Pushing the River: Social Signals and Influencing the Stream in Real-Time

Pushing the River: Social Signals and Influencing the Stream in Real-Time

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Welcome to the new and improved world of social sharing. Where our tweets, pluses, and updates are now driving new results in Google’s page rank algorithm and search engine results. So if’ you’re not incorporating social media and social sharing into your marketing plans, you’re leaving a lot of eyeballs and free traffic on the sidelines for some other company to pickup. The social sharing market has been heating up lately. And companies like Buzzfeed are capitalizing on the gold rush of clicks and likes and shares.

But what does social sharing mean to you and your online business presence?

Are you generating content for sharing on the web? (This is called content marketing.) And the goal of that content development and sharing is traffic to your page. (Also known as inbound marketing.) And then there’s this practice of social sharing. We’ve been talking about it for a long time, but it seems Google is really ready to step up and give social it’s respected place as a signal for valuable content. The concept behind it is this: if a piece of content on the web is shared repeatedly by a lot of people it is probably more relevant and valuable than a piece of content that is not getting any shares. Makes sense to me. And it makes sense to the new Google, so let’s see what we can do to influence the influence stream of clicks.

I did this 2 minute video a while back to get at the concept of social sharing: Social Marketing Strategies: Thinking Beyond the Page (VIDEO) But there are some new tools in our toolbox these days that we should look at.

Sharing buttons and sharing systems.

I use Sociable on this blog, and those little sharing buttons at the bottom of every post are supposed to make it easy for people to share my content. And of course, if they are sharers it does. But for the most part those share buttons are for ME. Once I have finished a post, my work is only partially done. The rest of the job is making sure I have the relevant keywords highlighted in the post, as keywords, or as tags. And then I share it on all of my networks. I’m the catalyst. I can get the sharing started. But of course it ends with me if I don’t get any traction from my own sharing network.

One of the cool things about being a content generator is you get to see a lot of different responses to the various topics and titles of the content you create. For example, put “cloud” in the title and you’ll get a negative response. (My take away: “cloud” and “cloud computing” are terms that are so over used they are actually turnoffs.) And then on some random day a term like GTD (for Getting Things Done) will be a hit and a post will go from an average of 100 – 200 views a day to 500. And the social love may continue for several days. It’s all about the topic, the timing, and the people who choose to share and reshare it. See, once you’ve put the content up, and done your part to socialize it, you’re done. Most everything else is up to your network.

I cannot amplify a post that isn’t trending. But… When a post begins to show sings of being a hit, there are plenty of things I can do to boost the momentum and hopefully turn a day-long spike into a week-long spike.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 12.25.19 PMHere’s what this type of momentum looks like. Two days ago a GTD post I wrote took off.

Those measurement lines are in 100’s. So I had a post that caught fire and few days ago, and the following day it did even better.

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There was an echo post that started trending along with the viral post. And in my attempts to launch the post skyward I started doing a bit more social sharing the second day to build “signals” for my audience and if I’m on track, with Google.

Real-Time Analytics

Now while this post didn’t take flight as a “viral” post, it did give me a weeks traffic in two days. Not bad. And with a little more social love from a few big influencers this might have been a hit. The point is, if you’re looking at your analytics only once a week, you’re going to miss the microtrends and these daily opportunities to boost a post that is ready for boosting. And while Google Analytics has a real-time tab now, I really like Gaug.es. It allows me to see all of my sites at once, and identifies the top 5 posts and top 5 referrers. These are top of mind considerations that I check-in on several times a day. If I see a signal I do what I can to ignite the interest. (see: Real-time Analytics for Social Media Marketing )

Finding the Tiny Signals

The last interesting way to use social signals is to watch what’s happening in your long-tail content. Those hundreds of posts on your site, are your inventory. When one of them suddenly pops up on the analytics radar with 3 or more reads, even if the content is months old, it’s a good idea to socialize the micro-signal. Why not? Maybe some news story has broken and your post is being picked up as an authoritative post on the subject. It’s best if you let the social web determine the random posts to boost, and micro-signals are the way to go.

It’s a sharer’s market out there. Influencers are being paid these days to share your content. And the best way to get started is to share your content yourself, and when you get a boost, thanking the influencers who retweeted or reposted your content. And when something starts going skyward, you can do a bit to help that lift. Ultimately the true viral lift is a function of timing, timeliness, and some potentially huge influencer or site that picks up your content for republishing. But you’ve got to be found by that influencer or site in the first place, so share and share alike. Then do your part to share content from others that you find informational and solid.

It’s a sharing world. I’m doing my part. How about you?

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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