that in later blog posts.

Sure you do a wide niche study first, as it’s the only way to find that one target, as you want the target to have influence and authority.

Lets take a specific niche which we want to link to our poker website, soap making websites for example.
How do we get a soap making website to link to a poker website?
The answer is to identify what the particular individual web master desires to link to.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Maybe something along the lines of a bar of soap which looks like an Ace of Spades, or a poker chip. Doesn’t really matter what as long as it contains two components. One which sates the desire of the soap making web master to find and link to cool hand made soap content and another that retains the contextual integrity of the poker site.

Contextual integrity is important because you need to retain the linguistic semantics of the link.

Or in other words, follow the rules of how information and language interact and it will turn out fine.

We could delve a little further into semiotics and language but I kinda feel I’ve already lost you. But if you are interested, check out the Elements of Semiology, By Roland Barthes and Ways of Seeing by John Berger. They are the kind of books you only read if you have to, and I had to, but in my opinion if you are a link builder or an SEO these are the kind of books that will give you the edge.

May your links be many and aged.

UK SEO Company Goes Bust

I first heard about Lattitude having problems from Dave Naylor’s blog

The Telegraph is also reporting the story.

I’ve worked with the Lattitude guys before and chat with the seo guys on a regular basis and I can say they know how to cook it. They didn’t go down because they were bad at seo, but rather seem to have been a credit crunch victim.

There are other very large SEO firms that I don’t rate, who seem to make their cash by pumping pretty pie charts for the clients top chomp on and being visited by well suited salesmen with ultra white teeth and an unhealthy fixation for reading the Art of War by Tsun Tzu.

But as Dave Naylor said in his post, if you really want the job done well you have to go for the “special ops” guys. And in a recent blog post by Econsultancy they brought up the Specialist Vs Agency debate.

Which is all very interesting. Especially for me as I specialise in one thing, creating content to be pushed over social media to get links.

If you need the other stuff, I can send you in the right direction.

I’m not too worried about the seo guys at Lattitude as they are experts at what they do and will always land on their feet. Not too sure about the whiter than white toothed salespeople though.

Update: Alex Hoye, the big cheese at Lattitude has issued a statement saying things are calm and it’s business as usual, which is good to hear. Also, spoke to a few guys at Lattitude and they are not worried at all. Sounds like there is going to be a smooth transition and a shedding of a lot of debt.

Link Building to the Right Kind of Tunes

Music to link build to.

Building links with linkbait can sometimes by a labour and time intensive process leaving you drained quicker than snakes ass in Death Valley.

Here’s a selection of tunes to help ease the link building or linkbaiting process along.

Still smells fresh.

Nirvana, Smells like Teen Spirit

This one is jammed on repeat on my mp3 player

Florence and the Machine, You’ve got the Love

When you get into that link building sweets spot it’s like being on fire.

Kasabian, Fire.

A big stain of dirty, filthy energy from the Stranglers.

No More Heroes

One of the best base lines ever, turn it up and really feel it.

Yes I know, Stranglers again, well it’s my blog after all.

Walk on By, written by a very clever man called Bert Bacharach

Sticking with the Bert Bacharach theme, Do you Know the Way to San Jose. No points for guess the importance of the geographical reference.

Linkbuilding can be very entertaining if you have the right tunes.

The Jam, That’s Entertainment

Try not to take yourself too seriously.

The Dickies, Banana Splits

Bit of big band action with Lily Allen. The Lady is a Tramp

If you do too much link building, you are going to go….

Dizzee Rascal, Bonkers.

Mashup time, and mashups are always a tasty way to link build.

Speaking of Tasty, Kylie and New Order all mashed up. Who’da thought.

Bit of old, bit of new. Bloody Hell, look what happens.

Dizzee Rascal vs Nirvana – Stand Up Tall

Special thanks to Jools Holland

Cornwall Local Politicians Social Media Offer

It’s going to be an interesting election in the UK in a few months. It will be the first to use social media extensively. I am sure many will get it wrong and a few will get it right. And for us in the social media marketing industry it will be fun to watch.

Rather than helping out only one political party I am going to donate time and advice to any local politician who desires it. Democracy is very important and such knowledge should not only be the preserve of those who can afford such advice.

So, advice on Twitter, Facebook, using social media sites to create viral messages. All that good stuff is available.

I am sure most have their plans already to go and are quite up to speed, but there is no harm in taking extra advice, even if you ignore it.

I will be keeping my voting preferences secret though, so don’t expect special treatment.

Email me at: lyndon@cornwallseo.com

Note: This offer is not open to political groups who promote racist views.