The Good, The OK and The Bad….

Which social media sites are right for you and your business?  We recognize that a single approach to marketing will never fit all situations because every business is different. The greatest benefit of letting Socialty fulfill your online needs is that we can use our knowledge, skill, experience and talent to determine if certain sites do or don’t match your needs!

Several months ago, the online site CMO.com published its annual Guide To the Social Landscape. Each year the guide, which is published as a downloadable infographic, lists the major players in online social media and grades them on strengths and weaknesses that are important to companies wanting to leverage social media for advertising and marketing.

The 2012 guide features 14 social media sites – from heavy hitters such as Facebook and Twitter to lesser knowns like Quora – and grades them in four categories: customer communication, brand exposure, traffic to your site, and search engine optimization. To explain further, CMO’s list looks at the potential for a company to build business utilizing a site in each of those four ways, and then uses the simple grading scale of “good,” “ok,” or “bad.”

First I thought we might take a look at the sites that were graded “good” across the board. To my surprise, none of the 14 social media sites achieved that spread! That’s probably a great sign that CMO’s list is trying for fairness. While leveraging these sites can be good for your business, the use of each social media site has limitations when trying to manage your online marketing activities.

Four sites did achieve the high grades of “good” in three areas and “ok” in one. These are Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube. All four scored high marks in regard to customer communication and brand exposure. Facebook and Twitter were stronger in building traffic to your site, while Google+ and YouTube were more useful for search engine optimization.

I don’t think the high marks for those well known and recognizable names are shocking to anyone. A mild surprise was SlideShare – a site that’s rated very highly by CMO’s Guide To the Social Landscape. In its first year on the guide, SlideShare (which has been around since 2006) is called “an awesome communication method for companies” and “a great place to promote your brand.” It’s rated “good” for customer communication and brand exposure and “ok” for building web traffic and for search engines. Subsequent to the release of this year’s guide, SlideShare announced on May 3 that it was being acquired by LinkedIn. Business Insider reported it to be a cash and stock deal worth $119 million.

So far, the social media sites we’ve been discussing have all had two category strengths (communication and branding) in common. StumbleUpon comes from the other direction. In fact, it’s rated “bad” for customer communication. The guide states “reaching existing customers can be random and costly.” For branding, it’s “ok” with the site’s targeting praised for its accuracy. Cost, however, is a drawback. According to the guide, StumbleUpon is “good” for both building traffic to your site and for search engines. StumbleUpon is among those sites that are a bit hard to explain to non-users. According to Wikipedia, “StumbleUpon uses collaborative filtering (an automated process combining human opinions with machine learning of personal preference) to create virtual communities of like-minded Web surfers.”

Similarly, Digg is a social media site where its users submit an outside webpage, and then vote the page up or down (called “digg”ing or “bury”ing, respectively). This is done through voting on digg.com or by websites adding “digg” buttons to their pages. CMO’s Guide To the Social Landscape ranked it generally “ok,” but “good” for brand exposure, which is attributed to the opportunity for promoting articles via Digg. The guide pointed to declining traffic across Digg as its primary weakness.

Also among the social media sites that received mixed ratings:

  • Flickr was “good” for SEO. The guide points out that “proper optimization can rank well in Google Images.” Unfortunately “even with tens of thousands of views” very low click-through to your site earned a “bad” rating.
  • LinkedIn was also “unlikely to drive any significant traffic to your site” (a “bad”) but received a “good” for brand exposure, especially if utilizing its company page features.
  • Pinterest was rated “good” for brand exposure and driving traffic to your site. The guide suggests “Contests” for the former and adding “Pin It” buttons to your pages for the latter. However, this social media service was rated “bad” for both communicating with customers and link values decreasing, stating “Pinterest recently n0-followed its links.”
  • Quora was “excellent for communication with high-level customers” and sharing your expertise (a “good”) but the drawbacks include most traffic staying put on the Quora site and no-follow links (a “bad” and an “ok”).
  • Reddit was “good” for driving traffic to your site but the guide mentioned not to “try too hard and get banned.” It was rated “bad” for increasing your brand exposure as most of the content is from major news organizations. Plus there’s a problem with image attribution which knocked Reddit down to an “ok” for SEO.

Only two social media sites received fairly negative ratings in this year’s Guide To the Social Landscape: Delicious (“Not enough brand recognition to make [it] worth your time”) and Instagram (which received a “good” for brand exposure but literally doesn’t have ways to communicate with customers, drive traffic to your site, or a way to incorporate SEO).

Visit the Guide To the Social Landscape at:

http://www.cmo.com/social-media/2012-cmos-guide-social-landscape

Keywords: social media, online traffic, brand exposure, websites, communication, ratings, socialty, search engines, marketing, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, StumbleUpon, Digg, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Quora, Reddit, Delicious, Instagram

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