So in my research this week I’ve been noticing a common denominator in some of the perceptions of some of the internet’s most successful marketers.
These would be people that I sort of look up to and admire for their ability to spread the news about whatever it is they are trying to promote.
Then I read Edwin’s observation and instantly I knew: DAMN…I guess I need to be a bigger nErD!
Here’s what he had to say…and albeit I find it extremely interesting and mostly accurate.
A while back I read an article on socialmediatoday.com that explained a little bit about Facebook’s new EdgeRank score and how you can take advantage of this feature. EdgeRank is the name of the algorithm which Facebook uses to determine what appears in their users’ news feeds
It got my juices flowing. It occurred to me that even though this concept was very simple to ME, many people conducting business on the Internet -and more importantly via social media sites – were not really in tune with the world of programming and how it can affect a company’s marketing efforts.
Many people don’t understand that it is PROGRAMMING that turns the cogs inside the machine we call “The World Wide Web“. It is programming that decides how important your Facebook post is or how relevant your Website is for a particular search phrase or even what your “popularity” score is on Twitter.
The point that I am trying to make here is that you have to at least UNDERSTAND the mechanics behind your social media marketing plan just as much as you need to understand the content that is being distributed.
Having a good content plan can help you deliver targeted traffic right to your front (Website) step, but what good is it to have quality content if you don’t have the distribution? Having the right content, the right amount of interaction and working the social media channels are all important, but having the knowledge of how a social media site’s internal programming structure works is just as important.
Now, I’m not saying you have to be a total nerd to create a successful campaign on social media sites. I’m just saying that you should understand how to make the most of a social media site’s functionality. There are certain methodologies that social media sites implement that can push your campaign in one direction or another and there are things you should understand before trying to distribute your content across these massive marketing platforms.
- How does Facebook decide which posts to push first?
- How does Twitter decide when to limit or stop your follows?
- How do “experts” get their names to show up in so many search results on LinkedIn?
As a software developer myself, this sort of stuff really excites me. I always try to dig deep into the workings of ANY type of online marketing channel. But, it doesn’t take a software developer to figure out the basics of their system. Most social media channels offer information about their APIs and internal programming structure and there are lots of articles about EdgeRank and others.
There is plenty of “nerd” stuff you might want to learn in order to make the most of your social media marketing campaigns, but it’s not all as complicated as we might think.
I’ve been designing, developing and marketing Websites since 1994 (before most even knew what a Website was) and it didn’t take long for me to learn that figuring out how search engine algorithms worked could help push my Website to the top of the search engine results.
Back then “SEO” wasn’t even the name for this technique yet.
I started to understand that every search engine had a certain method for displaying a (somewhat relevant) list of Websites that corresponded with the keyword that was searched. And, changing the positioning of my keywords throughout the page altered my Website’s position within the search results. Armed with this information I was able to “optimize” my Web site for any keywords I wanted to get massive amounts of traffic to my site. Of course it was all very easy back then.
As time went on I started to notice that many other popular Website portals began using similar types of algorithms and it wasn’t long before I was getting my listings to show up above all others at eBay, Craigslist and many other sites. I knew how to push my ad in front of the largest possible audience and it was great!
Well guess what….
Social media is changing all of this – hasn’t it?
Social media has put PEOPLE in power. How results are displayed on search engines AND on social media sites is largely due to the input that people give to these sites.
Let’s take Facebook for example…
If you had read George Guildford’s article on Facebook’s Edge Score you would understand that Facebook’s algorithms take Affinity, Weight and Time into account when determining the importance of individual posts. The way people interact with you (and your posts) on Facebook has bearing on how much distribution you are going to get.
Most experienced social media marketers know that following many people on Twitter (depending on how many people reciprocate that follow) can trigger Twitter to block your account from following anyone else, but there are many people that still don’t know simple things like this.
Twitter takes into account the amount of “retweets” you get in addition to other data-bits like how often your profile is “listed” by other accounts. They look at your interaction with others and I’m sure there are a lot of other mechanisms that render criteria to factor into their search algorithms.
Ever wonder why some people are displayed above others on LinkeIn? So did I. I started to test different optimization techniques that I had used in the past for SEO and I can’t say I was surprised to find that LinkedIn worked in a similar way to search engines.
LinkedIn displays results based on a person’s profile and the content that is attached to it. I started to use their search bar to find people within different niches (just for testing purposes) and I found that the top results had a similar structure to their profile and most had lots of connections. I tried to make notes of anything I saw in their profile that might reorient search results to suit their needs.
I started to rework my own profile. I added more skills, changed the verbiage in my title and description (the way I would when working with SEO projects) and tinkered with a few other items. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing exactly, but I thought it was worth testing.
I added words like “online marketing” and “SEO manager” to my profile and sure enough – I started to show up for the words “SEO manager”. I was within the top 7 results for the words “online marketing” for a while, but that dropped so I guess I have to go back to the drawing board on that one, but it just proves my point that there are technical aspects of social media marketing that people don’t ever discuss and or even try to learn about.
I decided to try the same thing with my video marketing efforts a while back and had very similar results. Adding my keywords to the video’s meta information and also to the title and content of the video page itself. Youtube, Vimeo and Viddler had the same type of results. They moved my video higher in the results and I got more traffic.
Now I’m not claiming to be an authority when it comes to social media and I think social media as a marketing channel is still too new for ANYONE to call themselves a “Guru” (god knows there’s plenty of people that claim this), but if you study the mechanics of how social media sites work you can integrate that knowledge into your overall social media marketing scheme and deliver better results for your clients and/or for yourself.
Not many people are talking about this, but I think it is very important to your social media marketing efforts. No – there is no way you are going to decipher a social media site’s algorithms, but it does not take a software engineer to figure out what works and what does not from a “technical” standpoint. And, most of the information you need is freely available on each social media site.
If you follow his newsletter and articles on socialmediatoday.com, he promises to bring you his personal (nerdtastic) findings.