Harnessing Social Media – The Top 7 Sites to Target

If you’re marketing online, you can’t afford to ignore social media sites. From MySpace to StumbleUpon, these sites reach enormous numbers of visitors every day. The audience is discerning-be too salesy, and you’ll suffer the consequences. But if you’re willing to put the time in to become part of these communities, you’ll reap the benefits.

Here’s a breakdown of the top seven social media sites, and tips on how to stand out in each one.

MySpace. With MySpace, you build a web page showcasing your interests. You can add a blog, pictures, sound files, anything that shows others who you are and what you’re about. But the true power of MySpace comes with its social networking software. You connect to friends, and you then have access to their own network of friends.

Most of the users there are teens. Your business has to have a certain amount of “cool” to do well there. Bands often do well on MySpace, as well as teen-friendly businesses such as skateboard and snowboard manufacturers. If you can cultivate a sense of edgy cool, you could find some success there.

Digg.com. Digg is a link-sharing site where you can submit articles linking back to your site. Users vote on (or “digg”) the articles they like. If your article gets enough votes, it gets promoted to Digg’s main page. This translates into a huge spike in traffic.

If you want to find success on Digg.com, you need to write an article that’s useful and informative. Digg users tend to be interested in technology, so it helps to appeal to a tech-savvy audience. While you can submit an article for consideration, you can also attract attention simply by writing interesting, informative content and publishing on your own website or blog. If Digg users like your content, they’ll promote you. But you have to write something of value.

Del.ici.ous. Del.ici.ous is a social bookmarking site. It allows you to upload your personal bookmarked sites, and see what sites other people are bookmarking. The selling point is that you can search other people’s favorites to find valuable and interesting new sites.

As for marketing, you can create a personal account with bookmarks to sites that may be of interest to people in your industry-including your site, of course. You can also submit podcasts, and the site will create an RSS feed for you. In addition, if you have a blog, you should add a Bookmark This! link to your site. This way, readers who like your writing will add your site to their published bookmarks.

YouTube. YouTube allows users to share popular videos. This is a major market force; over 2.4 billion videos are viewed there each month. It’s an important venue for online video ads that companies hope will go viral.

If you want to succeed on YouTube, you need to make a video that’s exceptional. Successful videos have incorporated humor and a certain amount of shock value to create a viral phenomenon. The best viral video ads are edgy, but still showcase the product well.

Flickr. Flickr.com is a photo-sharing website owned by Yahoo!. A membership is free, and most Flickr members belong to groups that share similar interests.

Flickr bans outright marketing, but you can still promote your business there. It helps to use your website name in your username; all pictures you upload to the site have your username at the bottom. Tell people about your business in your profile, or join a group that might share an interest in your industry and upload quality pictures of your product there.

StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon is similar a search engine, but with one significant difference: it takes into account recommendations from other users with similar interests. The results are delivered one at a time, so that users don’t have to search through different result options for the right match.

When you join StumbleUpon, you get assigned an Audience Number. This reflects the number of people your opinions and articles will reach. You can increase this number by evaluating websites, adding opinions, and being active in the community. Once your number is high enough to have some influence, recommend your own website. If your audience likes it, you could see an increase in traffic.

Facebook. It’s similar to MySpace, with a slightly older clientele. It has an advertising program where your ads will appear on the left side of pages on Facebook. You’ll do better if your product or campaign is geared towards the college-age demographic.

If you don’t want to buy space on the site, one way of marketing on Facebook is by creating your own group. For instance, if you own a furniture business, create a group on building homemade furniture. Talk about craftsmanship, construction, or whatever is relevant to your demographic. It will attract members, and you’ll attract an audience. youtube social shares

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