Monday, April 14, 2008

Social Marketing vs Spamming

Social Marketing is an indirect and somewhat subtle method of reaching potential customers with your "offers of interest". Please note the quote. Spamming a social site is a deliberate attempt to blatantly advertise your product or service and is most commonly associated with affiliate opportunity-type programs. The latter is an excellent way to get yourself "Ban-Hammered" or even "IP Ban-Hammered"; either one is bad for your business health. The former involves a variety of long-term, low-key marketing concepts embedded in a genuine attempt at providing a social service to any given community. Which would you rather be known as: A social marketer (Perhaps a Maven), or a social spammer (Pain-in-the-PC)?

Proper social bookmarking can be a most valuable tool; by providing short, positive commentary on each post which helps people decide if they want to know more. Many of my own comments are derived initially from the bookmarked website; edited for both clarity and grammar it is often enough. Sometimes there is simply nothing available for a cut/paste/edit operation; other times your own review is best and will give a personalized feel to your post.

Another important consideration is effective, non-redundant tagging. I review my own tag cloud following a post looking for inappropriate use of tags. It is very easy to see in a tag cloud due to the alphabetical listing. right now I have multiple "online..." tags which were taken originally from the suggested list. These will have to be reduced to my personal "root tagging" method.

This reduction to roots assumes that I care little whether or not I am found in the public search list. Why? It's similar to the keyword SEO issues involved when considering the submission of a website. The competition is HUGE on the most common, or logical, keywords. Redundancy is rampant due to the number of different words and phrases people will use in a search. Therefore, to obtain the greatest number of unique tags in my cloud, I will combine multiple possibilities into one main tag which I hope people will understand. These tags will NOT contain a lot of keyword phrases; however, in some cases (as in "photo") there seems no easy way to list a lot of different bookmarks with similar but distinct subcategories. There are also instances wherein a two word phrase (such as "social networking") gives me just the right and proper tag. There instances in which multiple tags can be useful and not appear redundant; when this repeated word is prefixed by another descriptive word (adjective) such as: desktop publishing, publishing, and web publishing. These three tags will not appear one right after the other in your tag cloud therefore you should not be seen as "stacking keywords" for SEO purposes.

How then, do I expect to be found? Look to the main header of this blog which refers readers to my Blinklist tag cloud. Next check out the V-O-I-D Network header; each of those sites contains a text link back to my Blinklist as well as to this blog. That is networking within your own sites. It becomes social networking when you begin to become part of a community. It becomes social marketing when you have found your first customers through your expanded network.

A subtle, and highly effective method of social marketing involves your participation in forums. There is generally no need to be blatant here, especially since to be so invites a spamming report and a take-down of your post. Simply include a home page text link in your signature (sig)! When you have written an informative and grammatically correct post a certain percentage of people will want to know more about you. Be absolutely certain to READ THE RULES for posting on any boards/forums BEFORE you hyper-link back to your page! As I think up, test, and evaluate more ideas you'll find them here somewhere...

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