For the last two centuries media publishing houses have controlled the flow of information to and from people. Media giants such as News Corporation and Liberty Media control large media distribution networks across the globe which distributed news and informational content. While the effectiveness of these media giants will only grow if they effectively use the internet, social media has opened up the door for anyone to distribute their content, ideas and information on a global scale.
This is one of the reasons social media and social media marketing are such a big deal for many people and businesses. The social web is also great for people and their freedom of speech and information. Social media sites like Digg, Twitter and Google+ give you the ability to quickly share or syndicate content from your blog or website and broadcast it the rest of the world. Unlike traditional media the users of the social web choose which articles are the most interesting by submitting their feedback and effectively voting for the content. The more users vote for a piece, the more traffic that article will get under typical circumstances.
What is great about this system is that the best content typically goes to the top of the pile. The web is so large that it is very hard for social media marketers to manipulate the amount of votes they need to get their sites to the top of social media syndication before they are caught and banned. Of course as you would expect when the stakes are high many people try to game the system on sites like Digg. It’s fair game too with a first page listing on Digg bringing anywhere up to 200,000 unique visitors a day. Sites such as Slashdot have had a similar effect leading to the spotlight overnight for some websites and e-businesses.
Even though very few good products have been created for social media marketing to help companies wanting to promote their websites and content there have been some good free tools like Social Bookmarker and AddUrl. Most webmasters and internet marketers have had to use spammy software or consume time submitting their content to all the relevant sites. In 2008 a product called Traffic Android was released that automates the time consuming sign up and submission process to social websites. Is was meant to be the first of many such helpful tools that entered the market however, other such tools have been few and far between and the good ones incredibly expensive.
The ability for webmasters to rapidly distribute their content and information is an extremely powerful benefit of web 2.0 and the integration of social media with social networking is another step to marking powerful web content syndication a reality. There are tools than integrate Twitter feeds with Facebook news feeds which is extremely powerful and perhaps the most intelligent tool ever invented. This means not only can you almost instantly distribute your content through social website networks, you can also post a link and short snippet about your content on Twitter and have it syndicate through your friend network on Facebook or vice versa.
While social media marketing is still a very new phenomenon, I hope this illustrates the impact it can have on your website. As the medium evolves and better search and syndication technologies and rich media grow it’s power can only increase. My tip is it’s better to get involved sooner rather than later to go through the social media marketing learning curve before hundreds of thousands of other webmasters get involved and big media companies come in and start trying to buy up all the major social websites.