Social media is one of these areas where many tell you need to succeed but don’t actually tell you HOW to do that. And those who do, they tell you things like: “be innovative!” or “do something nobody has ever done before!”.
After all, social media is a new thing and we all need to experiment with new stuff in order to be successful, right?
If you start from scratch, you’ll be probably making the same mistakes people in the beginning made. You’ll be trying to make the ‘new big thing’ (without realizing the probability of making a viral campaign with 100000000 views is quite low) and not get started and develop gradually.
I’ll try to do something in this article; I’ll try to teach you how to get started by IMITATING and not starting from scratch. Wait, isn’t imitation easy? Isn’t imitation just copying? Yes and no. Imitation is NOT as easy as it seems, and yes, it’s basically copying (within boundaries) what others have done successfully. We’re going to do it smartly through, there’s a smart and dumb way to copy.
What Are the BIG Social Media Sites?
There’s been some recent controversy (like this one) of people saying that social media is “dying” and provided Compete.com data of sites like Digg and Delicious to ‘prove’ that.
I have one problem with this:
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Those people didn’t mention sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and Facebook (sites which traffic is growing rapidly).
Okay, enough talk, let’s get straight to facts:
I mean, you can’t just take whatever sites you want and say ‘social media and web 2.0 is declining’.
The truth is, people are (and always will) prefer some social media sites over others. At this moment, as we can see, those are StumbleUpon, Reddit and Facebook.
What can you learn from this: The action point here is, set up a monthly reminder where you’ll measure the trends in traffic on social media sites. Which site’s traffic is growing and which ones are declining? Obviously, you should focus on the growing ones. Go with what’s already working.
For the next example, let’s take StumbleUpon as a fast growing site (they had 73% growth rate over the past year) and say you want to promote your content there.
How Can You Get Viral on a Social Media Site?
I think I know a lot about StumbleUpon for one simple reason: I’ve had a lot of success with it. To illustrate this, (if you have the StumbleUpon toolbar installed) take a look at this article on doing people search for free and then click on the “Info” button in the StumbleUpon toolbar. You should see the following:
I’ve also had a lot of articles get 15-30k views. Same with Digg, got on the front page 5-6 times.
I’m not trying to brag but just tell you I probably know what I’m talking about :)
The truth is, every social media site operates under different rules and principles.
The old Digg operated under the following rule:
You added some user as a ‘friend’ (that user was usually some already established member who dugg other people stories every day). Then you digg his submissions every day. After 30-50 days, that user will notice this (through some third party tools who tell him which people digg his stories) and add you back as a friend as well. Then you’ll become ‘mutual friends’. With 100-130 mutual friends (doing this process to 100-130 people) you should be able to get approximately 30% of your submitted stories on the front page. It was very rare for story to get on the front page and submitted by a user who didn’t have a strong network of mutual friends.
On StumbleUpon, it’s totally different. You might just need a few friends to initially ‘push’ your story to get around 100-300 views. But then it all depends on the content and how appealing it is to the audience.
Nevertheless, you need to spend some time on those sites and find out what’s already working. What type of content is going viral regularly? How are people promoting it? Understand how things already work there. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel.
If you’re struggling to find how things work there, then contact some already established users. Some of them will be helpful and some will not. This is the way I found how Digg works by the way (the new Diggs doesn’t work this way, you need to have a bunch of friends on GTalk and ‘spam’ them in order to get on the front page of the new Digg. Kinda tedious :) ). I just contacted around 20 users and found 2 or 3 who took the time to explain me in the detail how the system works.
I don’t know why, but I never had much traffic from Facebook and Twitter. I think the primary reason for that is because those platforms aren’t built to help publishers promote their content. Digg and StumbleUpon are platforms with a CORE business model is to help people discover stuff on third party sites.
Anyway, get to action now and start working :) This stuff will work for sure if you implement it. Good luck!