Reach Your Target Audience With Social MediaGuest_Blogger | Feb 09, 2009
You no doubt are thinking about leveraging Digg and StumbleUpon to reach your target audience, but have you heard of Reddit.com, Sphinn.com or a vertically-oriented social media site like Tipd.com? The social media arena is rapidly changing, with new entrants and opportunities sprouting up, and so we asked Chris Bennett, an internet marketing expert and a friend of Elance, to discuss some of the newest and growing social media sites best suited for viral marketing … and more importantly, tell you how you can use these outlets to reach your audience.
Digg.com and StumbleUpon.com are incredibly popular social media sites. They can help you find your target audience and drive massive traffic to your website… but there are also other games in town. Let's take a look at a few other social media sites you may want to consider as sources to drive traffic and build relevant links for your website:
Reddit.com has been around as long as Digg. It's now reached critical mass and is roughly equivalent in social media terms to sites like Digg and StumbleUpon. Business and finance, politics, world news, and off-beat information is popular on Reddit.
The Reddit system is based on "karma points." If you submit content that makes the front page, you get more points. But it's not always easy; the Reddit community can be critical and very quick to vote down poor content.
As you get more karma points, more people will watch your stories and help you grow in influence.
Learn what types of stories make the front page and receive a lot of votes and comments. Then try to find similar stories and be the first to submit them. You can find possibilities on Digg and StumbleUpon; if you're the first to submit to Reddit others will vote on your stories and you'll grow in influence. (If you want an easy way to see if something has been submitted to Reddit - or to StumbleUpon or Digg - use the Social Media for Firefox tool we developed. You can download and install it for free.)
Is it worth the trouble? Absolutely: Reddit can send 10K to 20K+ visitors to your site if your content makes the home page, and it can drive a lot relevant links to your site. Getting relevant links to your site from other websites is a critical benefit of getting a successful article on Reddit.com.
Sphinn.com is a news aggregator sharing site like Digg, but its focus is internet marketing, search engine marketing, and search engine optimization. (Sphinn describes itself as "News, Discussion Forums & Networking for Search & Internet Marketing Professionals," but tons of non-professionals frequent Sphinn - and if you're at all interested in internet marketing, you should too.)
As you can guess, SEO and internet marketing content does well on Sphinn. The Sphinn community is well-formed and tightly-knit, so take time to find out who the top submitters are. Get to know what they're interested in. Find them on Twitter and follow their comments.
Content you submit can make the home page with as few as 20 to 25 votes, but the Sphinn system is sophisticated enough that you can't "game" it. (And why would you even want to try?) Instead, get to know the big influencers on Sphinn, interact with them on Twitter, and participate by commenting on their posts. There's a lot of good discussion on Sphinn so it's easy to become part of the community if you put in a little time and effort.
Yahoo! Buzz got a lot of buzz (sorry, couldn't resist) when it was first announced; many people were excited by the possibility of making the front page of Yahoo! And for good reason: TechCrunch reported their biggest all-time traffic day was when one of their stories made the Yahoo! home page.
But it's not as easy as it sounds: Yahoo! could indeed put you in front of millions of people, but really tough to actually make the Yahoo! home page. (You can make the front page of Yahoo! Buzz, but the impact is not nearly as great.)
Keep Yahoo! Buzz on your radar but don't spend much time trying to submit - it's just not viable for a small business at this point.
But other sites are viable. The explosion of social media has created a wide variety of tightly-focused niche sites. Chances are there are at least a few sites that are perfect for your business.
Tipd.com focuses on finance, investing, and business-related topics. While it's a relatively new site, it can still have an impact. Recently a client of ours got an article on the front page; while the traffic from the article itself wasn't huge, the client picked up a lot of links from other sites, creating a nice SEO boost. (Plus the traffic they did receive was targeted traffic because visitors were already interested in their topic.)
Kirtsy.com is a niche site targeted to women: Fashion, health, entertainment, family… and it's developed a huge following in a short period of time. Again, you may only get a few hundred visitors - but the links you pick up could be great for SEO.
It's easy to find social media sites appropriate for your business. Search using "top social media sites" or "(your area of interest) social media site". Remember, it's all about targeted traffic - making the front page of a niche site could pay off in a big way.
Looking for more info on social media?
Check out other articles on the Elance blog: How Digg Can Help Market Your Business and 11 Ways to Market Your New Social Networking Website.
Chris Bennett is the President and Founder of 97th Floor, a leading edge SEO Firm specializing in Search Engine Optimization, Reputation Management, Social Media Marketing and Blog Optimization. You can also keep up with Chris by following him on Twitter.