Mike is an incredible partner, no doubt about it. But like everyone, sometimes he can be way off. Earlier this month, while reading his June earnings post, I got stuck when he wrote:
“To be honest, I don’t believe in social media promotion. They are good for increasing the number of backlinks but people coming from social media rarely stick around. Most of them jump from one site to another without reading much”
Am I surprised by Mike’s statement? Of course not. He has told me this over and over. However, up until now, he had kept this to himself. Now that he’s discussed this publicly, I’d love to hear your thoughts. To be fair, I think Mike was speaking specifically about StumbleUpon. If you have any type of website, you know that when a post starts getting stumbled, you can see visitors running into the website. The problem of course is that they leave with the same speed in almost all cases. You’d have to see the average time spent on our sites for StumbleUpon visitors… to say that they only stay a few seconds would be an understatement. That being said, I would draw two conclusions:
I think that some things can be done with SU traffic and perhaps with a better design, that would help new visitors quickly (very quickly!) figure out how to use TheFinancialBlogger, I’m certain that at least a few of those could become regular readers. A minority? Absolutely, but at least some of them. These users would also be ones that tend to share what they like, be social about their favorite links, etc. I see clear value in that.
It would be crazy to judge Facebook, Twitter and others as if they were the same as StumbleUpon. They are clearly nothing like StumbleUpon. I think Mike has got it wrong on social media however. To be fair, he is fairly active on Twitter and has been gaining a following. I think he keeps doing it because to some degree he doubts that social media is useless. And these doubts are well founded.
In my opinion, social media will be a growing part of TheFinancialBlogger. As the blog evolves, TFB is becoming a strong brand. Interacting with fans on Twitter, Facebook, and maybe eventually an iTunes podcast or YouTube video will only help make the brand even stronger. In the end, I don’t think it’s about seeing how many users are directly referred to TFB from these services. If users find out about TFB through these alternative ways, that will increase our presence, our influence, help us reach and help more visitors and eventually that will translate into revenues and profit.
I understand that it’s much more difficult to measure how someone who is following TFB on Twitter will have more interaction with us. This is so, especially when you compare it with SEO for example, which is so easy to measure (simply having Google Analytics makes it incredibly easy).
I’d love to get your thoughts on this… Am I all alone to think that Mike was way off to write that? I will eventually convince him to create a Facebook page for TFB and when I do, I hope it will give us one more example of how social media can help TFB. In the meantime, if you don’t already, please follow TFB on Twitter and share your thoughts here!
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