With social media it is imperative to be very meticulous about how you tread and interact in social communities. There are unwritten laws of the land in terms of participation, voting, noise, comments, shouting, sharing, and more. I want to talk about a few of the fundamental unwritten laws to educate any Internet marketers out there who are unfamiliar with social media but have a curious interest. If not cautious, you can really shoot yourself in the foot from the beginning of your social endeavors.
Social News Algorithms
There are many sites that are very keen to behavioral activity patterns as well as geo-location. Keep that in mind when having anyone vote or comment on your content. If having someone at your workplace Digg an article for you and they sign up, vote on your article, and don’t use their account for awhile then that’s HIGHLY suspicious activity. The reason why is because Digg will see that the IP address is the same IP address as you use or submitted your content with at work and the brand new account likely was only created to Digg that article.
You may have people ask “What’s wrong with that? I wanted to vote on that story so why should Digg (or anyone) care where I’m located or what my activity is?” Truth of the matter is that social media sites are always getting gamed or manipulated so they try to detect any similar patterns. A same IP address vote probably won’t hurt an article with 90+ various Diggs but if you had a handful of them when your submission is new and fresh then you can bet your threshold for your submission going popular was increased significantly to the point of it being almost impossible to go popular. This is especially true if you’re submitting a domain without a history of being popular in a social news site like Digg.
Aside from the algorithmic portion of social media, you want to observe the scene before you dive in anyway. Every site has it’s own audience with their own interests. Sure there are overlaps between Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. users but there are a lot of loyal users who primarily stick to their favorite social media or social news site. If I wanted to read content on Apple’s new iPhone release I’d head to Digg over Reddit. Why? Because Digg users are Apple fanatics and while plenty of Reddit users are as well that’s typically not the topic of conversation over there.
Reciprocation is the key to success in social media. Nobody’s going to help you out if you don’t help others out. See who is Digging your submissions here http://sandbox.sourcelabs.com/tinc/ and reciprocate those who are helping you out. Submit the content of others to build credibility in the community. The point isn’t to just market your own sites but to be a valuable asset to the community. Once you have established that you have a LITTLE bit of leeway to submit your own content but most of the time that’s looked down upon and you could get your content buried for that.
Pushing is the art of spamming the hell out of all your friends to get them to vote up the content of your site. This also may be known as “shouting”. You should use proper etiquette when doing so. Don’t just send someone on your IM list a link to your submission. Ask them kindly to review the content and they’ll know what to do if they like it. Address your email, shout, or IM to friends personally. They’ll take you much more seriously if they don’t feel it’s a mass contact template message for one of their submissions.
Going back to the algorithmic portion of this, be careful! Use common sense to determine whether you’re having people NATURALLY vote on your submissions or not. Social media sites have great algorithms that can detect mischievous behavior. It’s a bit suspicious if 100 friends vote on your submission within the first 10 minutes and then nobody else does thereafter. With that said, don’t just send people to the actual submission page to vote. Have them go to the category page, vote up some crappy content, and then vote on yours while they’re at it. There’s various ways you can do this so get creative.
Read the comments on posts that hit the front page and see which comments got buried or down voted and which succeeded. Get a solid grasp on what kind of language, tone, vernacular, slang, and subject matter is appropriate for each site and each category of content. Give your comments meaning and put some thought to them. They don’t have to be lengthy to have a lot of thought. A catchy and humorous one-liner can raise a ton of up votes.
Don’t just submit and forget. Monitor your Digg comments with a site like Comments7 which will show you the kind of feedback you’re getting on your comments. Also, monitor if your submissions are getting buried on Digg with a bury recorder. Also, monitor your Digg submissions in real-time with Digg Alerter. With Digg Alerter you can see who is voting for your submissions and if any comments are being made without having to go back and check on your posts. In addition there is also StumbleUpon Alerter.
With social media marketing there is just a whole lot of trial and error. Read a lot about communities then observe them carefully before trying to use them for any monetization efforts. For further info a good read is: The Social Media Manual: Read Before You Play by Muhammad Saleem.