These days more and more people are talking about social media engagement and how brands need to embrace social media resources like Twitter, Facebook, and the like. But when you look at sites like Digg, Mixx, Reddit, and StumbleUpon, you are looking at a whole other playing field. A lot of people feel you can jump on these site and just start submitting whatever, whenever and magically the traffic floodgates will open. If this is your mindset you are dead wrong. Like with any social media strategy, social submission sites have an audience and demographic to consider.
I was recently drafted to help build a social media strategy and one of the focus’s being considered was using sites like Digg, Mixx, etc. to help establish the company as an authority in the industry. Their hope was to share both outside and internal resources about the latest news in the industry, however there was no rhyme or reason to the process. At the time the goal was simply create profiles and start submitting.
When considering this sort of social media strategy it’s important to do some research to establish what networks are going to best benefit you and your company. Why waste the time and resources if there isn’t going to be any benefit or return from it? Do some research to find out which audiences will benefit you and your company best.
Search social sites for some of the top industry keywords and buzz words
Look at your search results and see if people are actually submitting stories about your industry and if the site users are actually voting and engaging the stories. If a site has a large number of search results, but very little engagement it’s probably best to assume this community of users really isn’t that interested in your subject matter.
Digg will actually help you to further understand trends by providing the total number of results, submissions from the last day, 7 days, and 30 days, as well as a trending graph that shows you the submission trend since 2006. If you’re seeing a downward trend this might be a red flag, on the other hand if submissions are on the up and up Digg might be a valuable source.
Consider the demographic
Gather demographic information. While it’s not usually a defining factor it gives you a good idea as to where to start. Do you market primarily to women? Research the network and try and find out who is using the network most. Knowing who you are engaging can have a significant impact on your strategy.
Pay attention to the content submitted
While working on this particular social campaign I noticed on Reddit that their industry got some decent attention, but the subject matter tended to lead to the more historical and political side of things. I brought Reddit to the table as a possible resource, however I made sure to mention the types of submissions that seemed to get the most love. If what you see doesn’t fit your overall plan for the content you’ll be sharing then perhaps the network won’t give you the full value you are looking for.
Be aware of what the community dislikes
Sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg all let you vote against, thumb down, or bury a story they feel is spammy or simply not worth the communities time. Pay attention to things like this, by paying attention to user engagement you can learn from the mistakes of others and make sure your strategy doesn’t include submissions that might get similar treatment. Another thing to consider is why the submissions are being disliked. Are they really spammy, or do they look legitimate to you as an industry expert? If they look legit the community simply may not understand the topics or simply isn’t interested.
Search for niche specific communities or groups
One of the nice things about the social web is that more and more communities are popping up every day. That being said if you do a search for social media or social bookmarking sites in your industry you are bound to come across some sites that might adore your content. If you’re looking to become an authority in the industry, what better place to start than among your peers.
These are just a handful of things to consider when putting together an overall social media strategy, but if you’re thinking about getting involved in communities like these they are definitely some important steps in finding the most value. While you’re at it you might also want to check out Tamar Weinberg’s StumbleUpon Etiquette Guide and Social Media Etiquette handbook, both some great reads that might help you engage your community once you’ve joined.