Social media only effective marketing channel if users trust: SES

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NEW YORK - With the recent surge in popularity in social networking sites, marketers are presented with the challenge of reaching out to these communities and gaining their trust when it comes to their brands.

Panelists at the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo's "SMO: Social Media Optimization" session yesterday highlighted the importance of tapping into social media.

"Show the community that you are a participant," said Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz.org, Seattle. "Build traffic from alternate sources and influence traditional media."

He also said marketers can control their brand and rule the search engine ranking pages.

"Gain link love," Mr. Fishkin said.

Social communities view search engine optimization as spam, when in reality it helps the communities grow and spread by creating content and contributing it.

SEO must be mindful of the community and must respect the establishment, Mr. Fishkin said.

He also stressed the importance of creating a successful profile.

Neil Patel, co-founder of Advantage Consulting Services, said marketers should not self-promote, add biased information, pay for votes, break community rules or spam.

"Marketers need to add tons of friends, participate, use great titles and descriptions, become a top user and submit their content at the right time," Mr. Patel said.

He told session attendees to "massage" their content.

Andy Hagans, strategist at Text Link Ads, uses social media to get trusted links for his clients.

"First it is important to know your client's weaknesses and strengths," Mr. Hagans said.

He said that titling is half the battle because most people vote or "bury" on dig, for example, without even reading the story.

"Just pretend they all have short attention spans," Mr. Hagans joked.

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