Social Media Marketing for Sales

Social media websites have grown immensely in popularity over the past few years. These websites put the power of the content into the hands of the users, not a select group of editors. Social media websites gives corporate users the opportunity to blend in their content with other stories submitted by fellow users. Hence this promotional content is not seen as an advertisement; but rather as part of the content of the website and is thus more likely to be viewed.

However, most social media websites require that users highly rate stories submitted for them to attract a large number of views. Hence, content submitted cannot be purely promotional, but must rather add value for users so that they vote for a story.

A company like yours can harness the power of social media websites to promote the content on your blog, and thus promote your brand. Your company must use its blog as a platform to share content that will be useful to the general public, not just your employees and customers.

For the purpose of this post, I have identified a few key social bookmarking websites that your company should utilize to promote their content; Digg, Stumble Upon, Reddit, Delicious, and a number of niche social bookmarking websites related to technology.

Digg

Overview:

Digg is democratizing digital media. As a user, you participate in determining all site content by discovering, selecting, sharing, and discussing the news, and videos that appeal to you.

Submit your favorites. Find an article, image, or video online and submit it to Digg.com. Your submission will immediately appear in “Upcoming Stories,” where other members can find it and, if they like it, Digg it.

Become popular. Once a submission has earned a critical mass of Diggs, it becomes “popular” and jumps to the homepage in its category. If it becomes one of the most popular, it qualifies as a “Top 10”. If a submission doesn’t receive enough Diggs within 24 hours it eventually falls out of the “Upcoming” section. Stories must reach the home page to draw any significant amounts of traffic. (Edited from Digg.com)

How Your Company can Utilize:
The real value in a website like Digg lies in the number of users a popular story can attract. Recent figures have shown that on average a Digg front page story can send 50,000+ visitors within 24 hours and then up to 10,000 visitors in the coming week and sporadic traffic after.

Hence, it can really help your company grow its blog’s traffic numbers. However, one thing to take into consideration is that Digg users are fickle and will not you must submit consistent quality content that is promoted to the home page.

The visitors any social media website like Digg sends to your blog are unlikely to become customers. However, if you really mean to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, you must become a “household” name within the industry and a story on Digg is a great way to brand yourself and do just that

For a Digg campaign to be successful, it must be legitimate. Attempts to “game” the system through purchased votes or any collective voting schemes will be tracked and result in the ban of your URL by Digg. Hence, it must instead focus on creating and appropriate sections of the website that best relate to the content you are creating.

Digg also places great emphasis on content submitted by power users. There are a number of users with a 50% front page success ratio so your company can either strive to become one of these users, or better, attract these users to your blog and get them to submit your content.

Stumble Upon

Overview:
StumbleUpon is an Internet community that allows its users to discover and rate Web pages, photos, and videos. It is a personalized recommendation engine which uses peer and social-networking principles.

Web pages are presented when the user clicks the “Stumble!” button on the browser’s toolbar. StumbleUpon chooses which Web page to display based on the user’s ratings of previous pages, ratings by his/her friends, and by the ratings of users with similar interests. Users can rate or choose not to rate any Web page with a thumbs up or thumbs down, and clicking the Stumble button resembles “channel-surfing” the Web. (From Wikipedia)

How Your Company can Utilize:

Stumble Upon provides the greatest potential for your company to promote its content. It allows any quality story to spread virally through the community with just a few positive votes. In order for you to be successful marketing on Stumble Upon, it should take the effort needed to build an account on the website.

Through making a few connections on the website and sharing “stumbled” with this network of connections, your company can attract up to 10,000 visitors with a popular story on Stumble Upon. In addition, through tagging the content with related tags, it will only attract the attention of users who have indicated that they are interested in the type of content you are creating.

Again, for the same reasons as why your company should market on Digg, running a marketing campaign on StumbleUpon will build your brand name within the workers of your industry and will build the brand and the blog (and thus your firm) as an authority in the industry.

Reddit

Overview:
Reddit is a social news website on which users can post links to content on the Internet. Other users may then vote the posted links up or down, causing them to become more or less prominent on the Reddit home page. (From Wikipedia)

How Your Company can Utilize:
Reddit is another platform on which your company can share content from its blog. Like the other social bookmarking websites previously mentioned in this post, for a story to pick up traction on Reddit, it must be interesting to the general public and cannot solely be about your firm and its products or services.

Del.Icio.Us

Overview:
Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows you to tag, save, manage and share Web pages all in one place. With emphasis on the power of the community, Delicious greatly improves how people discover, remember and share on the Internet.

Instead of having different bookmarks on every computer, Delicious makes it easy to have a single set of bookmarks kept in sync between all of your computers. Even if you’re not on a computer you own, you can still get to your bookmarks on the Delicious website.

If your friends use Delicious, you can send them interesting bookmarks that they can check out the next time they log in. Of course, they can do the same for you. As you explore the site and find interesting users, you can use our Subscriptions and Network features to keep track of the Delicious tags and users you find most interesting. (From Delicious.com)

How Your Company can Utilize:

Your company can use Delicious to add its web pages among the bookmarks of various web users. Like the other social bookmarking websites mentioned, Delicious features a high concentration of members who are in the IT/Software industry, so it is especiily helpful for technology oriented companies

Your company should encourage employees who use Delicious to bookmark your content among the other webpages they add to their account. (In fact this strategy should be used across all social bookmarking websites)

For a successful Delicious marketing campaign, you must be very careful about how you tag your content. Aside from popular stories on the homepage, users mainly find content through searching various tags. Your company must ensure that every story submitted on Delicious is carefully tagged in order to draw targeted traffic.

Your company should also establish a network on the website. A delicious network is similar to fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter. Your company should become part of the network of all its employee’s accounts on Delicious and ask its employees to become part of its network.

Hacker News

Last, but certainly not least on this list we have Hacker News from Y Combinator. This particular site is very focused on technology and thus can only really be effectively used by companies focused on technology.

Though Hacker News may be smaller than the other websites on this list, it has a very loyal and targeted user base. These users are especially important as they tend to stick around and coime back to read future posts, leave comments, or even subscribe. In addition, it is easier to get profiled. Hacker News has been lauded by industry experts (TechCrunch, GigaOm, Venture Beat, etc.) as a great resource for news so getting featured on Hacker News could lead to future exposure.

Comments

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