October 16, 2007

SMX Social: Social Bookmarking - StumbleUpon & Del.icio.us

By Li Evans

SMX Social:  Social Bookmarking Services, Leveraging Del.icio.us & StumbleUpon

Guillaume Bouchard - NVISolutions.com

For of Social Media Bookmarking success, you need a lot of friends.

So what is social bookmarketing?  It allows internet users to store, organize, search and most importantly share bookmarks.  Popular Social Bookmarking websites:  Del.icio.us, Stumbleupon and Furl.

Every bookmarking site also uses Tagging:  Collaborative practice and method to identify content a certain way.

Helps your site index better on search engines.  Achieves high amount of natural incoming links, creates a presence in online social communities.  It also increases brand awareness, builds traffic from alternate source, influence traditional media.

Tagging Effectively: 

  • Check how other people are tagging the kinds of sites you want to remember
  • When in doubt pick the tag that is the most relevant and that is the most popular in the tag clouds
  • Stay away from separating your tags with commas
  • co-ordinate your efforts and establish a set of standards on how to tag resources you want to share with others

Continue reading "SMX Social: Social Bookmarking - StumbleUpon & Del.icio.us" »

September 16, 2007

Yahoo! Mash - First Impressions, It Needs Some Work

By Li Evans

Yahoo_mash_logo Yahoo!'s 2nd attempt at social networking, Yahoo! Mash, has taken off with full steam this weekend.  Across my Twitter I kept seeing people asking for Yahoo! Mash invites all weekend.  I had gotten a few a couple days ago, but didn't start digging around till Alex sent me one.

Notice I said this is Yahoo!'s 2nd attempt at this social networking site space?  Yahoo! has Yahoo! 360, that's it's first attempt.  It's pretty popular with the messenger audience - I know this because I've had a Yahoo!360 account for a heck of a long time (in social media time) and the folks who I have as friends - 90% of them come from my instant messaging clique of friends.

Yahoo! Mash, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed.  Yes, it's a beta, but I think I was expecting much more from Yahoo! in this anticipated beta.  This is sort of like Yahoo's trying to be a cool "Facebook-like" alternative to the MySpace crowd.  I just keep coming back to question - Do We Really Need Another Social Networking Site?

Yahoo_mash_flickr_module Yahoo! - if you are going to own this Social Marketing space, why aren't you putting your best foot forward?  This is incredibly lacking, I expected to see cool widgets from your other social media acquisitions integrated into this beta from the get go.  All I get is a Flickr module?  Wow, that's just lame.  There's about 15 to 20 modules - be warned some of these broke my page (granted these are 3rd party created). 

However, beyond the 3rd party apps, I'd expect for something you've released would have had at least some of your top modules have integration to your other great services - like the following:

  • De.licio.us Integration - have a module for your top bookmarks to share them
  • Yahoo! Videos - integrate your accounts for the videos you upload
  • Yahoo! Answers - this is likely your strongest product, why in the world you didn't create a module for this is beyond me!
  • MyBlogLog - Great product, your widget is on thousands of blog, why can't I have widget for here too?
  • Fantasy Football League - Dude! It's football season (if y'all didn't know I'm a rabid Eagles fan), Fantasy Leagues are HUGE!  People could integrate these into their Mash profile and brag at how great a fantasy football team they have (or cry... in my case I'd cry, I'm not good at Fantasy Football)
  • Any Sports Fantasy Leagues you have - NHL soon starts, NASCAR is now down to its "Chase", but a whole new season starts in February, and I'm sure there's NBA fantasy leagues and what about all those college sports?
  • Integrate some kind of Blogging RSS feature that actually works and doesn't cause me to break the page (see error screen shot below).   Cute dog though.
  • Make it easy to integrate what I have in Yahoo! 360, either combine the profile, or import in what I have there and delete the old one.
  • Make it easy to integrate what I have in "MyYahoo", either combine the profile or import in what I have there.
  • Make it easy to access my Yahoo Mail (and Messenger).   If there's one thing I like about using your other Yahoo properties, its that usually in 1 click, I can easily access my Yahoo! email account - I can't do that with Mash.
  • Integrate Yahoo! Games - Allow a module to see how well you do on the games you play.  Many of my friends play your free games, and brag about how good they are.  Mash would allow them to boast the scores, while promoting this property
  • Integrate Yahoo! Groups - Whatever forums I like, allow me to integrate my most recent posts in Yahoo! Groups.

All of these things are Yahoo! based programs, properties and applications.  These should have come standard, who better than your own programmers to make sure these things work and function properly.  Look to the community to adapt your API and create modules like they currently are (Twitter and YouTube are two nice examples).

Honestly, I'm pretty disappointed in this offering.  I don't really see a reason to use this social network in favor of Facebook, or to switch from Yahoo!360.  I'll keep checking back to see what's updated and offered, but I'm not moving off of what's already working for me, for something this "Beta".

March 04, 2007

Social Media Sites: A Handy Reference Guide

By Li Evans

Social Media Sites - just what are they?  While moderating the Social Media & Tagging forum over at Cre8asite Forums, I've become inspired to come up with a list of what makes up Social Media.  Since a lot of people have different ideas about Social Media and what it does or doesn't include, there's no one solid answer.  So I wanted to offer a place of reference for the audience to see all the different working parts of Social Media in easy to reference post.

Social Media Sites - Social News:
NewsvineSocial news site are places that users of a service or members of the community can submit news articles and then the community votes them up or down.  Members can also comment on thes e submissions and conversations can ensue about the stories validity.  General sites have categories to submit stories too, however there is a rising tide of genre (topic, gender, geographical) specific social news sites to look out for.
Example sites:  Digg, Reddit, Netscape, Newsvine, I-Am-Bored, Searchmob, Shoutwire, Bringr

Social Media Sites - Photo Sharing:
Photobucket_1 Flickr is probably the best known social photo sharing site around among our "search circles", but Photobucket is probably still more widely used.  It's also a great way to share not just photos, but information about those photos.  Most social photo sharing sites now allow you to add a lengthy description of the photos, geotags about the pictures and tags that you feel relate to the pictures you are sharing.  Along with the owner adding this information, your friends and group members can add comments to the pictures.
Example sites:  Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, Webshots Community, Kodak Gallery, ImageShack, SnapFish

Social Media Sites - Video Sharing:
Revver_1 Unless you've been living under a rock this past year, you know about Google's acquisition of YouTube.  However, there's more than just YouTube out there when it comes to video sharing and this is probably the fastest growing area of Social Media out there.  New ventures are popping up all the time and being acquired as well.  Jumpcut was acquired by Yahoo last year, so Google's not alone in recognizing the importance of this channel of the market.  Social Video Sharing offers a lot of what Social Photo Sharing, but some sites add in more "sharing" features in the form of subscriptions to channels, rating the video and offering code to embed the players on social networks or blogs.
Example sites:  YouTube, Jumpcut, Joost, Grouper, Revver, Blip.TV, VideoEgg, Daily Motion

Social Media Sites - Bookmarking:
DiigoThis part of Social Media is a great way to share what web pages you feel are important enough to bookmark.  Reining champ in this arena is de.licio.us, which is owned by Yahoo!  Along with saving your bookmarks, in almost all of these services, you can add tags and sometimes comments, as well as descriptions to your entries.  Titles for the links are also editable, you can choose to name it something different than what the actually page title is.  A lot of these services have become keen to the idea of promoting what's popular, so most of these services now have pages that display "recently bookmarked" or "most popular bookmarks" along with popular tags.  Like Social News, this space in Social Media also offers genre specific sites.
Example sites:  de.licio.us, Diigo, Furl, Bluedot, ma.gnolia.com, TekTag, Linklog, CloudyTags, Spurl

Social Media Sites - Social Networks:
Disneysocialnetwork As the success of MySpace and Facebook are spoken about in the press and in boardrooms across America, more and more corporations are considering adding their own specific networks for brands, products and companies.  Take for example Disney.com, they just launched their own social network, Toyota's got one for their Prius and Coca-Cola has one too.  Brands, products and in particularly movies are all wising up and creating their own MySpace page as well to try and reach this lucrative market of engaged community members.
Example Sites:  MySpace, Facebook, Live Journal, TagWorld, Disney XD, Toyota Prius, MSN Groups, Yahoo 360

Social Media Sites - Answer Services:
Yahooanswers This a really small, but powerful niche of Social Media.  I found out just what a great source of traffic it was last month when someone on Yahoo! Answers pointed to Search Marketing Gurus for an answer to a question.  With Answer Services, community members strive to give the best quality answers to questions that are posed to the community.  The "king" in this arena is Yahoo! Answers, but Answers.com isn't far behind.  Established sites like Linked In are also adding their own form of Answering services as well.
Example site:  Yahoo! Answers, Answers.com, Linked In Answers, Questionville, Askville,

Social Media Sites - Forums & Message Boards:
Probably the granddaddy of all Social Media, but the most forgotten are forums and message/bulletin boards.  These social gathering places have been around probably even longer than the idea of "search" itself.  With forums for genres, specialties, genders, marital status, pet owners, hobbies and everything else under the sun, they offer a place for communities to form, members to contribute and information to be shared.  There are literally thousands of these types of services out there, just type in the subject you want to research and attached the word "forum" or "message board" to the end and you'll see what I mean.
Example Sites:  Cre8asite Forums, Television Without Pity, Rotten Tomatoes, Search Engine Watch, High Rankings, Collector's Society, StarTrek Message Boards, Epicurious, The Greyhound Message Board

Social Media Sites - Those Social Media Services That Don't Fit a "Category" -- YET!:
Linkedin Finally we have those sites that just don't fit into any of these categories.  For one reason or another, they are of their own enitity.  Perhaps, they are filling a need that no one else is filling, or maybe they straddle the fence between categories, but no matter their uncategorized status, they are still very much a part of the Social Media category. These are all sites that fill a category all their own, but what should they be named?
Example sites:  StumbleUpon (social discovery?), MyBlogLog (social blog networking?), LinkedIn (social professional networking?), Wikipedia (social encylopedia?),

Measuring Social Media:
Buzzlogic Lastly, how do you measure social media?  Well there's not one tool, beyond perhaps tweaking your own analytics software to include a certain set of sites that refer traffic, that can take into account everything that might be considered a Social Media site.  There are some tools that come close, but a lot of analysts are piecing together the in-house right now than utilizing these services since they are all still in their infancy.
Example Social Media Measuring Services:  Buzzlogic, BlogPulse, Technorati, Feedburner

I hope this list helps you out in understanding Social Media a bit better and maybe even give you some ideas of what channels you can utilize for your clients or even yourself.  If I find any any glaring omissions, I'll update this post with the new information I find.

September 20, 2006

Social Media Marketing - Where's the Value?

By Li Evans

There's been a lot of hype over the last couple of months about all of these new social networking sites and their "Web 2.0 features".  Search industry professionals are even coining phrases to categorize this new area of the Search Marketing Industry.  Terms like "Social Media Optimization" (SMO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are being offered up to describe the actions of optimizing and marketing websites and blogs through the social networks like MySpace, Facebook, social news sites like Digg and Reddit and also social book-marking sites like De.licio.us, Furl, Bluedot and Diigo.

There's been a lot of discussion about the value of optimizing for these new areas of the web, some are even questioning if they belong lumped into search at all.  Then there is the whole discussion of the value of these networks and services, and how do you measure their worth?

Unlike paid search (PPC), with social networking, most of the time, there isn't a direct correlation with a visit to purchase ratio.  PPC is more of the instantaneous type of marketing - I put up the ad, and within an hour or two I can start to see results.  Social networking doesn't have that advantage, as you have to wait for others within the network to find it and "pass it along".

Social networking works more like natural search optimization - although, there can be an initial short lived "bang" from some of the sites, for example something picked up by Digg or Reddit.  But where I see the benefits of these sites is the long-tail.  At first I was rather skeptical of Social Bookmarking, but as an experiment I started bookmarking entries on Search Marketing Gurus just to test out the services and see how they perform. 

On a consistent basis, I'm seeing older posts get hits from the book-marking services through the searches, in a sense it is like the users of the book-marking services are utilizing it more as a 2nd tier type of search engine, relying more on what other people have found "worthy" or "relevant" to bookmark and finding articles, websites and information that more fit their searches.

Along with the older blog entries getting more traffic, there has been two other things I noticed.  Visitors coming through the social book-marking services have a longer stay time on the blog.  The visitors also traverse more of Search Marketing Gurus, than searchers coming through regular search engines.  Granted, this is just in the beginning stages, but its enough to make it stand out through the analytics and the other item to note is that this is a blog - not a commerce site.

So what's the value of social media marketing?  Perhaps there is more value to websites that have a lot of consumer generated content - like blogs, or commerce sites with blogs attached, than just the static website that hardly changes.  Return on Blog (ROB) investment is a little more difficult to track compared to the ROI on a PPC campaign.  Generally there's not a purchase attached to a visit - it's more about branding and engaging your customers and the value comes from the long-tail.

digg | searchmob | sniff it

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