What is Social Media :Part 3

This is an unplanned and off the cuff series I am doing regarding Social Media and its definition, which is still in a state of flux. Part 1 and 2

It’s all about the conversation.

Not the product, not the service, and certainly not how wonderful you are.

What do you think a good conversation is? One person talking all about themselves, or trying to sell you something or being obnoxious and wafting offensive odours at you?

Good conversation flows, it’s owned by the two or more parties involved in it.

It is not where you announce something. That is not what a conversation is and that is why a lot of PR professionals have difficulty in making it work for them.

What I have learned over the years is that to be a successful social media marketing practitioner, you have go visit the tribe, sit down with them, talk their language, follow their customs and after a period of time become one of them. Then you can tell them about the cave over the next hill which is selling all kinds of goodies.

Empathy, understanding, experience, knowledge, all prerequisites if you are to converse with the tribe. And let me tell you, conversing is not a right, it is an honour. Bestowed upon you after dues have been paid.

Sitting down and breaking bread with a Chili Dorito munching, coke guzzling, Warcraft playing, Linux using inhabitant of certain social bookmarking sites is really beyond the reach of the expensively manicured fingers of the PR hustler, and that’s just the men.

Unless they become one of the them, at least for a short period.

Of course the interesting thing is the real players in the social media marketing industry have come from the SEO world.

Who else is going to empathise with a 2 hour discussion of light sabre techniques.

Linkbait Ideas

You might want to check out Magnetic Web Content, for more ideas.

These web content ideas were first published in Linkbait Coaching last October. Note: this was around the Olympics, banks were not yet evil, the £ was strong…etc. Oh how things have changed.

What’s rubbish about being British
Wired costs $10 a year to subscribe in the US and $70 in the UK
I am sure there are others, only a matter of looking. Make it geek centered, the fact that the iPhone hit the US first, movies get shown in the US first. Bad teeth, drunk slags on a Friday night, drunken brawls on a Saturday night, 13 year olds tooled up with butchers hatchets and machettes stalking the streets, Daily Mail

There could be a follow up post about how great it is being British, exchange rate for the US$, etc…

Best Criminals in the world
Who is bad out there and really good at it. I guess the bad ones are in prison, but a few are running around spending their ill gotten gains.
A list of those who seem to have gotten away with it could be interesting and fun.
C’mon, who hasn’t dreamed of being bad.

Christians vs Atheists
Christians are good because they are told to be by God, whereas atheists are good because they want to be.
You have to be careful with this one, you may annoy people with a certain belief system, but it’s kinda tongue in cheek and not meant to be taken seriousy. But, you will always get someone who will take offense, so you have to weigh up the consequences when you create content that pokes fun at group of people with a specific belief system.
You could also included a list of all the Christian sex scandals which take place and how they seem to have more scandals than Pagans.

How many Ferraris is your house worth now? – Property bait
It used to be that a Ferrari was worth more than a house, now it’s the other way round. The house I am in is worth 3-4, but that may change due to market conditions.
Comparing like for like can be interesting if using incongruent items, such as a house and a car. To view something in a different way can pique interest and be attractive.

20 Weird Sleep walking events – Health
I like this one as it would be fun to research and write. I thought about it because a three year old called Max got out of bed in the middle of the night, pick up some cash off the kitchen table, opened the door and went to the shops to buy some sweets. Not really sleep walking but I know there are a ton of weird and funky stories out there.

Which Banks Suck – Or – The Top ten worst Banks – financial
Search for each bank on google adding the word “suck” at the end of the banks name, then make a list out of who has the most.
It’s not scientific, but it could be fun and it’s accurate and not libelous.
You could actually do this with any much complained about sector.

Worst Boxers ever – Sport
Find out which boxers have had the most knock outs and rank them with a bit of sarcastic blurb about them.

Most influential magazine covers of all time – media
There is a contest going on in London at the moment covering this, might be interesting if you put together your own list, got a few links on it and then when people come to search for the term guess who ranks?

Best photos of storms ever – art
This is one of those heavily Stumbled collection ideas, they tend to get a huge amount of a traffic and a few links. It’s easy work for a nice Alexa spike.

20 of the worst Jobs in History of the Internet – geek/jobs
Taking inspiration from Baldrick’s Worst Jobs in history, why not apply it to Internet Jobs, has to be a ton of loathsome jobs out there, like the person who has to sort through Bill Gates’ hate emails.

Olympic Sports that shouldn’t exist – sport
I can’t think of any off the top of my head but aren’t there weird sports like, beach volleyball (got one) that are bit touch and go if they should be in.

Target your Linkbait Audience

Rather than produce your content first and then go look for an audience for it, why not find what the audience wants and produce content for that audience?

It’s amazingly obvious and so simple that it shocks me to see that the majority of people blogging, producing web content and even linkbait do not seem to do it.

I understand why this is. I have done it myself, I still do it. It’s because we think we know what people want us to write. It comes down to the ego. And there is nothing more egotistical than a blogger.

Here’s the thing. It’s not what you think you know that is important. It’s what you know. Most times your knowledge will not live up to your desired results.

You have to go out into the woods and sniff the trees.

It may be that you have spent so much time in your space you have built enough instinct and experience into your mind set you can just crack one off whenever you want. An article that is.

When faced with writing for a subject I know little of I spend hours and hours researching, you have to burn bytes to be able know what you are talking about, or at least convince people you know what you are talking about.

Most people do not invest the time in their subject or their target market to produce a piece of content which will get links. Which is great, because all we have to do to rise to the top is to simply read, read and read some more.

Soak in that information like a sponge. Suck it in and digest.

Your target market for a piece of linkbait should by studied, observed, examined, scrutinised, watched – to enable you to kno their desires, prejudices, proclivities, ambitions etc.

What are they fond of, what fascinates and excites them? What is it that motivates them to click through to a story, to link to a web page, to even take out their credit card from their leather wallet to buy your home made Gooseberry Jam you have started to sell online.

It’s simple, but I constantly see content where the target audience has been given the attention of a gnat on sugar coated crack.

Know your target audience.

Lloyds Bank is Pants

Great piece of linkbait from the BBC. Why?

It’s great because it got me to link, it got me to link because it both amused and made me angry. At first I thought such silly thinking by a bank should be publicised and I should post about it. But then I realised I had been motivated to link to the story. It’s distracting to call it baiting as in linkbaiting, but the story made my link finger itch.

I realise I could chose a better headline than this, but I wonder how many people search for “Lloyds bank is pants”? I guess I will find out.

The point is, invoking an emotional response is a powerful way to get a link. The story is helped by being on the BBC rather than a rag like the Daily Mail.

Actually I can’t really call it linkbait, it’s merely a great story.

What reason does this linkbait give for people to link to it

An interesting nugget from the forums of Linkbaitcoaching.com

“What reason does this linkbait give for people to link to it.”

Too often I see visitor bait being created. So you got on the front page of digg, give yourself a gold medal and stick it on your ass.

Who are you targeting your linkbait to? If it’s the knuckle draggers on digg it’s not linkbait, it’s a wet fart in a hurricane.

C’mon on guys, it’s real simple. Linkbait is for getting links.

Who are you targetting? If you say “anyone”, get to the back of the queue and stay there. You need to know exactly who you are targetting, you need to know what they read, what gets their juices flowing, even the size of their underpants if it helps you craft content to appeal to their link finger.

Try linkbaiting one person, go on, try it. Chose an authority figure in the niche you operate and go after their link. That one authority link is worth more than ten thousand diggs (yes I know diggs lead to links, but only if the content is good enough)

Targetting one person makes it a lot easier to craft linkbait as it can tickle their fancy a lot easier. Once they link to you, others will follow.

Concentrate on getting the link, not the visit.