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Marketing a Social Network Website for the Inexperienced.

Marketing a Social Network Website for the Inexperienced

I’ve heard there’s a first time for everything and that has become an expression that occurs almost daily in my life. Throughout the entire process of making a reality it seems like I’ve ran into one obstacle after another. When everything you encounter is new it can be challenging, especially when you’re faced with tasks like leasing a server, registering a trademark, and choosing a web developer. If I’m being honest the toughest task I have faced so far is the one I’m still trying to get a feel for, marketing/social networking.

It’s not enough to have a professionally designed website with a creative concept. A great website without traffic is like owning a Ferrari that never leaves the garage. It’s real pretty and powerful but no one gets to enjoy it. The only real difference is that I wouldn’t want anyone driving my Ferrari while on the other hand I want as many people as possible to enjoy our website. So how do I drive traffic to our website? That is the question I have been constantly asking myself for the last month.

Before you get your hopes up I don’t have the answer as of yet, I’m still searching. However, I have learned a lot along the way. There are so many great resources to meet new people and to market your website. I have been playing around with several social networks, including StumbleUpon, Digg, and Blog Catalog to name a few. All three website are completely different, StumbleUpon is used to discover and share websites, images, and videos. Digg’s primary focus is news, but this can be a multitude of everything from videos, websites, or actual news stories. Blog Catalog is a great website to promote, share, and read about blogs and websites.

Rather than diving into great detail about my likes and dislikes of each of the three social networks I’m going to focus on the biggest similarities, genuine people and the pay it forward state of mind. The one thing I am a lot more conscious of is the fact that networking online is not very different from networking in real life. As a society we don’t like being bombarded with pushy sales or fake people. If you’re planning on marketing your website by sending out spammy messages and attempting to friend as many people as you can, you more than likely won’t get very far.

What happens when you politely ask a new neighbor if you can borrow some sugar? Unless they’re rude unsocial people they’ll kindly give you some sugar. After that first contact your new neighbor will likely be more apt to wave at you as you pass by and may even feel comfortable asking you for a favor down the road. Now, what would happen if instead of politely asking to borrow some sugar you show up pounding on their door demanding a bag of sugar? As nice as your neighbor might be, they’ll probably tell you to go F&*% yourself. Just like the real world online friendships/relationships aren’t built in a split second, it takes time to feel each other out and to build a little bit of trust.

So how do you politely knock on a potential new friend’s online door instead of beating it down? It is so very simple, you need to care. Anyone can come up with a load of bs and shovel it into a comment or shout. If you want to truly make connections and friendships you need to actually care about what you are reading. The law of reciprocity claims that visiting some else’s blog/website will result in them visiting yours. Just dropping by a blog may invoke someone to take a quick look at yours but what good is a quick look? What you really want is someone coming back, getting involved, and enjoying their visits. Being genuine will produce far fewer friends/connections but those that you make will be much more likely to actually want to help you.

I know there is a lot more to learn and everyone has their own approach to networking their blogs/websites but I am having a great time actually getting to know what I’m reading, if that makes any sense. I know from previous research that there are plenty of different views and goals with some people even claiming that you don’t really want people to stick around your site if you’re looking for clicks (advertising dollars) but that’s not the approach I’m looking to take. With, sure we want to make money but more importantly we want loyal users who keep coming back to have a good time and to speak their mind.

Ryan Kazinec

9 Responses to “Marketing a Social Network Website for the Inexperienced.”

  1. Building a dynamic website is a major challenge. As with your Ferrari analogy this traffic challenge is something everyone faces. I come up with 3-4 good ideas for sites/blogs a week but driving traffic to them is so difficult that I find the one that I am the most passionate about and drive full speed ahead. Using social networks with places like StumbleUpon takes time but if you have a great site (which this is) you will start seeing the residual traffic start flowing.

    I started with about 50 visitors a day and it jumped to 100 after a month of StumbleUpon people liking the content. Now, StumbleUpon brings in about 75% of the 7,000 hits of daily traffic and that really boils into a handful of the posts I have made. I would guess that the same rules apply to other social marketing sites. The key is patience and great content.

    Posted on by: Koka
  2. […] concept. A great website without traffic is like owning a Ferrari that never leaves the more | digg […]

    Posted on by: Marketing a Social Network Website for the Inexperienced |
  3. I’m not great at driving new people to my site. So far it’s a lot of my friends and co workers that like to hear stories about my kids… ok I just think they like to hear stories about my kids. That’s my problem. I wish I could give you a solution. I could tell you how to get glue out of your dogs hair if that helps.

    Posted on by: betty
  4. I know what you are going through, I have the same problems my self, been a rookie in the blogging world and gaining experience with all those social bookmarking sites out there…. One thing I’ve learn so far is you need to find the right one…as you said above they are all different and each one has a different community, what is popular in one site might not be in the other.

    Posted on by: Workout Planet
  5. Thank you all for the stories and suggestions,

    Koka, It is encouraging hearing about the success you have had and continue to have utilizing Stumbleupon. I’m a newly regular reader of your blog and it’s easy to see why you’ve been successful, very well written and interesting content. It looks like patience is a virtue I will have to continue to work on. As they say nothing happens overnight, but it would sure be nice if it did.

    Betty, It would seem like the only solution is persistence and quality content. Trust me, I have two dogs and learning the best way to get gum out their hair would be some very valuable content to me. I have a great(scary) story I could share about Rachael (our jack russel) deciding she wanted to eat two packages of brownies.

    Workout Planet,
    Thanks for the great advice. I can definitely see the value to finding the right network and running with it. I just don’t know if I could let go of any of the three socnet’s I mentioned in the article. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people on all three of them.

    Thank you all for your thoughtful comments!

    Posted on by: bigkazzyry
  6. […] I have faced so far is the one I’m still trying to get a feel for, marketing/social networking. Read the rest… (link to No Comments, Comment or […]

    Posted on by: Marketing a Social Network Website for the Inexperienced.
  7. […] Social Networking/Marketing from a Rookie’s Point of View. […]

    Posted on by: New Years Super Link List 2008 | Koka Sexton dot Com
  8. Like all of you, I too, have started a blog. Mine is a professional blog centered on design – and the blog’s purpose is to get others to contribute info, links, knowledge, etc – basically to grow a community knowledge base of design. I’ve found so many useful tools out there that helped me drive traffic. Though, I’m not anywhere near 7000 hits/day, I have managed to go from about 5 (from myself) to about 200 in less than 2 weeks. Along with social networking sites, I researched SEO and applied it to WordPress. I have also utilized the huge personal network I have on facebook by installing a free plugin that posts everything from my WordPress blog to a facebook application page. Most of my hits come from this. I also have a “sharethis” bar for each post which I utilize to re-post the posts (redundant?) into facebook and twitter. Finally, since it is a design blog, I offer quite a bit of free stuff (icons, buttons, graphics, etc.) that is free to use so long as the users link to my site. It is great to see the ad revenue coming in ever so slowly – haven’t even made 10 bucks – but there’s still a reward knowing that people like your content and will keep coming back. If anyone has any questions about the stuff that I’ve mentioned, please visit my blog ( and send a message (shameless plug, I know) and I’d love to share what I’ve learned. In fact, sharing knowledge is what I’m attempting to do with my blog. Great post, great topic. Take care!

    Posted on by: Ben
  9. […] Social Networking/Marketing from a Rookie’s Point of View. […]

    Posted on by: Koka Sexton dot Com

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