Social Media Marketing is attractive for several reasons, including loads of free traffic and the increased exposure that comes along with it. However, achieving success with the major social media websites can produce many other results as well. Most of them are positive, but not all. Here is a look at what you should be prepared for as a result of hitting it big.
The most popular submissions on major social media sites including Digg, Reddit, and del.icio.us are displayed on popurls.com , which has a significant amount of traffic itself. So, if you are fortunate enough to get thousands of visitors from a particular social media site, you may also get hundreds or more from popurls. In a few cases I have received almost as much traffic from popurls as I have from del.icio.us on the day that a particular blog post made it to the del.icio.us front page.
Aside from huge amounts of traffic, inbound links are the most sought after result of SMM. In fact, for many marketers links are the ultimate goal and traffic is just a means of achieving that goal. A successful social media campaign will bring plenty of links from other websites and blogs. Some social media websites are better at leading to links than others. Personally, I’ve had good results drawing links through hitting the front page of Digg and del.icio.us more so than any other social media sites.
Links from del.icio.us Bookmarks
One of the reasons that del.icio.us produces such strong results for link building is that some del.icio.us users publish their bookmarks to their blogs. Del.icio.us provides a simple option that allows any user to automatically have their bookmarks published to their blog at the end of each day. Pages that make it to the del.icio.us front page will typically draw a number of these links. To see some in action, pick out a few popular items from the del.icio.us front page, and tomorrow do a Technorati search to check for their recent links.
While it’s certainly not a guaranteed result, pages that are successful with social media and draw a significant number of inbound links are likely to receive a higher PageRank from Google. On this blog several of the posts that have had great success with social media have a higher PR than the blog front page. These are the only posts that have managed to reach this level of PR.
Pages that become popular with social media are much more likely to be copied or stolen by others than the typical blog post would be. These pages obviously get tons of exposure, which means more opportunity to be copied, plus they have proven to be well-liked, which is a big plus for copy cats and scrapers. Stopping this can be very difficult, and from my opinion isn’t usually worth the time. The best way that I have found to combat it is to include internal links to other pages on your website/blog whenever possible. Most of the time when your content is stolen or scraped the links will be left in tact and at least it will be pointing back to your site. For WordPress users, the RSS Footer plugin can help with this too.
Blog posts that do well with social media are almost guaranteed to get more comments than your average post. This isn’t always positive. Social media success will sometimes lead people to your blog that are just looking to find something wrong. It’s not really a big deal if someone posts a negative comment, you can always delete it if it’s in poor taste or inappropriate. You will have less control over the comments left directly at social media sites themselves. Digg is notorious for negative comments even on the most popular and high quality submissions. If you’re marketing with Digg you’ll quickly learn to not even read the comments or you’ll grow some thick skin.
Knowing the Quality of Your Hosting Provider
If you’re unsure about the quality of your web host, get to the front page of Digg and see how it holds up. Most low-cost shared hosting plans aren’t sufficient for withstanding mobs of traffic in a short period of time, and as a result the site will likely go down.
Search Engine Traffic
The inbound links that result from social media success are likely to help you achieve strong search engine rankings for that particular page. Your pages that are popular with social media are likely to be your most productive in terms of search engine traffic as well.
Foreign Links and Traffic
Depending on the subject and format of the page, you may also see a boost in traffic and links from foreign websites. On my primary blog I have had success promoting resource lists for web designers. These posts typically include a bunch of links to resources that will help designers with a specific aspect of web development. Typically, these posts will each draw several links from foreign websites and blogs, and some have even become popular on foreign social media sites. A resource list can still be useful to those with limited English skills, whereas the typical blog post would have no relevance to them. One time I even had a resource list become popular on a foreign Digg clone that sent over 5,000 visitors in one day.
What Did I Miss?
From your experience with SMM what are some other secondary results?