The Internet gives people the freedom to find what they want, and communicate with others all across the world. When running your online marketing campaigns, do not forget the power that people have! Not only are they your customers, but they can also be a source of fresh ideas, content, and advertising to help spread the word.
Here are five social marketing strategies you can use, all of which rely on people power:
1. Get content ideas from blogs comments and forums
Are you ever stuck for great content ideas? This happens to all of us from time to time, but luckily, you can harness people power for some awesome content ideas. Blogs and forums provide a fantastic opportunity to put your finger on the pulse of a niche community and discover what the people want to hear about.
If you run your own blog that gets comments then read these carefully to see if any trends appear. For example, if you have a blog about American muscle cars, and comments keep appearing about sourcing hard-to-find parts; why not write a blog post all about this? Content doesn’t come much more targeted to an audience than this.
Forums are also useful for finding fresh and exciting content ideas. Look out for threads related to common problems or concerns, and then write articles on your own website or blog that address them. Here’s a little tip – once you have created these targeted articles, promote them on the forums you got the ideas from in the first place.
2. Add a forum to your website
You probably already know how important fresh content is for SEO and getting high search engine rankings. The theory is very clear, but putting that into practice is difficult as creating fresh content takes a lot of time.
What is the solution? Add a forum to your website! Let other people build a community on your website that generates its own fresh content.
The search engines generally seem to love forums. They are places where things stay fresh, and where other users usually remove spam and poor quality content.
The benefits of adding a forum to your website are clear:
- Constant supply of fresh content to tempt the search engines
- Keeps visitors coming back to your site over and over again
- Great source of content ideas for your main website
- Build up trust with your audience
- Develop an active and responsive community
3. Social bookmark & network the “right” way
Social bookmarking is an effective way of getting your websites and pages indexed and building some basic links, but 99% of marketers seem to be using it incorrectly.
People tend to go into social bookmarking with the wrong mindset. It’s not about what you can take, but instead about giving the people what they want. If you provide what the people want then your chances of being republished, Tweeted about, shared on Facebook, or blogged about sharply increase.
So, what is the “right” way of doing social bookmarking and networking?
Create and share engaging content that is:
- Emotionally charged
Submitting normal niche articles to social networks and bookmarking sites is not what you should be doing.
Some examples of content that is more likely to go viral on social networks include:
- Quirky or amusing videos
- Articles that entertain
- Technology or politics related stories
- Environmental news
- Breaking news
- Content with strong emotional elements
The adage of “bread and circuses” works well for social networking and bookmarking. The majority of people want entertainment or information that is easy to swallow. Provide this on social networks and bookmarking sites and you will be in a prime position to profit.
4. Use Wikis on your Site for User-Generated Content
If you want more user-generated content then consider adding a Wiki to your website. This means that you can have a section on your website where visitors can come, register as users, and then add, remove, or edit articles.
There are a number of different Wiki platforms available; options are there for static website users and those of us who like to build sites using the Wordpress platform. In fact, Wordpress makes adding a Wiki very simple with the Wordpress Wiki Lite plugin. You might also want to read this guide to installing a Wiki on a normal website too.
The benefit of running a Wiki, or having one installed alongside your main website, is that you can get lots of fresh content easily. Search engines also tend to look favourably on Wikis as the “poster-child” of Web 2.0.
There are downsides to running a Wiki, however. Firstly, there will always be people coming to spam your Wiki with links to their website. The most famous Wiki of them all, Wikipedia, suffered so much from this problem that it changed all outbound links to “nofollow” to discourage link spam. Problems can also develop with moderating Wikis, as disputes between moderators are common.
A good compromise is to register another domain in your niche, get hosting, and then build a Wiki on this website. As traffic and links start coming in to the Wiki you can link through to your main “money” site and reap the rewards.
5. Building Trust & Boosting Reputation
Perhaps the biggest benefit of leveraging people power in your marketing is the way that you can build trust and boost your reputation with your target audience. Part of the power of the Internet, especially Web 2.0, is that it allows a closer relationship between writers and their audiences.
Think about “traditional” forms of media like television or radio – beyond writing in with a suggestion or letter of complaint, it is almost impossible for the audience to communicate with the broadcaster. There was a famous sociologist, Jurgen Habermas, who summed this problem up nicely. He said that the structure of modern mass communication imposes a “don’t talk back” structure on audiences.
This is bad for both parties, as this one-way relationship creates issues of trust. How can you trust if you cannot make your opinion heard?
Trust is also hugely important on the Internet. If your audience trusts you then they will be more likely to buy based on your recommendations; they are much more likely to recommend your site or service to others; they will keep coming back for more.
How do you get your online audience to trust you?
Implement technologies and strategies that revolve around people power! Here are some examples:
- If you haven’t already, add a blog to your website. Let comments and discussions flourish, and take the advice of others to heart.
- Provide actual contact information. This is a huge part of building trust with your readers. Give them the opportunity to contact you in person if they have any suggestions or queries. At the very least, have an email address for your website that you check regularly.
- Recommend quality products. If you are promoting products as an affiliate, make sure they are of a high quality and actually offer value to the customer. You will soon lose the trust of your audience if they discover you are promoting poor quality products, just for the sake of making a quick buck.
- Add a suggestion box to your website where visitors can suggest improvements to the website, or new content they would like to see.
- Always offer value. Many marketers seem to forget that there is a big difference between value and price. A $5 eBook might have a low price, but if it contains nothing useful then it actually has no value. Always go above the expectations of your customers to deliver value, even if you are selling something with a high price tag.
Today you have learned five effective ways to leverage “people power” to boost your marketing efforts. If you can harness this then your online marketing business will take off. All the SEO knowledge in the world is useless if people don’t actually want to do business with you. Make use of people power, however, and you will open the gateways to massive profits and happy customers.
I'd love to hear your "people power" marketing success stories - just leave a comment below! Likewise, if you have any questions you want me to answer about using social marketing, drop a line and get the discussion started.