Did your eyes boggle in wonder at all the strange social site icons the first time you loaded Affilorama's Social Snoop tool?
If so, you're not the only one! This is the first installment in a
series of blog posts where we will look at exactly what each of these social
networks are, the different forms of participation available, and what they can
do for you.
If you're curious about how a website is classified as a social network, then check out our free lessons on Web 2.0 sites.
In this post, we're focusing on video social media, and taking a closer look at YouTube and Metacafe.
Right now I'm sure some of you are shuffling nervously on your seats, thinking: ‘Videos?! I thought working online meant I could hide behind my computer!'
Well that's mostly true - and indeed as an affiliate marketer you can certainly make an income without revealing your face to the public. But, starring in your own videos and submitting them to social media sites can have some fantastic benefits.
Aside from quashing any suspicions that you aren't the real deal, making your own videos can quickly establish you as an authority on your given subject, and increase the level of trust between you and your target audience.
If you've watched any of Affilorama's free lessons or webinars with Mark Ling, consider how this interaction has shaped your beliefs about Mark, and how they might be different if you had never seen his face or heard him speak.
My guess is that these beliefs would be considerably different - at the very least you probably wouldn't know he was a New Zealander! At worst you might be more inclined to think he was just another charlatan hiding in the shadows.
Allowing potential customers to identify and connect with you on different levels can pave the way to customer loyalty, and amplify interest in you and your websites. What's more, you can embed your videos as content on your own website too.
Getting some screen time can take minimal effort on your behalf. YouTube and MetaCafe are two of the most popular social video sites on the net, and you can easily be a part of them.
Targeting micro-niches with YouTube
With an Alexa rank of 3 and page rank of 9, there's no way you should be passing on this baby. YouTube isn't snobby. They welcome videos of all calibers, for (mostly) all purposes. Users are uploading and viewing videos to stay connected with friends and family on the other side of the world; to learn about something of interest; to be generally amused or distracted... anything.
YouTube is so widely used that videos are uploaded at a rate of 24 hours of video a minute!
All YouTube users have a ‘channel' which effectively works as a profile homepage. Users can choose to subscribe to your channel if they find your taste in videos (both your own and other people's that you favorite) interesting and appealing.
Subscribers to your channel and YouTube friends are gold for affiliate marketers. By remaining an active user, you can easily keep these people interested. Plus you can also post bulletins that will be sent to your subscribers and show up on their home pages.
Can you see the potential? That's like getting subscribers to your email newsletter series! If you can keep your subscribers tuned in, you can easily feed them into your affiliate campaign, and expand your network as you go.
I'm interested in the links!
Don't fret, there are ample opportunities to nab links to your site and publicize your URL. Your channel homepage allows you to outline who you are, and include a link to your website. Links can also be placed in the description of any video you upload.
The rest is entirely up to you. The more you comment (relevantly) on others' videos, the more chances there are of other people clicking through to your channel, and seeing (and liking) what you have to offer.
Accessing a wider community with Metacafe
The name ‘Metacafe' connotes leisure, and to some degree exclusivity - something which YouTube does not. This is the important difference between Metacafe and YouTube.
Metacafe is an entertainment video site where community gatekeepers decide whether a video is worthy of being posted. Unlike YouTube, their focus is purely on videos that will entertain and appeal to a large audience - so you won't find a video by John showing off his new house to his son on the other side of the world.
The users have their hands on the driving wheel at Metacafe, as not only are videos first ‘auditioned' to a community of volunteers, they are also ranked and rewarded by the community of viewers.
I think this works cohesively to create a wider ‘meta' community to easily connect with, as opposed to the numerous micro communities you can find on YouTube.
Like YouTube, Metacafe also has ‘channels' instead of user profiles, giving you the same opportunities to post links and promote yourself and your website.
How to make good video content
Videos must be under 10 minutes on YouTube, and under 8 minutes on Metacafe. In fact, Metacafe says the average video on their site is just over 90 seconds long, and they encourage short snippets of this length. This is to cater for their audience who are looking for a quick pick-me-up or laugh.
How-to videos are a popular type of video, as are vlogs (video blogging). These methods can be great ways to turn casual viewers into avid followers, ensuring you retain subscribers to your channel. Keep in mind though that if you want to vlog on Metacafe you must keep it light-hearted and appealing to a general audience!
If you're not feeling particularly inspired with video ideas, then I recommend taking a peak in YouTube's creator's corner, which is packed full of tips for creating good videos on a small budget.
Remember that the content you create needs to entice viewers to subscribe to your profile, and/or to go to your website and find out more. This means your video content needs to be high value and contain no hard selling!
If you're not that keen on making and uploading videos, don't worry - YouTube and Metacafe can still be very useful.
By creating specially tailored playlists, favoriting videos of interests and contributing regular comments on others' videos, you can still create an active and appealing channel for subscribers without having to put yourself out there too much.
The key to using social media video sites is to keep your activity consistent - if your affiliate campaign is in the dog training niche for example, people are less likely to follow you if you're favoriting random videos that are not on this topic!
What are your thoughts on video social media? Got any tips or tricks for other members? Share them in the comments below.
Next time we will be looking at news aggregator websites such as Propeller, Slashdot, and Newsvine. Stay tuned!