5 Reasons I Used To Suck At Social Media

Social Media PuzzleSocial media got you baffled? Feel like you’re missing a piece of the puzzle? I used to get mad at how much my site sucked at getting social media. Interestingly, it didn’t take that much change to be able to increase my results exponentially. In the last few months, I’ve gone from getting almost no social traffic to regularly having 3,000+ visitor spikes. Here’s what I was screwing up before my breakthroughs:

1. I didn’t write about other people. One of my biggest breakthroughs was when I wrote “Top 7 Internet Marketing Mentors You Can Trust” which was an article that revealed seven outstanding internet marketing minds that were also trustworthy. I did this primarily because I wanted to let them know that I respected them – Darren, Maki, Andy, Bryan, Yaro, Wendy, and Daniel are good people and do a lot for the internet marketing community. I also knew that goodwill goes a long way toward building a mutually beneficial relationship.

A result that I did not anticipate was that it was my most successful traffic generating post I’ve ever written. I didn’t have this in mind when I wrote it, but Stumblers went crazy over it. I would imagine that the group I talked about Stumbled it and it spread like wildfire.

Muhammad Saleem, who is a top 5 Digger and killer Stumbler has talked about the importance of linking out – here’s a quote from a post he wrote on this issue:

i’ve realized certain benefits of linking out (beyond linking in or out just based on search engine algorithms and for seo purposes). by linking to other sources you can either use them to back up your own argument or provide your readers with another viewpoint to consider and come to their own conclusions. this helps your reputation as an author and makes you a more complete information source

2. I only used one social network. I thought that Digg was the way to go, so I tried everything in my power to hit the Digg front page. Ironically, it’s quite difficult to hit the Digg front page if you run an internet marketing site so that was mostly a waste of time. I then migrated to StumbleUpon and thought that I was an instant Stumble superstar, until my votes stopped being as effective – I bet that’s happened to you!

All the sudden I realized that other people use more than one social network, and that getting exposure in one will get you exposure in another. One very interesting side effect of using Blogging Zoom (explanation of Blogging Zoom here) is that the people getting to the front page are doing very well with StumbleUpon. There are some very active Stumblers on BZ. I would recommend picking two good social networks (most of you are going to want to forget about Digg) and pounding it out.

3. I ran too many ads. As most of you know, I ran Kontera for a while and used to run Adsense within my posts, in fact you can find Adsense in most of my old posts. I can tell you right now that this crippled my social traffic tremendously. If you’re going to try to hit the Digg front page running Kontera in a post – you can forget about it. If you want to hit the front page with Adsense inside the post, it’s going to be a lot more difficult. This doesn’t mean you can’t run those ad-types, but it does mean that you can’t run them on posts you want to do well socially.

4. I only promoted my own content. With StumbleUpon, this worked great the first three or four times and then guess what? The well ran dry. StumbleUpon is smart enough to know when you’re doing this and the effectiveness of your self-voting goes down quickly. What did I have to do? I attracted Stumblers to my site by Stumbling their content.

I’m not a selfish person, but in retrospect I can see that I was acting very selfishly. I’m becoming a lot more active Stumbler now and what do you know… my site kills it on Stumble. As many of you know, we created Blogging Zoom to allow you to promote your own content. Guess who’s getting the most traffic though? The people that are actively zooming and visiting the most sites. Call it karma – people will vote for you if you vote for them.

With almost every social voting site, your vote becomes a lot more powerful the more you use the service. If you only vote on your own stuff, your votes are going to be worthless. With Blogging Zoom, some of you are only zooming your own work – why should I zoom your work if you only zoom yourself? Some people are killing it and they are the most active and unselfish zoomers.

5. I rarely used images. Many social network users will be more motivated to vote for, zoom, digg, stumble, and sphinn your work if it contains good illustrations and/or images. Once I took Adsense out of my posts and started adding relevant images, my social traffic started really blowing up. I think I first realized this ‘reason for sucking’ when I ran “Top 7 Internet Marketing Mentors You Can Trust“. I decided to leave the post without ads as a gesture of good will, so I came up with an image instead. Without question the image helped the post to do well.

Implement Change

Making a few small changes in the way you approach social media can make traffic fall from the heavens. On the other hand, if you use the same ol’ methods, you’ll get the same results.

Comments 53

  1. You’ve hit a few points that I have noticed in the last week, Court.

    Up until Saturday of last week I had never used any social networking Web sites. I never really “got it”. Five days later, my blog has received nearly a 1000 visitors from Stumble, Blogging Zoom, Digg and Reddit and yesterday I received more visitors in a single day than I did in the whole of October.

    The thing I immediately noticed was you’re much more likely to get 1,000 visitors from Stumble than you are with Digg. Digg might be bigger and you might get massive rewards if you hit the front page, but getting anyway near the front page is incredibly hard compared to having a successful campaign on Stumble.

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      I agree 100% Jamie. StumbleUpon is going to be more useful than Digg for almost every blogger and website owner.

      I’m so glad to hear that you have been having so much success with social media. If there’s anything I can do to help you with BZ please let me know!

  2. Excellent post Court. I started using social media sites about three weeks ago and have noticed a big improvement in traffic to my site.

    I try to set aside some time each day and interact with fellow bloggers by commenting :), stumbling other sites I like and checking out/zooming the latest posts on Blogging Zoom. It is definitely worth the time because: you get traffic, develop relationships and discover some great new sites/posts.

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      One thing that has been great about Blogging Zoom is that I have been able to find some really talented people that are now on my radar.

      Sites like flickslists will only do better and better on BZ as the audience grows. I’ve already seen some very interesting stuff that you’ve submitted and people will continue to catch on to that.

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      Well said Fred. It means more coming from you as well, because you are actually following that advice. There’s no doubt in my mind that your traffic will grow and grow – I know this because thanks to BZ I see more of your work and you are one of the best so far at becoming part of the community there.

      You’re well on your way without question.

  3. Excellent points Court. I have some insights to share with regards to StumbleUpon. I also noticed that the traffic dropped off completely to my own self-submitted posts. However, I am lucky enough to have visitors that stumble most of my posts for me now.

    However, what I found is that when I started using SU as an actual *social* tool – ie, adding friends etc, the traffic really increased. I don’t really know why it is but I don’t actually stumble all that much, I think I’ve only stumbled around 500 pages but last month I had something like 8000 visitors just from SU.

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      Thanks for your insight Caroline! You said something that struck me – I’m lucky to have visitors that stumble most of my posts…

      I don’t know if it’s luck! It’s definitely good fortune, but from what I know of you, you’re probably helping them out as well. It’s good karma coming back to you.

  4. Images are one thing I need to add on OpTempo. I didn’t use them much in my 200 post blogging blitz but now that I’ve slowed a little bit I should start using them regularly.

    You’re right, participation is the key. The more you stumble/zoom/digg/etc the more you get in return.

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  5. Hey Court,

    I believe that I’ve made the same mistakes as you in the past. That’s why I also sucked. I’ve fixed all those mistakes and getting traffic from Stumble and different networks. I get 20 times as much traffic with StumbleUpon than google which is my second best traffic referral.


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  6. Social Media is still a mystery to me in some ways but like you I made the rookie mistake of just submitting my own posts.

    Big mistake and like you said very selfish. I have since learned my lesson and am spending quite a bit of time stumbling and submitting other posts.

    The funny thing is once I stopped doing this to get more traffic but to help others get more the whole thing seems to have taken out a reversed role?


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      Hey Monika!

      I guess the whole key is making friends with the right people. You don’t want to make friends with people that never take care of you – you want the kind that offer sort of a partnership. If you’re always promoting for people that don’t return the favor that won’t do any good either!

  7. I have found that posts that link to other often get the most traffic like you say. It does work.
    I am trying to work on Stumbling other sites more.
    Blogging Zoom will be something that I spend time on also.

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  11. A good article post Court. I haven’t really done much social networking wise, i’m focussing more on the SERPS (13/14 for “make money online” atm so creeping up) perhaps I’ll focus more on the social media stuff.

  12. I have basically forgotten about Digg, as it hasn’t done anything for me at all. Blogging Zoom has brought a great amount of traffic to my posts, even archived ones.

    I’m a huge Stumbler, and it helps a lot if you happen to be the first to discover and review a post.

    I agree wholeheartedly about using images, they really add style and finesse to a post.

  13. I just found your site today and the posts I’ve read (D-list, backlink superstar, making blog profitable and social media) are really informative. I might as well go active again with social networking. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  14. Hi Courtney,

    Excellent post. you enlighten a lot of mystery concerning social media and give us some ideas how use those social networking site the right way. i guess it shows that good community with strong bond could still live, prosper and ease some hardship. that could be what law of attraction mean.

  15. like the way you have put it together.. one more thing i would like to add here is also using a microblog, over and above using a SNS – Pownce, Jaiku… any one – it surely helps!!

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  18. I’ve always had more trouble with SEO than social media traffic to be honest with you. I’ve always loved StumbleUpon but at times have found Google to be my biggest enemy, haha!

    This is a fantastic post, Court! I will definitely be including it in my next roundup. Keep up the good work.

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  20. I’ve never had any success on Digg to speak of. StumbleUpon always does well if you’re lucky enough to get stumbled.

    And now we have BloggingZoom which is really taking off for myself and a lot of others as well.

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  23. Liked the information court, especially about talking about other people.
    Always hate in post ads wherever I go and don’t understand why people use them as they’re really annoying!

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  26. Hi Court,

    I’ve been trying my luck with social bookmarking by blasting my articles and pages to social bookmarking and scuttle sites using Bookmarking Demon.

    Haven’t noticed a significant spike in my traffic, though. Do you have any feedback on this software? Does it really work well? I don’t know, I may not be using it the right way.


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