Another hot trend in search engine optimization is social media marketing.  Approaching social media work from a beginner’s standpoint can be a daunting task.  There are a ton of tools, sites and ‘expert’ opinions which you will find shoved in your face as the ‘new best way’ to get your website on the map.

The truth is, there are quite a few routes to go with social media marketing, and only several that will provide any real dividends.  When it comes down to it, as far as utilizing any social media method that requires gaining followers or building clout, honesty and repetition are the ways to go.  Many people will tell you that there are fast tracks to social media success, but there aren’t.  Like anything, it takes time, repetition, and trust to get ahead.

I’d like to take a moment to go over the basic points of social media marketing to get a beginner in the field on the ground and running.


Forums may be old school, but they are also a great place to reach a targeted group of users in your space.

Are you promoting the website of a bike shop  in San Francisco?  Post on local bike forums, but don’t just sign up for an account and blast your url out, that will probably only result in you getting kicked off the forum.  Try to participate in worthy discussions, and lend your input for at least a month before slipping your relevant site into the mix.  Be open with the forum community, tell them you work as a marketer in the field and are simply interesting in picking the brains of relevant users.

No forums on your specific topic of interst?  Create your own.  Our friends over at Lefora provide an easy to use Web 2.0 forum solution that will get you going in a jiffy.

Social Sharing Tools:  Twitter / Tumblr / Jaiku

Twitter is fast becoming spam central like MySpace, with legions of marketing bots attempting to gain as many followers as possible.

Don’t spam people on Twitter: what goes around comes around.  Sure, you may end up with thousands of followers using twitter bots, but they will be essentially worthless.   It’s pointless to have followers if most of them don’t care about the subject you are tweeting about.

Any real value you will gain from twitter will be sending out tweets to people in your space.  100 followers that are somewhat relevant to your San Francisco Bike site are far more valuable than 1000 irrelevant followers (most of which that are primarily spammers and robots).

If you are building a twitter following, send out relevant tweets with the topic’s # (hashtag) attached.

Ex.  I can’t wait for the #SanFrancisco Bikeathon in Golden Gate park this Weekend!  Anyone planning to attend? 

Building your following won’t happen overnight.  Keep a schedule of consistent tweets and be flexible.

Social Aggregation Sites:  Digg / StumbleUpon / Reddit

There are all fantastic tools for ‘blasting out’ your relevant blog post, site news, or site launch to the masses.  The key here is using the tools for what they are meant to be used for: allowing users to find and share interesting / entertaining information.

Of course ‘interest & entertainment’ value can be somewhat difficult to achieve depending on the subject of your site.  If you working on the SEO for Tom Brady’s new webpage, filled with updates about his latest date with Giselle, getting the word spread will be fairly easy. However, if you are trying to find an angle to make a used toilet brush site look entertaining, it may be an uphill climb.

The key here is picking the interesting content out of a haystack and ‘blasting’ it to the right audience.  Make sure to categorically classify your used toilet brush site update and get it to the right people.  Stay tuned for a post on the basics of SEO writing, and how to make a totally uninteresting subject somewhat palpable.

Social Networks:   Facebook / MySpace / Ning / LinkedIn

Just as in forums, the key to utilizing social networks for marketing purposes is reaching the right users.  Don’t go crazy and simply try to get as many friends as possible- find users that may actually be interesting in what you are promoting.  Join and create groups, fan pages, etc about your site or subject, but do so discreetly.  Build some trust by participating in discussions even if they don’t directly relate to you marketing your site.