Social Media Tips
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
+ The Importance of a Cross-Platform Brand
+ Building Relationships with Your Competitors
+ How List25 got its first 30,000 Fans
+ Tips for Higher Facebook EdgeRank
+ Advice on YouTube
+ The Importance of su.pr URLs
+ Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+
The very first thing that I would do is reevaluate my domain. Your domain name has to be catchy, but it also has to be consistent throughout all social networks.
Let’s say that you’re able to get this phenomenal domain name, but you don’t have the Twitter or Facebook profile. That will hurt you over the long run. People want to find you by just typing whatever your brand name is throughout.
So first thing I always make sure whenever I’m registering a domain name is to check if all the social profiles are available.
In the case of List25, it was not available. But I knew the right people, so I was able to get the Twitter name and the YouTube name back to us. So sometimes you have to compromise and other times you can leverage your network. Social Media Tips
Get to Know the Competition
The next thing I would do is research all of my competitors.
Sometimes you’re getting into a niche where you don’t have competitors. Other times, you have a lot of competitors. Either way, target a few of the big name sites and see what their strategy is. What are they doing to get traffic?
There are amazing tools out there for this. SEOmoz has tons of tools. You can see which sites are back-linking to your competitors. It’s not as accurate as you would want it to be, but you can see where they’re getting all of the traffic.
Friend or Foe?
You may think that your competitors are your competitors and you’re not supposed to mingle with them. But in a lot of cases – and especially in blogging – you want to become friends with your competitors.
This is crucial for your success, to have an arch-rival. Basically, you pretend like you’re rivals but you’re really friends. You will still look like rivals on the front end, but you are good friends on the back end.
Take John Chow and Shoemoney for example. They look like they’re arch rivals and they each trash each other, try to compete with each other. But they’re really good friends and they share their technology and strategies with one another.
The idea is that there’s enough money and traffic to go around.
In List25’s case, when we looked at our competition (e.g. Cracked, CollegeHumor) we saw that they were sharing each other’s content on Twitter and Facebook! They even share each other’s content on their own sites. Social Media Tips
When you try to reach out to a competitor or relative site, you want to make sure that you can offer them as much as they can offer you.
So, at the beginning, we probably would not be able to reach out to a site as big as like Cracked and say, “Would you be interested in doing a traffic exchange with me?” We didn’t have anything to offer to them. Cracked is doing hundreds of millions of page views and we were just starting out.
We can’t go and work out a deal with Cracked. We could have sent them an email, but most likely we wouldn’t have heard back.
So, the strategy I used was to find smaller bloggers who were doing the same thing as us. Most importantly, I was tracking their Google Analytics to the dot. So, if a small blog linked to us, I went back to them and I said, “Hey, thank you for linking to us. Would you be interested in working on this partnership?” The idea was just to establish a relationship. It’s the same thing if someone tweets you, then you establish a relationship.
Thank them. They will remember you once you thank them. That’s the way we grew as a new blog: networking. Social Media Tips
The Benefits of Building Relationships
Let’s say that I work out a relationship with you. I say, “Hey, can you retweet my stuff and I’ll retweet your stuff?” (Obviously, we only do this if we like you and your stuff).
Then, maybe once a week or every few days, you can suggest a link for them to retweet (if you don’t see them retweeting it already). Obviously, when they retweet it, their followers are going to see it. If they like it, then they’re going to become your followers.
GENERAL SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
What Really Matters
Content, content, content.
Having a lot of images helps and having good content above the fold.
Compelling content is the number one thing that you need to have. But it’s not everything. You can have compelling content and still not get anywhere in social media.
Use Your Personal Network
I actually sent out an email to all of my friends on Facebook. It said, “Hey, would you please ‘like’ List25 and help us grow?”
So, use the network that you have. Often people are afraid: “Oh, I don’t want to ask my friends, because I might be selling them out.”
No! When you open a local restaurant, who are the first people that you invite to your place? Your friends, so they can test it out.
Your friends are probably going to be more up front with you than anybody else. So, if we do something wrong our friends will be able to tell it to us a lot faster than anybody else.
I always rely on my friends. Obviously, I make a lot of friends over time. So, that’s my number one social media strategy: leverage my network to grow.
Why Social Media Matters
If your audience or your client is a person, then social media is important to you. If you’re targeting robots, then you can probably ignore it.
The whole idea of having a Twitter or social media base, is so that you don’t rely on a traffic boost from one-time sources. Like, “Oh my God, Yahoo news mentioned me! I got 80,000 views! But, that was it. I didn’t get anything else for the next six months.”
That’s because you don’t have the social media following. With a social media following, whenever you post something, they will come back to you again and again. Social media is not about one time hits. It’s about building a loyal following over time.
Little Known Tips
A Picture is Worth 1000 Words
Sharing images almost always works better than sharing links. You can see me doing that very often on our Facebook.
For our List 25 articles, we have images associated with each item sometimes. So, I would share one image (sometimes I would customize an image to make it catchier) and then I would add my link to the site. That way, every time somebody re-shares my image, they’re also re-sharing that little text that’s at the bottom with a link. People are going to click on that link and then go to my site.
I don’t see a lot of people doing that. Most people don’t realize that images have better ranks in every system, especially Facebook. You have a higher EdgeRank, by default, for an image. So images are more likely to show up in the news feed then a link would.
Repeat Sharing Images
I always share the link first. Then maybe a day or two later, I re-share that link, but I don’t want to re-share the link itself, so I share an image from the link. Since there are usually 25 images in our articles, they could be shared 25 different times in 25 different ways. That way it looks like it’s a unique thing every single time. Social Media Tips
Getting 100,000 Fans
It’s really exciting to hit 100,000 likes, which only happened about twelve hours ago. It was a monumental achievement for us.
See More : Facebook Domination
Most bloggers come out with one article a day. They’ll just post their link after link after link after link on their Facebook walls. They don’t interact with their audience.
That causes EdgeRank to start going down. You need to share different types of content.
For List25, we’re coming out with a new video once a week. We share that video on our Facebook. Then we share a link. We also share an image. Sometimes we mix it up with a question or a status. So it’s always fresh.
That way, Facebook doesn’t see that we’re just pushing out the same exact type of content (lowering our EdgeRank). That’s absolutely crucial. Share interesting content day after day.
I always like my own stuff on List25. Everything that List25 publishes, I automatically hit the ‘share’.
List 25’s Facebook Contest
The key to our growth was the contest that we ran. I did a detailed post on WPBeginner on how we used WordPress and a few plugins to run this amazing contest. It pushed us over 30,000 fans in less than a month.
At end of November, I asked, “How about we do a Facebook giveaway?” Ok.
We decided to give away 25 $25 Amazon gift cards for 25 days, starting from November 30th to December 24th.
The contest was so timely because it was around Christmas. We made it a holiday giveaway. If we held a contest at any other time, it could have looked like spam. People could purchase whatever they wanted for Christmas, using the gift card that we give them.
We did Facebook Ad campaigns when we first started the contest. You need to get the word out to a few people somehow.
Our budget wasn’t that much. I think it was five to ten dollars a day. We targeted the ads to the people to the younger generation who were interested in humor.
How the Contest Worked
I set the contest up as the default landing page for anybody who comes to our Facebook page. To see what the contest was, you had to like our page.
Then, in order for you to be qualified to enter, there was a little button that said, “Click here to share this contest and enter.” So, you clicked there and up came the text and the image I wanted people to share. Basically, the text said, “I just entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card from List25,” and then there was a little description and a really cool image. They could also add their custom text if they wanted.
Once you share that image, then you’re taken to a page that will tell you how to enter our contest. The entry would require you to give us your name and email. That means they’re subscribing to our email newsletter, which sends them daily List25 posts.
So this was like a three tiered program that I was spending about $625 for.
The contest got people to like List25, which automatically shows up in their friends’ news feed. But, liking a page has a very low EdgeRank, so it doesn’t show up on all of your friends’ news feeds.
But, the contest also has the user share our page. So, now our EdgeRank just improves for that user. Once that user shares it, all their friends see it. So it just created this viral platform for us and by the end we had 30,000 fans.
Reaching Critical Mass
The trick to Facebook is that you need a certain number of fans in order for you to grow a lot faster. If you have 100 fans, you won’t be as viral as if you have 10,000 fans.
30,000 fans obviously brought us a huge reach. Today, we have a total of 100,643 likes.
‘Friends of Fans’ is also an important number. We have 35 million friends of fans.
I also got a lot of my friends to retweet it or like it.
I also asked a few of my personal friends who I think have a good influence on Facebook, “Hey, I will take you guys out to a meal if you enter this contest and share it with all of your friends and invite all of your friends to like our page.”
The meal was not going to cost me that much – $15 or $20 bucks a person at most. We’re not going to some fancy restaurant. So, I temporarily made them admins of my page and had them invite all of their friends. Only admins can invite all of their friends to join a page.
The social connection on Facebook is very crucial. You would not ‘like’ something because a stranger tells you to do it. You are more likely to do it when a friend tells you to do it.
So, that was a crucial aspect of how we grew so fast. As we produced content, it was much more viral because our total reach was so much higher. We just kept on building up and building up. I think now we’re growing at about 800 to 1200 likes a day. It’s insane. Social Media Tips
Simple Facebook Connect
Make sure the correct thumbnail shows up for each of your articles. That is very crucial.
Download this plugin for WordPress called, “Simple Facebook Connect.” It’s not rocket science. Just activate the plugin and it will make sure the right image shows.
The plugin is very powerful. With List25, it allows Facebook comments. So people can just connect to their Facebook and leave comments if they want to.
It also allows you to install Facebook Insights. We have a huge article on WPBeginner about the plugin. It’s a little bit technical, but we explain it pretty well.
You know how you have Insights for your fan page? So, you can also have Facebook Insights for your website, which would pretty much show you all of the stuff that you see for your fan page.
So, you can see, “This is the country that’s getting the most likes. This is the language that most of our users speak. This is the stuff that most people are talking about. These are our most popular articles with Facebook users.”
For our site, I got Facebook Insights and I looked at which article was being shared the most.
It was “25 Epic Fail GIFs.” So I decided to reshare that article more. I shared all 25 of our epic GIFs on our Facebook.
Now that article alone has 29,000 Facebook likes. How many articles do you see that get 29,000 likes? Insights helped me do that.
I also used the Insights to check which Facebook like button are people clicking on.
In the beginning, we played around with the Facebook Like placements on our site. There’s a good blog called HyperArts Blog. He has a great tutorial that shows you how to attach Google Analytics tags to your social media buttons.
Then you can see which social media buttons the user actually is clicking the most. You can get rid of all the other ones.
A lot of people have a lot of social media buttons, but that causes the site to load super slowly. We don’t want our site to load slowly. We want it to load fast. Social Media Tips
Socialize through Search
Twitter Search is by far one of the most helpful things.
That’s the bottom line. Who is your competitor?
At List25, we have a few competitors. So, I just started sitting on the Twitter search seeing who was retweeting those sites and I was just replying back to them, replying back to them, replying back to them.
I like these sites myself, so I can relate to what they’re sharing. I can just reply back, like, “Oh, I like that stuff too.”
That makes it a little bit less spammy, so I’m not just saying, “Hey Cracked is good. Check out List25. It’s even better.” That would be total spam.
But if you can relate to them with the first tweet, they will probably reply back to you. Then in the second tweet, you can say, “Oh yeah, and by the way, did you check out our site? It is pretty amazing.”
So, for Twitter, that’s the number one thing: target your competitors in Twitter search and interact with their audience. Social Media Tips
Create a Separate, Personal Profile
Often people don’t have a personal network on their Twitter, so they just go by their site.
Darren Rowse is a very big example of that. He doesn’t have a personal Twitter. He just goes by Problogger. Don’t get me wrong: he has 156,000 followers. But he can never sell problogger.net.
With List25, on the other hand, if I get a good offer, I can sell it.
That’s why I always keep my personal brand a little bit separate, so that I can build that on the side. I don’t have a lot of followers, maybe 4,000 or 5,000. But all of the people who are following me are real people who help me get retweets and stuff like that. I have some of the top name editors from big magazines that are following me. Social Media Tips
Retweet it Right
A lot of people that I know will retweet, but they won’t say “via WPBeginner” or “RT WPBeginner.” For some reason, Twitter people kind of feel like their tweets aren’t as valuable if they say that they found it from somebody else.
So, I always ask them to do that – especially people who I’m partnering up with or people who are good friends. I’ll say, “Hey, can you please write ‘via List25’ so that people know that it’s coming from List25?”
If someone sees that the content is from List25 right in the tweet, they’re more likely to go back and follow it within the same day. But if the user doesn’t mention it, then that connection will almost never happen. Social Media Tips
You need to have amazing video intros.
I have a real good friend who helped me out with this. His name is Nick Scheidies of Next Level Ink. So, again, networking. I met him at one of the events.
I try to keep in touch with people I meet. He has this video production company, so I asked him if he could help us out with video. He helped us make an intro for our videos and now an outro as well.
We’re not video guys. We don’t know how to make videos. But having a professional intro, somewhat animated is always better. It’s like, “Oh my god, these people like, put time into making these videos.” So, that was our number one step, to have a video that was like kind of good quality.
So the tips from Nick were most helpful. Social Media Tips
See more : Video SEO Marketing Tips
Reddit has been great for our videos.
Reddit doesn’t like when people submit items linking to their own sites. Reddit does not like that. Reddit users do not want to go to your site and see your ugly ads. They want the direct content.
So, if they like an image off of your site, they will right-click on the image, take the image URL, and just submit that image in the ‘funny’ area or the ‘picture’ area. I know that from personal experience, because one day we did 4.5 terabytes of bandwidth.
With video, we were able to get higher up in Reddit. Instead of sharing the videos through our own List25 URLs, we shared the YouTube video URLs. Social Media Tips
The second big thing was getting the smaller Tumblr bloggers to re-blog our videos. Videos are very easy to embed and very easy to share. They’re also very easy to reblog. That’s the best part about video. Bloggers can share it with their whole list with just one little embed.
So, I asked a lot of smaller Tumblr bloggers, “Hey, would you be able to re-blog our videos if you like?”
Keep in mind, I wasn’t just some total jerk-off who came up to them and just said, “Hey, re-blog this video.” I was actually interacting with them and liking their stuff. Then I suggested a video.
They were like, “Sure. Let us know if you have more.” So, we got a lot of views that way.
Once your video starts getting a lot of views, it automatically gets higher placement in the YouTube search. Social Media Tips
Advertising Your Videos
I also ran AdWord campaigns for our videos to get some views. I was paying about one cent per click, for our video. I had so many keywords that you ought to hit one of them, so I didn’t care if I was at the bottom placement.
So, I did that on Google Adwords for our YouTube videos and that helped. I’ve stopped doing it now because our videos are doing relatively well. We have a good following and now our Tumblr is doing good. So we can re-share our videos on our Tumblr and have it re-blogged by a lot of other Tumblr bloggers.
Have unique content. If you try to copy content, you will get hit with copyright infringement.
One of our videos of 25 pranks got hit by a copyright infringement by one of the very big YouTubers. But that actually allowed me to become friends with that guy.
He told me, “Dude, I hit copyright infringement every single day on so many videos. But you are the first person who actually went online, found my phone number, and gave me a call.”
Now he’s friends with me and he’s shared our videos too. Social Media Tips
When you’re trying to make a product commercial, you don’t want to make it 25 seconds.
But our videos are not product commercials, so we can afford to be long. We can afford to be like 25 minutes long and still get a lot of views, because people want to view our video. They’re coming to the videos naturally.
At first, we had a limit on our YouTube. That’s why our first few videos were under 15 minutes. But now that limit is off of our account, so we can upload videos for however long we want.
Focus Above the Fold
The number one thing for StumbleUpon traffic is the content above the fold.
StumbleUpon users usually click, ‘stumble’, ‘stumble’, ‘stumble’, ‘stumble’, “Oh – I like it! Like!”, ‘stumble’, ‘stumble’, ‘stumble’, ‘stumble’. So, it’s very fast.
In order to make the StumbleUpon user stick, you can’t crowd your header area with ads.
We’ve designed List 25 so that when you click on a single post page, the first thing you see is the title and then you see the post content below. You don’t see any ad in the top. So, you see that little bar of ours and then our content.
So, that’s the number one thing for StumbleUpon: do not crowd with ads. Social Media Tips
Digestible Content Ranks Higher
The second thing is that you need to make your content easy to consume.
A real estate blog would never hit it big on StumbleUpon, because the content is practically impossible to digest.
You want your content to be entertaining so that the StumbleUpon users get hooked to it. You also want it to be very easy for them to consume so they can go through it fast, rather than just click and go Stumble again.
The more people like your site on StumbleUpon, the higher your site’s ranking goes in the StumbleUpon algorithm. So, if the user just goes to your site and clicks, “Stumble” it doesn’t help you at all. Sometimes it even hurts you. But if the user comes to your site and clicks ‘like’, that’s when your site does well.
So, we optimized our site’s layout so that it’s very simple, very up-front. You can see the site’s content and it’s spaced out well. That way, the user is more likely to ‘like’ it. Social Media Tips
Su.pr links automatically add a StumbleUpon tool bar for most users, if they have a StumbleUpon account. So, by sharing the su.pr links instead of the bit.ly URLs, it gives us an inherent advantage over anybody else who is not sharing those URLs. Our chances of getting a ‘like’ are much higher.
That’s the trick. Su.pr links are basically just a shortened version of the StumbleUpon link for your site. So, if I have an su.pr link that got retweeted 500 times, StumbleUpon notices that. They like that it’s being shared.
Going back to Facebook, when I shared all of our epic fail GIFs and had a link to our articles, that was a su.pr URL. Imagine 29,000 likes turning into 1.1. million StumbleUpon views. So, every time I shared an image, I shared my su.pr URL.
Become a Community Member
Obviously, there’s a lot of grunt work that goes into StumbleUpon. You have to be an active member of the StumbleUpon community. You have to like stuff, Stumble stuff, and be a regular user. Social Media Tips
PINTEREST, TUMBLR, AND GOOGLE+
I didn’t even know Pinterest existed, for a long time. One day, I was watching the Google Analytics stats and I saw this Pinterest site just jumping up in numbers. Apparently people were pinning our site.
So, I’m like, “We need to get a profile on Pinterest.”
I created my personal profile and I connected with all of my friends who were already there.
Then I added the Pinterest buttons on my site, making it easy to pin. Now I’m slowly interacting with the people on Pinterest. I’m liking their stuff, commenting on it, and re-pinning it.
It’s almost like Twitter, except much more visual. Everything is visual on Pinterest.
We’re also using Pinterest to find new sources of content for us. So, Pinterest is not just a traffic driver. It is also a place where we find a lot of our content, especially for our Tumblr blog. Social Media Tips
It’s huge. It’s so easy for people to just like your blog and reblog it. It’s much more powerful than anything I’ve seen.
So, we created 2to5.list25.com. We chose that name because we wanted to keep it brandable.
We just created a custom theme on Tumblr and we began sharing bits of our own articles. It’s like what we were doing with Facebook, except on Tumblr. It was much more visual and much better because we could have each image linked to our own site. Social Media Tips
We were also able to work out deals with like other Tumbloggers. The limitation of List25 had been that we couldn’t work out partnership deals with anybody, because our articles had to be lists of 25 things. (How could we share somebody else’s article on List 25?) Now that we have a Tumblr page, we can work out something where we say, “Hey, you mention our stuff on your site and we’ll mention your stuff on our Tumblr.” So, Tumblr has given us that leverage in that we can offer it to other bloggers.
Tumblr has also allowed us to network with a lot of exciting Tumbloggers, who are already popular. It’s much easier for them to re-blog stuff than to always be creating their own. You know, finding stuff outside and bringing it in. Re-blogging almost always looks better, because the number of notes is just higher.
So, we have done that with our Tumblr. We’re trying to diversify our sources of traffic. You can’t just rely on StumbleUpon or Facebook or Twitter. We want to leverage the power of every social network that exists, within our reach, and Tumblr has provided phenomenal results. Social Media Tips
Google+ is rather interesting. We’re not doing much social interaction there, not as much we would want to.
But one reason why we’re doing Google+ is to have the search advantage. Anything that you publish on Google+ is going to help you rank higher in search engines, because it’s allowing you to have +1. Plus, all of your Google+ statuses are indexed in Google. So, the reason for us using Google+ is more about SEO, rather than social.
I’ve hit the “What’s Hot” section of Google+ once. But that was only once and I don’t think that Google+ has been driving us significant traffic.
It’s also allowing us to have verified authors on List25 with the rel=author tag. So now whenever you search for something on List25 that’s written by me, you’ll see my picture next to it. I think that gives you like a higher ranking in search engines as well. Social Media Tips
1. Get to know your competitors.
Find the top blogs and sites in your niche. Start figuring out what they’re doing, socially and otherwise, to build up their sites. Once you have something to offer them, reach out and befriend them. Then you can collaborate instead of compete.
2. Start a Facebook campaign.
Create a Facebook page with your domain as the vanity URL (i.e. facebook.com/List25). Start by inviting your friends to like it. Consider running a competition or giveaway. All the while, regularly update your page with links, images, videos, and questions. Then evaluate your Facebook Insights to figure out how else you can maximize Facebook. Social Media Tips
3. Build up a Twitter profile.
Spend some time monitoring Twitter Search and interacting with people as a friend. As you build relationships with people, share their content and ask them to do the same.
4. Maximize video content.
If possible, start recreating your content as professional videos. Upload them to your YouTube channel and embed them on your site. Then sparingly submit them to Reddit and ask Tumbloggers if they’ll re-post your videos.
5. Consider getting involved in StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+.
StumbleUpon doesn’t like ads. Pinterest likes images and infographics. Tumblr likes short, digestible content. And Google+ is good for increasing your search engine rankings. Get involved in multiple social platforms so you can diversify your traffic and not be dependent on any one source.