Time to Rethink Your Social Media Strategy?

There is just so much good content that never sees the light of day. Are you approaching social media with the right strategy? Wrong moves will do more harm than good.

Here are my thoughts on getting the best out of social media.

Many look to social media as a gold mine of free publicity but they don’t realize that making the wrong move can easily get their domains locked out. The web is a massive pool of content and the fact is no matter how good your stuff is, the consequences of banning it from one of the social media sites is minimal at most. That’s why you need to approach it with care.

Get to know your new friend

If you don’t know enough about the social media site then leave it alone. Can you name the major differences between Reddit and Digg? What are their demographics? What are the trends?

For example, Digg is not only a news site but a social network (with powerful repercussions when you really understand it). The tasteful design, AJAX effects, and avatars scream Web 2.0. You need a good title to any submission but the blurb giving readers the executive summary can be just as critical in making or breaking a story.

With Reddit, the punch line is in the title. That’s the one and only chance you get. The design is spare and simplicity is emphasized. No avatars, no graphics, and no social networking functions.

If you don’t have the time to spend time with the service and study it, then stay away from submitting your own material. Even if you are a prominent member it’s still best to tread with care. Unless of course it’s something like StumbleUpon or del.icio.us where you can have multiple independent submissions.

The fact is even good writers have trouble creating a catchy punch line that summarizes the story with a personality all it’s own. It’s a skill that shouldn’t be hard to develop for a good writer but still best left to experts or outsiders.

The fact is most social media sites carry an invisible penalty for self-promotion. They are weary of being spammed even if it’s an imaginary threat all alarms go off. If you have a domain that is too business-like or has connotations of spam or even SEO, you’re chances are even slimmer unless you’re one of the more established sites with industry recognition. In this case it makes even more sense to stay away.

However, there is nothing wrong with submitting something that you feel is really good. If it is in fact good content, chances are a diligent member of the social media site will bookmark you or subscribe to your feed for next time. Keep your own submissions few and far between. If you notice people submitting your material lay off of it completely and let nature run its course.

It is also good to not brag or talk about getting on any of the pages as it’s frowned upon by social media users. They are likely to misunderstand it and interpret it as if you took advantage of the medium.

The key is to use plugins like Gregarious for WordPress to make the submission process easier on your user as well as tracking the popularity of your content with realtime Digg buttons that appear on the article when it is submitted.

Building a reputation with great content is the shortest path to success but there is one simple thing you can do that will not only improve your writing but increase the chances of getting a good submission.

Write the title of your post and the first paragraph as if it’s your submission to Digg or any of the other services. A lot of times this will not only save power users time to submit the site, it’ll keep morons that couldn’t sell free gasoline to a car driver from ruining your chances with a stupid submission.

The title should be catchy with a personality and the first paragraph should be three sentences or less that capture the essence of what you’re trying to say.

After that it’s essentially wait and pray but good content will always find its audience.