Social Media: Weathering the Storm

Social Media is considered the future: the connection between companies and their customers; individuals and their families; work and work colleagues. It comprises the traditional web sites, personal and company web blogs, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and a wealth of different forums covering every subject imaginable. Social media, in which ever form may be chosen, is the ideal communication platform to get a message across, the highlight new products or just to chat and publish the latest news. Everyone who partakes dreams of riches, of countless followers, of comments and discussions without end.

The Internet, platform of all modern social media, has a downside as much as many advantages. It can be used for propaganda in all religious and political directions as much as a source of information without the need to show exactly where information stems from, who is providing the information or what the end result may be. It is a medium filled with faceless people as much as a medium which brings the unknown out and shows who they may be, who they claim to be. Modern technology allows most users to see exactly who they are conversing with but, at the same time, it allows users to hide themselves behind a faked identity, behind stolen or falsified photographs and images. It allows the creation of multiple identities, none of which may be the person using the systems available. It allows, above all, commentary and conversations, comments from anyone and everyone.

Being a mass media, the Internet also brings people of diverging interests together who, in their normal social environment, might never have met, never have found others with the same interests. It also brings the lower level of society out into the open, masked or with faked identities, and allows them to give full vent to their beliefs, their frustrations, even their sexual urges. The end result, for an ordinary person or a company, can be the Shit Storm.

The term is reputed to come from Korea. Here a woman was seen allowing her pet dog to defile public transport. She refused, it is said, to clean the mess up and was photographed. The photographs and information on this woman was then placed in the Internet and went viral. Her personal information was discovered, including the social media she used, and the Shit Storm began.

A Shit Storm is a massive attack through comments on a post, a blog entry, a news report or similar. It is always negative and can take on massive proportions, with hundreds if not thousands of negative, critical or even abusive comments being posted within a short period of time. Examples of minor Shit Storms can be seen on major news sites such as Yahoo, where comments are open and anyone can create an identity and then post at will, without any form of moderation. The Storm can be organized or simply brought about by one or two people publicizing what they have read and gaining the attention of others. A simple post on a controversial subject, a photograph where it appears animals or children are being abused – in a mild sense – right down to open support for an unpopular theme can bring the first entries. Once the Storm escalates it is almost impossible to end, until the next web site or blog becomes a target and interest fades.

The end result of a Shit Storm can be the loss of standing in the community or, for companies whose business relies on the Internet, a loss of face and prestige which, I the worst cases, can damage the bottom line; sales and public relations.

At first glance it is impossible to weather such a storm. The comments posted are continuous and mainly anonymous or untraceable. A Shit Storm can result, through overload, in a Denial of Service, in a web site crashing or, in milder forms, in the server slowing down under the pressure of clicks and views. For private individuals operating a personal web blog it can also result in severe psychological problems, in stress and health problems.

Is it possible to weather a Shit Storm or use it to your own advantage?

For private individuals the solution is simple: comments should be set to moderate and anonymous commenting disallowed. Comments which are pure abuse and contain nothing of use or relevance should be deleted and, where possible, the sender blocked from creating more comments. A good spam filter is also recommended, as some abusive comments come from semi-professional Trolls – people whose sole aim it is to create problems, to create abuse with the help of others who do not necessarily see the whole picture but are caught up in the flow. Comments with relevant content can and should be answered, but in a conciliatory tone, with an explanation and further information if available. Any form of abuse or the use of insults should be avoided at all costs. It is important to remember that a Shit Storm is not necessarily personal, and comments about the blog owner, their family, lifestyle or beliefs should not be taken to heart. Many people write without a great deal of forethought and seldom consider the consequences of their actions for others. The ability to leave a subject or topic alone and move on is a sign of strength, not of weakness. The ability to admit a mistake is also a sign of strength and should never be under-estimated.

For news services, where an open forum for commentary and discussion is vital there are few remedies. Riding out the storm means ensuring that new articles and reports and published. The comments section of a particular news item or report can be closed after a set period of time, to prevent further abuse. This policy should be employed throughout the entire site, however, and not limited to one or two items: singling out specific posts or news items and closing down the ability of readers to comment may result in the discussion being taken elsewhere, where the proprietors have no control over content.

For business web sites a set period of time for comments to be added should be included throughout the site as a matter of policy. Comments and the ability to comment should be moderated and anonymous commenting disallowed. Where a misunderstanding has caused a Shit Storm the facts of the case should be laid out clearly and concisely and specific comments may also be answered in a calm and conciliatory manner. Any form of abuse, insult or similar should be avoided at all costs. Articles which have brought a Shit Storm down upon a web site should be carefully checked to see exactly what has caused the problem, and lessons learned for the future. It is one thing to have a mass of visitors clicking through to a site but quite another to have them leaving with a bad impression.

It is possible to weather a Shit Storm so long as each comment is viewed calmly, each reply is made with care and due attention and nothing personal against the people making the comment is allowed to intrude. It can, for a business, take a good deal of time and patience but, handled correctly, but will show an interest for those who have made comments and bring a more personal and acceptable face to what may otherwise simply be a faceless company or business selling itself in the marketplace.

Top 10 Best Ways to Get Social Media Traction For Your Blog

Writing effective blog posts that get you traction often is something that puzzles the small business owner. While it’s not brain science, it does take a little time to get the hang of it. Once you get a system down for writing and editing, then it gets easier with time.

Here are our top 10 best ways for you to get more mileage out of your small business blog:

  1. Write an effective blog title. Your blog’s title is its billboard. It is what piques peoples interest enough to stop and read it. Don’t be vague – blog titles are no place for story lines. If it takes people more than a glance to figure out if it has any relevance to them, then you’ll lose your target audience. Quick.
  2. Write with enough substance but not too long. Ideal blog posts are 350-500 words in length. They can be shorter or longer. If shorter, be sure you’re covering your subject with enough detail. Sometimes posts that include photos or videos can be shorter as far as number of words is concerned. If longer, be sure you’re making enough new points within the article that you won’t lose your reader, or graphically break up the copy with photos, bullet points or numbers as we’ve done here.
  3. Add a call-to-action. We usually prefer that the post is closed in some way, either with contact info to get more information or a next step for your reader. Don’t just leave ’em hanging, as if the post writer was lazy and left an unfinished piece. Your readers are looking for you to sum up your points in some way or lead them to the next step so they don’t have to guess at your intention.
  4. Review your keyword list. All blog owners should be working with a keyword list that includes 5 main key words or phrases that you want to really own in the search engines, along with other keywords that are relevant to your content and what your target audience is searching for. Revising your blog posts to ensure a proper density of your main key words as well as any ancillary key words or phrases is critical to your blog’s success. Tip: If you do not have a keyword / keyphrase list, don’t write another post until you create one! This is critical to your blogging success!
  5. Ping your blog. Be sure to ping your blog each time you post new content. This helps the search engines to know to look for updated content on your blog. Technorati, the search engine designed for searching blogs, is still valuable as is using Weblogs.com.
  6. Blog Communities. Taking the time to list your blog in popular blog directories not only helps you gain new followers by making your content appear elsewhere but increases your search engine rankings because these sites have more SEO power than your site by itself. One of my favorites is NetworkedBlogs, which integrates directly with Facebook. NetworkedBlogs keeps a ranking of the top blogs in each city based on local followers so it is particularly important for local businesses. Other blog directories we feel are a must are BlogCatalog, Blogged and MyBlogLog.
  7. Blog post sharing. It is critical to make it easy not only for your readers to comment on your blog but also for them to share it. Popular sharing services such as ShareThis, which also provides results tracking, and TweetMeme make it very easy for others to share your posts with their audiences.
  8. Outbound links. Can’t tell you how many blog posts we see that utilize zero outbound links. Blog posts aren’t book pages so don’t treat them that way. The whole idea is that your post provides an interactive experience and a way for people to learn more about a company, product or service that you mention in your post. Plus, it’s just common courtesy to refer out because that is exactly what you want others to do for you. But don’t overload — a few resources is all you need.
  9. Write well and often. Ideally, you should be posting two to three times per week on your blog. More often if possible. Google, Yahoo and Bing tend to find your blog easier and more often when there is fresh content posted that includes your blog’s main key words and phrases. Building repetitive use of keywords and phrases over several entries, plus creating a history or backlog of posts (duration length) aids your overall ranking. Always add relevant photos, YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations or other graphics to make your posts more visually appealing.
  10. Tag you’re it. Don’t forget to take the time to include your category and post tags for each and every entry and be consistent with matching the tags to the post itself. This includes the custom title tags, meta description and meta keywords.

Effective blogging can take time but it’s worth doing if you’ve made the commitment to your blog. If you have created guidelines for your blog’s content, including your keyword list, then you can have guest bloggers add content if frequency of writing is a problem for you. If you own a small business, appoint several people to be part of a blogging team so that you as the business owner don’t have to be responsible for creating all the content. Or sometimes you can find a virtual assistant or intern to help write and/or edit and post with the proper tagging sequences.

Online Marketing Method Strategy – Social Media and Bookmarking Network Promotion

The perfect net marketing method plans are becoming much more reliant on social media and bookmarking promotions. Probably the most crucial aspect of any net marketing plan is deriving traffic to your excellent content material. Having all the knowledge within the world on a particular subject and spending a great deal of time crafting an excellent series of articles, does you no good for those who don’t have any eyeballs seeing it.

This is where social and bookmarking networks turn into beneficial and must be a main portion of any traffic blueprint for the on the internet endeavors. The perfect portion of this marketing method is that traffic that you just create is highly targeted. Individuals are looking for you out and it comes at small or no cost.

Social media in common will be the on-line equivalent of the old common face to face networking. In standard networking your primary purpose is to meet individuals who can give you opportunities to meet new individuals to expand your centers of influence. Through give and take you will be ready to impress others of one’s competence and information, although building a mutual relationship by providing worth.

On-line networking is no distinctive than any other sort of classic marketing apart from it really is carried out on a grander scale. Your universe of people today in a specific group is significantly larger. People who obtain your articles beneficial have a tendency to look forward to read you, together with recommend you to others simply because they perceive worth in what you’ve got to say.

Unlike a conventional marketing method your time isn’t restricted to just a handful of groups that you can come to be involved in. You’ll find literally thousands of various social networks with distinct variations of demographics that a single article or video will be broadcast to.

The very best strategic world wide web marketing plan must incorporate social and bookmarking promotion. Social networks are an awesome, free solution to get traffic to your on the net business or weblog. The cost you pay for this traffic is your time which can be rewarded greatly by people who spread your content material virally throughout the internet. Often those who are active inside the social network will check out their groups regularly inside the identical manor that a person offline will go to the corner coffee shop to see what is occurring within the neighborhood.