The Internet has really changed how we can be heard without really being physically seen. My company has done a bunch of influencer intelligence ecosystem research studies in the competitive intelligence domain and I get constantly questions from my clients how and what they should do to be heard in the cyberspace. If you are a software vendor and want to play in the cloud area, you’d better create a strong strategy how to be heard.
Let’s first analyze what you can do and what type of people you should try to attract to your web-site or blog. I recently run into an interesting blog entry by SEOMOZ that lists the main types of influencers that you should be interested in. They are as follows and SEOMOZ calls these for Linkerati:
- Bloggers – this is the main group of influencers that you want to attract. Bloggers not only drive traffic, but they also influencer others.
- Forum posters – people that comment in forums but according to SEOMOZ, these entries does not necessarily drive traffic from search engine perspective like bloggers would. This group is still very important target group for you to attract.
- Web News Writers – these are the writers that people follow on different topics such as Mary-Jo Foley from ZDNet “All about Microsoft” blog. Mary Ann tracks Microsoft and what happens inside Microsoft.
- Content Creators – people that maintain web-sites and seek valuable resources to link to. This is extremely useful as many people link their own sites to these sites and search engines like this kind of link building.
- Resource Editors – people at government institutions, non-profit organizations and educational establishments that add content to web-sites.
- Social Taggers – people that add links using Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit and other similar services.
- Viral Connectors – influencers that e-mail, use Twitter to send links and posts of different topics.
- Journalists – Online or offline content creators and if you get linked to Wall Street Journal, New York Times or other similar sites, the traffic to your site will skyrocket.
I am still running to executives in companies that do not realize that they have to be present in the cyberspace whether they want it or not. The new generation of workers expects the management to have at least some type of clue what social behavior in the Internet means and the tools including software has to reflect this as well. If you are working in the software area and still ignorant of Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other similar services means that you are ignoring the marketing potential that the Internet brings to the table.
If you do not have a strategy in place how you want to appear in the social media world and if you social footprint is zero, do not expect that to change overnight. As with everything in life, to achieve something, you have to change your behavior and if you do not actively engage yourself in the cyberspace, you will not be heard nor do you maintain your status in services such as Technorati.com and similar services that ranks your social influence. If you want to learn more about Web Monitoring, I recommend the book by Alistair Cross and Sean Power Complete Web Monitoring: Watching Your Visitors, Performance, Communities, and Competitors. The blog entry from SEOMOZ did not address the “community” concept, which is a key area for software organizations in their efforts to build an ecosystem. This was also evident in the recent Nokia and Microsoft announcement for a broad strategic partnership between the two companies. Nokia is betting on having a third-party ecosystem building key applications around the Windows Mobile phone and bring the competitiveness back to Nokia against Apple and Android ecosystems.
Building social connections in the cyberspace takes time and will take a tremendous effort. Social connections are earned on trust and that is something that people tend to forget. If you want to learn more about influencer intelligence, there is quite a few books about it such as Robert B. Cialdini’s book Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition) or Duncan Brown and Nick Hayes book Influencer Marketing: Who Really Influences Your Customers.
For you to be successful in increasing web-site traffic or digital footprint, you have to proactively change you behavior and identify the influencers that you want to propagate your message in cyberspace and you will eventually increase the awareness of you, your solution or product or whatever you happen to represent. It takes time and you have to be patient and consistent. It is like with everything in life. Without persistency, you won’t achieve anything.