Sunday, June 3, 2012

Marketing Tip: Engage Your Online Community-Don't Abuse It

Here is a marketing tip that is presented by Rand Fishkin (@RandFish) of SEO Moz (@SEOMoz), and I got the idea from Bill Rice (@BillRice) of Kaleidico (@Kaleidico).

Bill Rice included a great post on his website:

Within his post, he included a video (about 13 minutes) by Rand Fishkin, which discusses Comment Marketing as an Inbound Tactic (Not SPAM).

For those who do want to take the time to watch the 13 minute video, here is a summary of his online marketing tips.
The Standard Method of Comment Posting

Many internet marketers know that leaving comments on people's posts can be a source of providing backlinks to their own websites.  The more backlinks from other websites that you have pointing to your website, the better it is for your website's ranking, generally.

There is a flaw to that approach, though.

The most common places to leave comments are within forums, social media posts, blogs, and articles.  There are other places to leave comments, but these are the most common.

Unfortunately, many internet marketers do not add value when they comment.  They might leave things, like...

"Thanks for a great post.  You really offer a lot of value.  -Chris"

Is a comment like that making the Internet a better place?

I admit that there are worse ways to comment, such as when I leave a comment that has NOTHING to do with the topic of the blog post, social media post, article, or forum post, and these comments are not always family friendly.

These backlinks that they leave on your blog boost their site and drain your site.

The better moderated sites will delete these kinds of comments, but most internet marketers do not really care, because they know it's a numbers game.  Many of their comments will get deleted, but many will remain and give them the backlink they really want--to help THEM, not YOU.

SEOMoz Rand Fishkin's Suggestion: Engaging the Community through Commenting

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz suggests that we will gain the greatest amount of leverage with our online marketing work is we engage the community, rather than spamming it.

Rand says that we engage the community through Comment Marketing through...
  • Building AWARENESS
  • Building TRUST
  • Building LIKABILITY
When you engage in Comment Marketing, your goals should be to...
  • Engage Other Commentors & Readers, because they tend to be Influencers
  • Earn the Attention and Awareness of Bloggers (who tend to be Influencers)
  • Build Community, which Inspires Reciprocity
  • Earn Guest Post Opportunities
Rand Fishkin emphasizes that you should not comment without adding value to the blog post, social media post, article, or forum post.

When you make spammy types of comments, you will build Awarenes, but you will not do good things toward other people Trusting OR Liking you.

He gives some tips about how to build your online brand properly ("Pro Tips").
  1. Use the same User Name and Avatar wherever you leave a post.  This builds consistency and increases your chance of having other people remember you.  (i.e. commenting on Facebook, WordPress blog, article, etc.)  It is even better if you are using an actual SMILING photo of yourself.
  2. Don't mindlessly agree with everyone's post.  A lot of people are afraid to "rock the boat" of people who seem to have major influence.  While it is true that some people become offended very easily, when you always "agree," you blend into the crowd--nobody will notice you.
    • However, when you disagree, you need to disagree RESPECTFULLY.  Make sure that you explain your position and do your best to leave the other person with some dignity.  Nobody likes to be grandstanded, but the best of us like to be challenged.  It means that you're paying attention, and you care.  Stay positive throughout!
    • If you disagree strongly enough, write your own blog post, and post the link to the comments of the original article, post, etc.
  3. Ask for permission before posting your backlink URL.  When you post links without permission, it could easily be interpreted as you only commenting to get the backlink--not add any value within the community.
    • Type in your link only partially, like (instead of
    • Ask for permission to post your link.  You are more likely to be appreciated, and you will be "endorsed" within that blog's community by that blog's author.
    • Give the blog post author the option to make it a "live" link or remove, if they do not think it's appropriate.
    • Focus on the fact that you think your link will help people who are there--not just simply being a link that mooches from their post.
  4. Target the right blogs and communities.  Find the blogs that relate and are considered to be more important blogs within that area.
    • However, blogs with fewer followers can really help you, too.  If you are the "big fish in the small pond," you can easily make a strong impression, because you are one of a few.  Many of these people will not only let you leave a link, but they also will become some of your strongest followers.  In other words, now many of these people are now considering YOU to be a person with major influence.
    • You are not looking for customers here.  You are trying to find people who have influence and might spread your word on your behalf.  (Influencing the Influencers, as Rand puts it.)
  5. Don't try to sell your products within your comments.  Showcase your content--not your products (or services).  You will KILL your credibility here, but if you provide valuable content, people will start to trust you.  Many of these people will want to learn more about  you.
  6. Don't use "SEO" or "Social Media" within your User Name.  This places you under immediate suspicion of spamming.  Since so many black hat internet marketers use profile names that include SEO, social media, or any other internet marketing buzzword, they become leary about trusting you.
    • Do a good job of describing what you do, but don't lean too heavily on using buzzword terms that make experienced people roll their eyes.
Do you use comment marketing as a technique for building links or building online community?  What suggestions do you have?  What do you think of Rand's suggestions.

I'd like to give a special shout-out to Bill Rice of Kaleidico for finding this video and posting it to HIS website.  Bill is really good about finding these resources, and he's really active within the Detroit online marketing community.

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Hey there! Thank you for taking time to read my post and share your thoughts with me and my other readers. I'm always tickled when I get a non-SPAM comment. Honestly, sometimes I'm even okay with some borderline SPAM.

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