“Communities can build amazing things but you have to be part of that community and you can’t abuse them”. Jimmy Wales (Co-founder of Wikipedia), Keynote Speech South by Southwest Interactive 2006.
Social Media Optimization (SMO) or more appropriately named (in my view) Social Media Marketing (SMM), is becoming mainstream.
The term social media is a broad concept that describes the many applications that allow individuals to communicate with one another and to track events across the web in real-time such as Digg, MySpace, YouTube etc., and social networking refers to the exchange of interpersonal information through these websites.
Using social media as a marketing tool is rapidly becoming more popular as companies realize that they need to get in front of their prospective customers wherever they may congregate online.
The most important thing to remember is the quote from Jimmy Wales above in that you must become part of the community before you can effectively use the community.
If you haven’t already you should begin to become familiar with the SMM space and prepare for the future. To that end I suggest you spend time on the sites below to see which may be most suitable for marketing your company products or services.
When you have a short list designate someone in your company (or do it yourself) and build a reputation within the chosen communities. Then (and only then) will your future SMM efforts be consistently rewarded.
One tip to start with, choose a username that is associated with your company and if you are active in more than one community use the same username in all of them.
Just click on the logo to visit the site, there are 55 of them.
ThisNext is a communal consumer site for users to talk about the lastest must have items. Gadgets, fashion, products for the home etc., all chosen by the ThisNext community.
Crowdstorm users recommend products and write comments about them, and the best items bubble up to the top.
When users see an item on the web they are interested in they hit a bookmarklet and Kaboodle will automatically grab the image and relevant information from the page. Users can also explore what others are bookmarking and comment on their choices.
The Stylehive is a collaborative shopping community where contributors can work together to share and discover the hottest stores, designers, trends, and must have products.
StyleFeeder is a way to find, share and keep track of shopping stuff online using visual bookmarks.
DEALigg users post the best deals they find on the net and the rest of the DEALigg community vote whether or not it’s a great bargain. Based on the open source CMS Pligg.
Hawkee is a social network of active developers and consumers who share an interest in technology. Topics range from video games to PHP scripting.
ShopWiki helps users find specific products and combines web crawling technology with consumer written wiki buying guides.Social Shopping
Where 50 million active MySpace users meet and keep in touch. Includes blog, forums, email, groups, games and events.
Bebo is a huge online community where users can share photos and blogs, draw on each others white boards etc., etc.
Multiply provides blogging tools, hosting photos, videos and music etc., etc. to share with contacts based on your real life relationships.
LinkedIn is a network of business professionals from around the world representing a wide range of industries.
Facebook is made up of multiple networks, each based around a company, high school, college or region.
Vox is a hosted social blogging service where users connect through privacy controls, design templates, publishing tools, photos, videos and online neighborhoods.
Facebox is a social community of more than 10 million young people in Europe with pictures, blogs and a guestbook.
Flickr lets you upload photos and set privacy levels. Users can comment and tag them and there are public special interest groups.
Zooomr is a geotargeted photo sharing application in multiple languages.
Tabblo photo sharing where users can make postcards, posters and even a book.
Twango users can upload and share all forms of media including photos, videos and audio.
Pickle users can organize and share photos and videos from cameras and mobile phones.
Webshot users can upload photos, videos, post messages and download photos onto their desktops or phones.
The BubbleShare community can show off their story-album and vote on the best new albums.
ImageShack has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface and users can share pictures with friends, as well as post images on blogs and message boards.
News and Social Bookmarking
BlinkList users bookmark, tag, store, share and discover each others favorite sites.
StumbleUpon uses ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality and when users stumble they see only pages which friends and like-minded stumblers have recommended.
Users of del.icio.us collect their favorites which are shared and organised with tags.
Trailfire users place a ‘trail mark’ on a page with their comments or notes and ‘trails’ can be followed by anyone.
Digg users submit stories which are then voted on by the digg community. Hugely popular and with an army of dedicated Diggers.
Netscape is similar to Digg but not so technology oriented and dare I say it, for a slightly more mature user.
Explode lets users connect to all their friends from any of the social networks by using a search term or interest tag to find others who share their interests.
Reddit content is submitted and voted on by users with no apparent subject bias.
Gotuit users can bookmark or “deep tag” specific scenes within an online video.
Users of eyespot can edit and combine their videos, photos and music then share them by email, blog, download or cell phone.
vSocial is social networking for the video platform where compilations of multiple video clips can be incorporated into a single video reel.
Motionbox users upload, organize, enhance, and share their personal videos.
If you are a film director, film maker, or production company you can submit your short to BlipTV.
Ifilm is a video network serving user-uploaded and professional content.
StupidVideos is a viral video website dedicated to humorous and off-the-wall videos.
Revver users upload their videos and share in the ad revenue.
Metacafe mines the collective wisdom of its audience to surface the most entertaining videos.
YouTube the major player in the users video market.
Sports and Fitness
Takkle is a social network for high school sports where users post photos and videos, share stats and schedules.
Sportsvite game management tools allow users to keep track of stats, future games, send out email invitations and maintain their schedules.
UltraFan is a community and social networking site for sports fans.
FanNation has all the sports news and allows users to blog, comment and communicate with other sports fans with their interests.
Last.fm records what users listen to and then based upon their tastes they can find artists, radio streams and other users with similar taste.
MusicHawk is a social network for music fans who can submit their own bands for inclusion, enter tour schedules and upload MP3s.
Splice users can upload or record sounds, make songs, listen to other user’s songs or make remixes with other members of the community.
Project Opus allows bands to self-publish their music and get paid for the sale and licensing.
ReverbNation users (artists) have profile pages and can target email to fans. Fans have profile pages and playlists.
YourSpins is a community for remix fans who share their mixes of top songs and rate and comment on other mixes.
RapSpace is a global hiphop community with artist uploads where users can rate and review the talent.
Users of iLike have free downloads from emerging artists and social links to a community of other music lovers.
MOG automatically builds users a web page that displays their music collection and real-time listening stats without them having to type it in.
Noisetap is the new kid on the block and uses the Digg model but for music.