Social Media For Free* Promotion
We often find people we speak to, that are not of a technical bent, glaze over when we mention social media and it’s usefulness in a business context. To help address this we have put together a broad overview of social media sites, giving some idea of what their purpose is and to give a feel of who may be interested in them. We’ll start by offering a list of some of the more popular sites that are have been making waves for a while:
- Digg (http://digg.com/)
Digg is a community news and content site, in which users submit articles from around the Internet, from big corporate website pages to weeny little blog posts. The articles submitted may attract discussion, popularity likes, and comments. The idea is that the most popular will reach the first page and receive very large visibility, the downside is that those that are not on the first page often fall into obscurity, possibly develop alcohol and/or drug dependencies and will have to come to terms with Digg rejection, but there is always the next article! The logging into the site can be tied into a Facebook login.
- Facebook (http://www.facebook.com)This website has redefined how a large number of people communicate with each other, with more than 600 million active users. Users of the site create profiles, add photos, list interests, and provide other personal information. It is possible to connect to other users of the site and communicate with them via messages using the functionality of the website itself. Depending on the privacy settings selected by the user, it is possible to view a contacts profile and see any updates to their profile that has been made. Applications have been developed to allow playing of games, and numerous other online activities. It has been known to allow teenagers to try and piece together fragmented memories of their alcohol fueled evenings by looking at the mobile phone uploads from the friends in their network, sometimes with humorous results. It is possible to create a fan/business page, but this must be linked to a personal page.
- LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com)
LinkedIn has become a leader in social networking with an emphasis on the business community. A user will create a personal profile and establish connections with other members of the site. When a connection has been agreed by both parties, the nature of the relationship is defined, in terms of whether they are a school friend, colleague, work associate etc. As part of the profile creation process, a user is requested to define employment history and this functionality has resulted in LinkedIn becoming a hub for people to look to find work with contacts, as well as for people looking to employ linking up to contacts, or contact of their contacts. A possible extension of it not being what you know, but if you know the right people on LinkedIn.
- Reddit (http://www.reddit.com)
Initial appearance of this site can make you feel that it may be a tacky and worthless collection of article titles. This could be amplified by the fact that when you arrive on the homepage, the links there are pretty useless in regards to news content, with simple links to images of low value. However, where the strength of this website appears to be is in the strong community that are present. Users will often simply use the site as a forum; asking for advice, sharing stories and the like, on a broad range of topics. A useful repository to find information or to build a following if you are able to provide quality comments to existing articles.
- StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com)
StumbleUpon allows voting of articles submitted by users of the site. This can be professional Internet content or personal articles that have been created. The submitted articles are then voted on by the users, which over time will increase in popularity and visibility. You can find recommendations made by others that you have linked to, and by associating to other people that have similar interests to you, you will be able to have easy visibility to the sites that they find interesting. When you select that you like a site, it will automatically share that with all of the people that are your StumbleUpon contacts. It is possible to share you StumbleUpon login with a personal Facebook login, and not have to create a separate login account.
- Twitter (http://www.twitter.com)
The concept behind Twitter is to write short comments of at most 140 characters which will be visible to people using the site, or an associated application and added to the list of updates visible to the followers of the message writer. Originally the site provided a simply way for people to state where they were, how they were feeling, and what was for dinner, it now is used for bite-sized news information and links to industry relevant content, and a mechanism for easy response. It is a simple process to follow most users as their profiles are public, as well as their ‘tweets’ (twitter messages), although it is possible to make a profile private and have other users request access to view the tweets and bio of the Twitter user. There are a range of various syntax symbols that are used to reference other users, and to allow for easy searching through the Twitter system and a way to give other people credit for information.
- YouTube (http://www.youtube.com)
YouTube is more than a website with images of fainting goats and lizards eating mammals, although for some this is all they need, we will not talk about those people in this article. YouTube is a repository of video clips of varying quality and length on a hugely diverse range of subjects. Create an account and you will be able to submit your own content, comment on the content of others, ‘like’ and ‘share’ videos contained on the site. As YouTube is video based, the appeal of the site is considerable for the fact that it only needs a short attention span. The account can be linked to a GMail account and this will allow for automatic retrieval of possible account interests from your GMail contact list, proving an easy mechanism to subscribe to other users’ pages.
As mentioned, the above list is not intended as a definitive list, but purely as an introduction to some websites that can be used to start to get attention towards your site. We would recommend that self-promotion be avoided in the early days of joining any of these websites, and in-fact offer value in the form of providing comments to other peoples’ submissions, and other information of interest, such as links to useful sites or news articles.
* Please note that the Free* in the title of this article represents that it has no financial outlay to use the basic features of these sites. However, to get the most from them, it is like much in life, you get out what you put in, and this can require time and effort.