Social Media Syndication

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If you’ve ever contemplated a social media marketing campaign then one of the first questions that came up was how to best distribute your message.  There is a myriad of small social media properties out there and you can spend a lot of time trying to manage all of them.  Many Social Media Marketing professionals will thus choose to focus purely on Facebook and Twitter for this reason.  But as you start to consider the quality signals from social and how those can benefit your SEO efforts, it seems almost a shame not to take advantage of it. And meanwhile there are companies like Know’em who offer package services to create profiles for you on literally 100s of social properties.  Is your head spinning yet?  :)

I decided to take a middle-ground approach and focus on 12 properties which seemed to be the more well-established ones and that I was able to sew together a reasonable syndication scheme for.  After reviewing all of these properties I found a class of social media that specifically provides for syndication to other properties.  Ping.fm is the one that I particularly liked, but you’ll also find that HootSuite, Dlvr.it and a few others do the same, but with varying lists of properties they integrate into. 

Below is a diagram of what I ultimately came up with:

Social Media Syndication

The full list of social media properties I’m able to reach this way are:

  • StumbleUpon
  • Ping.fm
  • Facebook (fan page)
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Tmblr
  • Blogger.com
  • WordPress.com
  • Plurk
  • Jaiku
  • Delicio.us
  • FriendFeed

You can see the UML actor at the top which represents the social media manager (SMM).  Their responsibility is to originate and propagate the social media message.  Rather than logging into all 12 properties, I was able to reduce this to only 4 properties.  First and foremost, they need to manage the frequent blog posts.  I consider this the primary broadcasting point from which they should be originating the message.  When a blog post is published, it will automatically post to 11 properties via Ping.fm, including Ping’s own board.  The two curious exceptions to the syndication scheme are Twitter and the Facebook FanPage. I’ll explain those in a moment.

If you look at items contained within the dotted line area, those are the 4 items that the SMM must interact with directly:

  • Primary Blog – originate the message
  • HootSuite – manage the Tweet Stream
  • Facebook Fan Page – direct supplement of message
  • StumbleUpon – Important but no API for syndication

The blog, as mentioned, is the primary point from which the message originates.  HootSuite is a nice way to augment the primary message and manage the Twitter channel.  Here, you can see what’s gone out, monitor Twitter responses and syndicated retweets by syndicating out from HootSuite to Ping.fm.  As for the Facebook FanPage, the primary syndication of those blog posts will make its way through Ping.fm but I think its important to reinforce that syndication with some direct messaging on the Facebook Fan page as well, which is why you’ll notice a minor stub included in that group.   And finally StumbleUpon is included here because for many media types, it has become the most effective social bookmarking utility, but it hasn’t opened up its API for syndication, so it needs to be managed directly.

Interestingly, the reason I post directly to Twitter from HootSuite and suggest reinforcing your message directly on Facebook, not just syndicating, is due to filtering issues.    Recent studies of Facebook’s Edgerank filtering has shown that some delivery methods are far more likely to be filtered out of user’s news feeds.  Here were the bottom line findings:

  • HootSuite – 69% reduction
  • TweetDeck – 73% reduction
  • Sendible – 75% reduction
  • Networked Blogs – 76% reduction
  • RSS Graffiti – 81% reduction
  • Twitter – 83% reduction
  • Publisher – 86% reduction
  • twitterfeed – 90% reduction
  • dlvr.it – 91% reduction
  • Social RSS – 94% reductions

As you can see, syndication schemes do seem to get less visibility than direct posting on Facebook, likely due to spamming issues, etc and thus why you should reinforce your Facebook fan page message directly.  This ensures your message gets through but will also help improve your overall edge ranking for the fan page.  Indecently, the above statistics are partly why I chose to use Ping.fm instead of Dlvr.it. Dlvir has a great reputation as a very usable syndication tool, but its filtering level is the second worst of the group studied!