Eeking out every bit of water from the marketing stone can prove to be difficult, specifically as it relates to Social Networking.  After conducting a bit of a “free marketing” research campaign over the last week, I have learned a thing or two about what is relevant and what isnt. There were some surprises along the way, and some huge time-wasters, but its my opinion that with a little bit of elbow grease anything is possible.

Over the last 7 days I have looked at hundreds upon hundreds of social networking sites. I won’t be posting my opinion on all of them, I’ve chosen the top 5.

Facebook: Facebook has brought sweeping change to the way we communicate. I would liken it to the jump from the written word to email. Daily, we are able to check in with everyone we know simply by signing in and making a few mouse clicks. That being said, is it relevant to SEO? There are many camps on this issue, most at completely different ends of the spectrum. The simple truth is if you can spread the word about an article, or a site to everyone in your list and everyone in your list does the same, I would say that is a win. Being able (for free) to reach that many people willing to actively participate in the social marketing of your business is incredible. 10 years ago advertising firms would have killed for that kind of exposure, now its common place. The caveat here is to be careful what you post on your personal page. Pay very close attention to the fact that one cannot be without the other, your business represents you, and you represent your business. You can view us here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Framingham-MA/Gaveltek/150211681660748#!/pages/Framingham-MA/Gaveltek/150211681660748
Twitter: AHHHH Twitter. Who doesn’t enjoy trying to break down complex thoughts and URL’s into tiny 140 Character (careful with that punctuation!) blip on the web radar screen. My question is, outside of some very basic and fleeting link-building, is it worth the effort? I had to consult the magic 8-ball on this one, as my normal “checks and balances” were drawing a complete blank.  The magic 8-ball had this to say “ask again later”. The idea here is to place relevant information at the fingertips of people who choose to follow you, or if you’re lucky enough someone will brush past it on the homepage and decide to investigate. This can end two ways; 1. complete disregard 2. a click through to your website or blog. I would not suggest spending hours a day doing this, but a few posts in the course of a week is not going to hurt.
despite the middle of the road opinion, you can follow us on twitter here: Http://www.twitter.com/gaveltek.

Blogger (by Google): I love this site. I love what this site offers you as a person with an opinion, or as a business with a service to offer. Blogger is relevant, it allows you to post content, and if you use Feed Burner or the like, make RSS magic happen. Not to mention it has a direct line to the almighty Google algorithm. The format and design are optimized for speed. You can add widgets (who doesn’t love saying that word) and lay them out without having to be a coding genius. Do I need to say more about the benefits? Linking back to your site, your other social networking accounts, adding relevant articles (such as this one) are all homeruns. Blogger, you are fantastic. Check in with our blog here: Http://gaveltek.blogspot.com

LinkedIn: Everyone is scrambling around trying to get their networks established, to get themselves “connected” to other like minded people. I have never seen anyone benefit from these “connections”. However, I dont have access to the amount of B2B sales conversions that have occurred because of LinkedIn. I can personally say that its awesome to have a complete corporate profile out there, and its also fantastic to be able to post information on your profile pertaining to your business. But to me, LinkedIn is the Chamber of Commerce for the web. Everybody has to be part of it, but it really amounts to nothing in the end. You can see our corporate profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/companies/gaveltek?trk=copro_tab%22

Edit: The Twitter component of LinkedIn actually compounds the relevancy of both sites. I upgrade LinkedIn from a maybe to a yes.

Tumblr: Tumblr is a blog site on steroids. You can call in an record voice messages (think Podcast via phone) post quotes, links, articles, the list goes on and on. There is no limit the amount of information this bad boy can handle. The downside of Tumblr is you have to pay for some functionality. Because of the things it can do with your information, it is a relevant blog site for your company. I’ll need to compile more data before I say it’s a homerun, but it’s looking like it might just be. Check us out here: http://gaveltek.tumblr.com/

So that concludes my social experiment. Be mindful of keyword stuffing, redundant content, and the fearsome reciprocal link. Google will quickly decrease your page standings if it sniff’s anything nasty in the wind. Keep it on the up and up. Here is a link describing what Google believes to be suspicious behavior from SEO firms:

Google Guide To SEO Firms

Additionally for your reading pleasure, here is a helpful link regarding 7 Steps to SEO Success:

7 Steps To SEO Success