Getting to the Top: Your Activity

The topic at hand today folks is how your activity helps in building your web presence for your projects so that you can A) Promote it, B) Get more exposure to then C) Build a Positive Responsive Fanbase or Audience to drive the success of your project. With that said it is clear to build this presence your actual ‘presence’ is required.

Today more than ever social networking is becoming more and more personal.  With that, many of today’s success stories have been driven by that facet of social media, the ability to reach a given audience on the personal level. This creates better chances of getting your message across by being digitally in touch with your audience. We’ve seen this work Politically with both President Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012, as well as in entertainment with the stories of Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber.

Many organizations (bands, artists, companies or just people etc) in an effort to build on that ‘close and personal effect’, have taken in MySpace fashion to directly posting to walls of others in their given social network, similar to how we posted comments on a celebrity or our friends MySpace profile. This is where we have to be careful. As walls are very personal to many, that act of posting on their space can be seen as intrusion on a person’s privacy or property, or interference, maybe even direct competition in what they are doing. In the case of the latter some organizations purposely do this to ‘steal’ the audience of their competitors. It is akin to literally walking up someones house and spray painting a wall with your logo or banner. Literally making your home, their billboard.

Indeed you may initially see some positive impact of more plays, clicks downloads etc for what your promoting, but conversely some people may be saying ‘HUH?, WTF? etc‘ and marking your post to their wall as Spam or if your lucky just deleting it. They might even be the case I just described here that thinks you are the competition trying to steal their audience, or worse you are making them into your billboard. So while it at first looks like your growing, in the long run you might in fact be limiting your audience and there by your potential success. I of course am not suggesting half the people who’s walls you post to are like this, but we all know it takes just a few and sometimes just one bad episode to have a negative impact, that old saying comes to mind “One Bad Apple Can Spoil the Bunch.”

How you ask? Well, there are a few things that happen that you may not be aware of when your posting to everyone’s walls. Facebook (and the other social sites like it Google+ comes to mind) keeps a record of how many pages, users or posts get marked as spam and who’s creating them. It also tracks ‘Likes’, ‘+1’ in the case of Google, ‘Shares’ and comments as well. Basically who and what gets Positive feedback or Negative feedback and then scores them accordingly. Positive feedback raises your score, while spam, unsubscribe/removals lowers it.
*note: These activities are indeed tracked to that level, we’ll expound more on that in our article on advertising and promoting in the digital space.

Now lets use ‘Punk Rock’ as an example. Say you want your project the “Punk Rock Journal for Rappers” to be found when people search for ‘Punk Rock’. If ‘Person A’ searches for Punk Rock, depending on your score in that area, referred to as a ‘keyword‘, 1 of 3 things may happen, your project can either be 1. In the top of the results or 2. at the bottom or 3. Not show up at all. And here’s the real kicker folks. Even if Person A uses your exact project name in the search, other Punk Rock projects with similar or even the same name have a chance to show up before yours does due to their having a higher score for that keyword.

Before I go on I should note, I am giving a very, very general description of the process, as quite a bit of data is weighed when producing search results. These results do vary by network (Google, Bing, Facebook etc) and Google for example actually patented and kept their algorithms a company secret. That said however they all use similar constants in their algorithms. Scores are determined not just by the factors listed here but also include (among others) what posts was liked and who liked it, even what time and time zone. For websites SEO optimization and key wording are apart of this conversation, where these Algorithms are concerned, again we expound on this in our article on advertising and promoting.

With the picture I have just painted you may find yourself saying;

Ok, so what do I do then? I just spent half the night posting to over 150 friends walls, that was allot of work, so what should I be doing if I can’t do that?

Well its not that you shouldn’t be doing it, but that you should be more strategic about it and additionally be more efficient. Here are a few suggestions.

First is Do a bit of home work and find out where you can and how you can post your message to promote and drive your project. For instance try emailing all the people who’s walls you intend to post to, tell them about the project and how they can help by letting you post to their walls or by sharing it in their walls for you. This will help in so many ways. You might get all of them saying yes post to my wall or let me share it for you. A few may say no, but offer to help in other ways or suggest another route like ‘tagging‘ them instead of posting on their wall or ask for your link to add to their site for cross linking your site with theirs. Others may get very enthusiastic as they might have a similar project that may gel very well with yours, i.e. a friend could have Publication they just started working at and your project is a great first story, Press helps immensely. From these responses you’ll have an immediate picture of who your audience is, who your strong supporters and fans are and possible allies and strategic partners for your project going forward. You’ll also save your self a ton of time now and in the future by not having to go to everyone’s walls each time you need to promote something.
note* BCC this list so that you don’t create a back and forth with everyone which can lead to the purpose of the message being lost, or put a disclaimer at the top so every one knows its a group email.

Second Start close to home, talk to your actual network of friends and family. Take them to dinner, have a drink or a coffee, pick their brains about it. See who has a network already and can spread the word. And yes these maybe the very same folks you have just emailed, but the in-person interaction and the activity of drinks, coffee etc makes them more receptive and helps far more, as you can be more convincing in person or better able to discern if they can and will actually help.
note* Save your receipts, if your talking business your drinks, dinner, and/or coffee becomes tax deductible.
Also verify they don’t spam people’s walls either, they may be the source, but your product is still affected, this IS the World Wide Web after all

Utilize your fanpage/blog or profile. Very important here is to avoid using personal accounts. For example with Facebook use your Fanpage not your personal account. That way family pictures your Aunt just posted don’t over crowd your posts on your new book you just got published, or pics you just posted from last nights concert. Use that page or blog for posting all of your messages, and then from your personal account share the posts you make.  This is especially great to do on facebook because it counts towards your “People Talking About This” stats.  That statistic is one of the factors in Facebook’s search algorithms. In effect you want people coming to you and then sharing by their choice rather than you not giving them a choice in the matter.

Lastly if you have a budget, Advertise in a Cost Per Click network.  You want to pay for clicks not impressions. A click is usually from someone who see’s your ad and is actually interested in what your doing, which is far more likely to be an active and responsive fan.  Impressions though they are great, doesn’t mean it was actually seen, it may have just been on a page the viewer saw but never scrolled down to see the ad.  If your budget is limited then tags are an option.

Tagging organizations, persons or entities that may be involved in the project, or that the project covers is a great way to be associated with them and leads to secondary method of people finding you.  For example an E-zine about making Apple Pies would want to tag ‘apples’ anyone searching for ‘apples’, will see our E-Zine in the ‘similar results’ column or the ‘more like this’ column on search engines and social networks.  If said tagged entity sees your tag, they are highly likely to support it as it helps their efforts and doesn’t hinder it because your post is not above their most recent ones. Additionally in the case of facebook, this raises their ‘People Talking About This’ stat as well.  And if you drive their numbers they may ask to work with you.

This methodology though at first seems to be more work and more effort, but it actually lays a very solid foundation for you to build upon. Your much more likely to build strong connections with fans and potential partners, and have lasting success. Rather than being a lone gun spending exhausting hours copy pasting to peoples walls which depending on your project can garner some success or give you that 15 Minutes of fame success, but how many of us remember any MySpace made celebrity besides Tom?

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