SEO, Meet SMM Session at SMX Advanced

Social Media Marketing in 60 seconds:

  • Social media is here to stay.
  • Google and Ask recently embraced social sites with massive updates.
  • If you want to dominate the SERPs, you should find an edge with social media whether it’s through how-to videos, brand evangelist blogs or custom communities. Or all of the above!
  • When you submit your site, brand or products, understand that just submitting content won’t always translate to success. You need to work at building a relationship with relevant communities and understand the rules for each.
  • Techniques vary depending on the size of your company. Big companies get away with more “spam” methods of SMO because the intent is blurred with marketing fluff.
  • Have a strategy in place before you start submitting random articles to social networks.
  • Not everything is worthy of buzz, so control your message.
  • Track your buzz!

Fresh off of the Duplicate Content Session, Danny Sullivan moderated SEO, Meet SMM.

For those that have been hiding under a rock, SMM means Social Media Marketing and when SMOs (social media optimizers) aren’t fending off insults about their mothers, they’re busy generating traffic, backlinks and money. Sitting on the panel were Rand Fishkin (CEO & Co-Founder, SEOmoz), Cindy Krum (Senior SEO Analyst, Blue Moon Works Inc.), Todd Malicoat (Internet Marketing Consultant, Stuntdubl) and Neil Patel (Author, Pronet Advertising).

The Basics

What exactly is social media marketing?

Content or a marketing strategy that is submitted to social sites like social bookmark sites (, social networks (MySpace and LinkedIn), blogs, etc. It’s important to note that viral marketing can be a component of SMM, but they are not one and the same.

Why should you care about social media?

Well, for starters both Google and Ask have taken steps to embrace it with major updates. Secondly, social sites don’t appear to be a passing fad as the social networks’ market share continues to climb. That means there’s still incredible potential for traffic, backlinks and brand awareness – social media isn’t going away anytime soon, so marketers need to adapt!

What are the best social sites?

Rand Fishkin started the session with a comprehensive list of the best sites to target for social marketing campaigns. Topping the list were YouTube and Wikipedia, which without many direct SEO benefits are worthwhile due to the sheer amount of traffic you can get from them. However, with both Google and Ask’s recent updates those sites are now of definite value to SEOs. The companies that take the time to market their site across all channels have the ability dominate search results pages.

Other major social sites include: Yahoo! Answers, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, Amazon, Technorati, Twitter (still a little of an unknown), Craigslist, local sites (Yelp, Judy’s Book and CitySearch), WikiHow, Newsvine, Squidoo, Naymz and Tagalag (the last three are additions from Stuntdubl).

If you’re now a believer in SMM, the next step is submitting your site. That may seem like a daunting task, but if you analyze your industry and submit only to the most relevant sites the process shouldn’t be too frustrating.

Test the following sites to see how if your content fits with their community:

Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon,, Netscape, TechCrunch, Newsvine, Boing Boing, Fark, Engadget, Techmeme, Lifehacker and Yahoo! Picks

On that note, Neil Patel had some words of caution for those hoping to submit a story and see massive returns without putting in the work. The following are taboo or illegal social media techniques, for which you will be labeled a spammer and essentially booted from the sites:

  • Paid votes (paying someone to digg or stumble your article)
  • Multiple account creations
  • Illegal content submission
  • Shameless self promotion
  • Biased information
  • Requesting votes

Neil also shared his Golden Rules for Social Media Success:

  • Network and add lots of friends
  • Participate in the community you’re submitting to
  • Become a top user of a specific community (builds authority for yourself across multiple sites if you maintain the same username and icon)
  • Use their features against them (example – sending a friend a StumbleUpon message forces a user to look at the site you’ve sent the next time they stumble)
  • Create a social brand (without a doubt, the most important point!)
  • Do what’s ethical
  • Don’t jeopardize your brand
  • Think long term

Todd Malicoat, better known as Stuntdubl, had the following to add: Size DOES matter!

What he meant was the size of your company has a lot to do with how much you can get away with. Todd Friesen alluded to the same in a different session. Here is Stuntdubl’s breakdown with a nifty Holy Grail reference for all of the dorks.

Todd also wanted to let everyone know that, “spam is determined by intent and extent,” a statement mentioned multiple times throughout the organic sessions by speakers and search engines alike. He also added, “the bots are stupid, but engineers aren’t.”

Finally, Cindy Krum threw out some interesting statistics:

  • Social network advertising spending to triple by 2011
  • Cost for participation in social networks will maintain low to free

And suggestions for planning your social media campaign:

  • Research relevant social networks (different media offerings plus different industries or demographics)
  • Have a strategy!
  • Determine whether your social profiles will represent a brand, product, the company, an employee, a brand evangelist/fan, etc.
  • Follow traditional SEO best practices
  • Initiate an aggressive and ethical friend campaign
  • Drive traffic to your social profiles via traditional forms of online, retail, direct and/or search engine marketing
  • Use your social presence to usurp competitors from top positions on the SERPs
  • Empower brand evangelists (give away free stuff… people often easy to please with a little pre-planning)
  • Embrace convergence

That was it from the presentations, I’ve left out the Q&A on most of these session posts. If you have a question that wasn’t addressed please ask me and if I don’t have the answer, I’ll try to communicate with someone that does.

On a final and personal note, track whatever buzz your social marketing campaign generates! There are a variety of tools that exist, go Google them. I’m not going to do all of your work for you, but I will say my personal favorites include plain ole’ Google alerts, Yahoo Answer feeds and Google blog search.

Side Note:

I know I’m not as fast about blogging as the other hotties at SEOmoz, Search Engine Roundtable or Bruce Clay (Barry you’re included in that), but I wanted to try and create a more visual and personalized post… plus I don’t get paid to blog. What does everyone think? Stop filtering and just lay it all out? Just post the 60 second summary? Do more visuals? I would really appreciate the feedback!

Thank you and as a reward, here’s a photo of my favorite big ears: