Three Phases of Social Optimization

Three Phases of Social Optimization

Onsite Optimization – Social Buttons are CTA Buttons

Why do it?

Why should you care about where your social buttons show up? For the same reason you care where you place your buy button on your landing pages; optimal button placement leads to higher conversions, whether the conversion in question is a fresh share of your blog content or product page, or a new Facebook Fan or LinkedIn group member.

In this sense, social buttons need to be viewed as calls to action. Find places on your pages that are the most visible and drop your social buttons there. What works best for your readers? Scrolling sidebar? Above and below the posts? All of the social buttons or just a select few? Test it and find out.

How to do it:

There are several ways to go about testing your social button placement. I’ll suggest a few here for you to start with, but feel free to expand and investigate alternate methods. If you find any good ones, let me know in the comments!

  • Use heat/click maps to see where your visitors click. Use a service like CrazyEgg to see where your visitors are lingering on a page and then place your social buttons accordingly. Once you’ve got your buttons in a spot that you think will convert well, run another click map to make sure you’re getting the focus on those buttons!
  • Just because the new button placement worked on a blog post doesn’t mean that it will work on a product page. Test your button placement and track the social action over a number of new posts and pages to see which works best.
  • Get creative with your social button placement. If you find that it converts best in the top-left corner, try putting the buttons in a scrolling sidebar. Or, if above/below the posts works best, make it a scrolling footer or header. Do users click social buttons at the bottom of posts rather than the top? Have your buttons pop up in a dynamic window once they scroll past a certain point in the post.
  • As always, only put social buttons where they make sense; you don’t want to pull people away from the final steps in your checkout process so they can look at your Facebook page. Buttons that allow you to share should be placed in locations that will attract more visitors: product pages, blog posts, the homepage, testimonial pages, etc. As a general rule, the further down the marketing funnel you go (IE: the closer you are to a conversion), the less you want to include social buttons.

While you’re testing your button placement, be sure you’re adhering to basic A/B testing practices. Don’t put too many social buttons on your site. For me, I’ve found that placing three key sharing locations works best for me. It’s like the holy trinity of social sharing.

But don’t take my experience as law; test your site and see which works best for you. If you overload your page with social buttons, your conversion rate will drop significantly. As a general rule, don’t put social buttons on your page for networks that you yourself are not active in. If someone shares your article on Orkut, you’ll never know and you won’t be able to engage with them.

2. Profile Optimization – Your Profile is a Landing Page

Why do it?

Your profile is how people find you. Several social tools making their way onto the scene are mining your profile to find topics you’re influential on, for example, Followerwonk. Examples of people who have increased their fans or followers abound. Rand Fishkin, well-known co-founder of SEOmoz, increased his Twitter follower accrual rate by just changing his profile picture.

Beyond the profile picture, your bio and description are critical to attracting new fans and followers. Whether it’s your Twitter bio, your Facebook fan page description, or your LinkedIn group’s description, you’ve got to make sure your description attracts new people. Optimizing your profile increases the likelihood that you show up higher in the search engines for the keyword you’re targeting (as should be obvious for anyone working in SEO). If your potential follower finds you through Twitter’s proprietary search engine or a fan runs a basic Google search to find sites in your niche, having a profile that is optimized for the correct keywords will help you show up higher in the results. Easily identifiable interests in your profile attract targeted followers.

How to do it:

First, before you can gather any quantifiable results, you’ve got to establish a baseline. Monitor your profile’s performance for at least two weeks and tally your follower/fan/member accrual rate. Now try modifying your profile (changing logo, profile pic, etc). Do keyword research, just like you would for any other piece of content you’re trying to promote on the web. Monitor your accrual rate for another two weeks. Repeat ad nauseum.

A sure way to alienate potential followers or fans is to stuff your bio full of strong and identifiable keywords. Limit yourself to two or three that describe what you do, what you share on, and what they can expect to see. Steer clear of overused phrases like “[subject] ninja/guru/expert” in your bio. Tell your fans what you do and allow them to decide how good you are at it. This may be more subjective than the other points here but hey, test it and see what works best for you!

3. Sharing Optimization – Sharing Content IS Content

Why do it?

Knowing when to say something is as important as knowing what to say. Sharing your best content when none of your followers are online to see it is just as useless as throwing spam to a crowd of followers. Using tools that identify when your followers are most commonly online and optimizing the time at which you share your content can increase conversion, reshare and retweet rates.

How to do it:

There are several tools out in the wide world of social analytics that can help you identify when to share to get the most impressions and reshares/retweets. Use tools like Tweriodand Crowdbooster to find out when your followers are online and tweet accordingly. You can schedule updates via apps like Timely and Buffer. If all else fails, you can simply post an update at the right time (crazy, right?).

For other metrics, like how well a share converts based on length of the update/share, employ some good, old-fashioned Excel data tracking. Rand Fishkin (again) found that, for him, shorter updates yielded higher clickthrough rates. What works best for you?

While you’re testing, though, be sure you don’t spam to test conversion rates. There’s no quicker way to lose followers and fans than to blast the link over and over in different formats. In the linked page above, a survey found that 66% of Twitter users would unfollow someone for spam sharing, and 58% would unfollow someone if they appeared automated. Space it out, get some friends to tweet variations of your message and see which does best. Automating your profile will also get people to block/unfollow you, so don’t completely automate your sharing.

The Four Cardinal Rules of Social Optimization

  1. Social buttons should be viewed as call to action buttons, and just as important as getting a user to click a buy button.
  2. A social profile is a landing page.
  3. Sharing content IS content. Optimizing your content doesn’t stop when it’s published, you’ve got to make sure the copy associated with what your sharing works too.
  4. As with all testing, you need significant traffic numbers to quantify significant results. Ideally, your testing pages should see a total of 1,000 visitors over the testing period to make any informed conclusion.

Credit: KISSmetrics

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Social Media Infographics

Social Media Infographics

The explosion of social networking sites over the past decade has facilitated a transformation in the way we communicate with each other. Here we look at some of these communities with over 1 million users, both active and defunct:

Social Media Infographics

Facebook’s World

Facebook is the most dominant brand in the world of social media. Ever wonder how? Click the image below to view a comprehensive infographic:

Social Media Infographics

Age Distribution on Social Networking Sites

Here’s some interesting statistics regarding the age distribution across many of the popular social networking websites:

Social Media Infographics

A HubSpotter’s Guide to the (Social Media) Galaxy

Learn how marketers should explore new frontiers of social media, the blogoshere and more:

Social Media Infographics

Digg vs. Reddit — The Infographic

There has always been a form of healthy rivalry between Reddit and Digg, and its respective user bases. Click to find out more:

Social Media Infographics

Average Age of a Facebook User? 38

The demographics of most of the social networking sites change quite frequently. Flowtown has compiled the latest statistics about general usage of social networking sites especially Facebook. The statistics show that the average age of a Facebook user is 38 and more interestingly about 61% of the Facebook users are above 38 in age:

Social Media Infographics

How are Mobile Phones Changing Social Media?

Have you ever wondered about the relationship between mobile phones and social media? The mobile web is growing at an exponential rate, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down:

Social Media Infographics

Social Media Demographics: Who’s Using Which Sites?

Have you ever wondered which sites attract the most educated of social media users, or those that pull in the highest income? Below we map the demographics of the world’s most popular social media sites:

Social Media Infographics

How Executives are Using Social Media

The infographics mentioned below show how executives and professionals are using social media to promote their business or goods and services. According to the infographic: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social media sites used by the executives:

Social Media Infographics

Facebook vs. Twitter — A Breakdown of 2010 Social Demographics

Let us take a look at a breakdown of 2010 social demographics between Facebook and Twitter:

Social Media Infographics

Women and Social Media

The following is a graphic that takes a look at what sites women are using, as well as how much and why women are participating in social media:

Social Media Infographics

Facebook vs. Twitter

Facebook was once the “contender” against MySpace. That didn’t last too long, but soon Twitter emerged as a pseudo-social-network-competitor-thingy to Facebook and the competition heated up again:

Social Media Infographics

Social Media: A Cheat Sheet

Are you new to social media? Are you unsure about how to engage your audience via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the rest? Here’s a handy infographic that doubles as a roadmap of the social Web:

Social Media Infographics

Facebook: Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

If you ever want to impress anyone with your knowledge of Facebook miscellanea, below is the ultimate cheat sheet in the form of a very large infographic. Enjoy!

Social Media Infographics

The Social Media Effect

This Infographics is intended to show you how different components of social media are integrated with one another:

Social Media Infographics

When Social Media Attacks!

What happens when communities don’t exactly behave the way we intended them to? Fighting and bickering is normal and actually healthy for communities. Click to find out more:

Social Media Infographics

Google’s Social Media Timeline

Google hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to social media attempts. Long story:

Social Media Infographics

Social Media Prisms

The prism shows the landscape of social media in Germany with all the relevant conversation channels:

Social Media Infographics

Social Media Building

So much discussion in the SEO community today centers around social media because of its potential to drive traffic, increase awareness, and build links. Here we explore some ways that a business can leverage specific social sites to achieve departmental goals:

Social Media Infographics

China’s Social Media Map

The major players in the U.S. social media world can be counted on one hand: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn. Not so in China, where the country’s 300 million online users have a panoply of popular social networks to choose from — and Facebook doesn’t even crack the top 10!

Social Media Infographics

Twitter Perceptions of Google Buzz Over Time

Social media monitoring and analytics company Viralheat put together this graphic that shows the initial positive response to Google Buzz on Twitter, followed by shifts in opinion based on events in the developing privacy story:

Social Media Infographics

The State of B2B Social Media Marketing

For a deeper look at the current state of B2B social media marketing, check out the infographic below:

Social Media Infographics

Are We Too Obsessed With Facebook?

Is Facebook an amazing connective medium? A plague that preys on the easily addicted? A little bit of both, or something else entirely?

Social Media Infographics

The Meteoric Rise of Twitter

Twitter is one of among those brands and companies which have experienced such a fast growth. Click the image below to view the infographic:

Social Media Infographics

Facebook Privacy: 6 Years of Controversy

Here is a short history of the controversies and missteps that have tarnished the social network’s otherwise meteoric success:

Social Media Infographics

The Biggest Brands on Facebook

In this infographic, we explore the timeline of brand-friendly updates to Facebook itself, as well as the brands that dominate in Facebook marketing today:

Social Media Infographics

Kevin Rose’s Digg

With over millions of users, Digg has become one of the most reputable force in the social media world that allows you to share your favorite stories online with your friends, co-workers and relatives:

Social Media Infographics

The Current State of Twitter

There are some interesting hidden truths about Twitter and its users. The following graphic takes a look at Twitter’s path to 10 billion tweets, what we have learned about its users and what they’ve been talking about along the way:

Social Media Infographics

Twitter on Paper

This infographic contains additional interesting facts about Twitter based on some numbers that co-founder Ev Williams announced at the Chirp conference:

Social Media Infographics

What the Tweet?

Every day, thousands of stories are passed around the internet on blogs and via Twitter. Click here to find out more:

Social Media Infographics

How are Companies Leveraging Social Media?

Ever wonder how big businesses are leveraging social media? Here is a graphic illustrating the most interesting of their findings:

Social Media Infographics

The Rise of Facebook Mobile

Facebook is the number one app across most mobile operating systems. Flowtown.com took a look at the rise of Facebook mobile, and compiled a number of the most interesting facts and figures in the above graphic:

Social Media Infographics

44% of Online Sharing Occurs Through Facebook

Impressively, 44% of shares occurred through Facebook in 2010, up 33% from last year. That number does not include shares done via Facebook’s “Like” button, which means the actual, universal percentage of shares through Facebook is likely higher:

Social Media Infographics

Inside the Political Twittersphere

Ever wondered how politicians use Twitter? Who are the most active politicians on Twitter? Who do they follow, and who follows them? Who are the political strategists and media personalities that politicians follow? And within the political Twittersphere, who follows the most people, and who follows them?

Social Media Infographics

Twitter Users Profile Infographic

Satire and the Internet make great friends. And the newest Internet sensation to be targeted is Twitter. While many blogs make fun of twitter you must admit Twitter does have a larger group of followers. Of course, how many are actually paying attention remains to be seen:

Social Media Infographics

History of Social Media — History of Social Media Bookmarking

Social media has become an integral part of modern society. There are general social networks with user bases larger than the population of most countries:

Social Media Infographics

Social Marketing Compass

A compass is a device for orientating oneself and guiding physical direction. The social marketing compass points a brand in a physical and experimental direction, allowing them to connect with their customers, peers, and influencers, where those users already interact and seek guidance online:

Social Media Infographics

Social Web Involvement

This map demonstrates the social web involvement of the users worldwide. It provides you a clear picture that every month hundreds of millions of web users create and share their content with one another. This map shows the active bloggers, social networkers, video sharers, photo up-loaders and micro-bloggers:

Social Media Infographics

The Biggest Shift

The Biggest Shift tells the significance and extent of social media network. If you are keen to utilize word of mouth advertising, social media is there to assist to place heighten your works at all. With focusing your marketing interest to the top social networking websites, you will see the instant results of your efforts:

Social Media Infographics

How People Share Content On The Web

This infographic will show that how people share pieces of contents on the web and how facebook dominates social media:

Social Media Infographics

Top 10 Ways to Effectively Use Social Media

There is no doubt that social media is a vital component in internet marketing, visibility, and branding. However, when done incorrectly, it can actually become detrimental to your company. Here are my top ten ways to use social media effectively.

1. Identify Your Purpose – Your social media strategy should be a stand-alone plan which requires nothing else to sustain it. Your plan should not aspire to improve your search engine rankings, as there aren’t usually many backlinks that come from it. Approach your social media strategy as if there were no such thing as search engines. Some things you may want to consider in identifying your purpose include:

  • Branding – Start building a strong brand for your company!
  • Exposure – Give your company and website some visibility!
  • Networking – Get involved in the community and make connections!
  • Relationship/Trust Building – Potential clients are more likely to become actual clients when they have a relationship with you and know they can trust you!
  • Customer Relations – Use social media to build good, solid customer relations!

2. Fresh, Consistent, Relevant Content – Make sure there is a high level of consistency in the content you share on social media sites. Consistency is important regarding frequent updates (fresh content), as well as in keeping with the purpose of your social media strategy. Consistency in your message and your branding also establishes relevance for SEO purposes.

For instance, if you are a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Consultant, provide quality tips on SEM and internet marketing, as well as useful articles, resources, and links. Try to link to (connect/contact/friend/follow) other members in your industry or similar industries, like search engine optimization (SEO) or network marketing.

This can assist you in achieving your branding ambitions and enable you to engineer your own company’s brand recognition. This offers you some control over how you and your company are perceived. Your social media presence can help strengthen your company’s webutation (web reputation). Your online friends, business contacts, and “followers” should be able to give a brief description of what your company does. If they cannot, you may want to reevaluate #1 and reexamine the content you’re sharing.

3. Concentrate on Content, Not Marketing – All too often, people go about this the other way around. Allow your content to do the marketing for you by focusing on valuable, consistent, relevant content.

Digging, liking, bookmarking, etc. your own content can actually damage your credibility. It is better to write compelling content that your readers will give an unsolicited digg, like, or bookmark.  When people like what you’re saying, they will share it! When they do, search engines will notice, so write something noteworthy and let the rest happen organically!

4. Be a Valuable Asset – When you think of social media, place the emphasis on “social”. It is not called self-promotional media for a reason. Always keep that in mind when considering what to share on your social media sites.

Posting nothing but self-promotional links, information, and requests will inevitably make you a part of the social media noise, and you will eventually be filtered out. Worse yet, you could be regarded as a “spammer”, which is the fastest way for your webutation to take a downward turn. You may not lose friends, contacts, or “followers’ over it, however, they will begin to skim your posts without even realizing it, or they may ignore you altogether.

You can avoid this by becoming a valuable asset in your niche. One example of how to do this is by posting links to resources and domains that are not your own. This does not mean to post links to your social media profiles, your own squidoo lenses, etc. This means do not post any domains with which you are associated. You can; however, occasionally post links to your own site. Just be sure that you don’t do it so often that it becomes noise or spam.

Believe it or not, you should attempt to befriend your competitors and even promote them. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but interlinking and networking are very powerful tools!

5. The Client Always Comes First – Now that you’ve identified your purpose, contemplate what your client (or ideal visitor) is searching for. (Write for the audience you want.) Imagine your ideal, potential client distinctly in your mind, and consider what they may be perceiving through the information that you share. You want to make a good first impression on them, as they are the ones you want to attract to your site.

6. Get Involved and Build a Rapport – Participating in discussions, replying to forums and blogs, and asking for feedback (and responding to it) are all exceptional ways to get involved in the community and build a rapport with other members. This allows people to view you as a real person, instead of a robot that does nothing but post links repeatedly. (If you’re going to post links, ensure their relevance.) Other people will warm up to you and be more likely to become a friend or contact if you humanize yourself. Social media sites provide you the opportunity to show your personality, so use them in order to truly connect with your target market.

7. Warning! Do Not Over Optimize – Of course you desire top search engine rankings for your specific keywords, but tread lightly here. It is possible to over optimize. If you use the same anchor text on every site you link to, your site will leave what is referred to as a “digital footprint”, which can be a sign that you may be trying to exploit or manipulate search engine results.

In order to refrain from this, use natural alterations in your anchor text for the links which point to your original site. A certain amount of “click here” (or similar links) are necessary to balance your optimization strategy.

8. Start Linking to Your “Deep Links” – Everyone wants to link their public profiles to their (main) homepage, but deep links (or links that point to internal pages on your site or blog) provide depth and authority. Let’s assume that there are two identical websites. The one that has accumulated more deep links will always outrank the other. This method will also gain more exposure for your site in search engine results because your internal pages will begin to rank for relevant keywords and key-phrases.

Deep Links Tip: You may not want to share the link to your homepage with someone you meet on a business network or social media site. Think about linking to your “About Me” page (if applicable) in order to give a more personal introduction to your site, or try linking to your “Company” or “Services” page (if applicable) to give your visitor an overview of what your company does.

9. Link Deliberately with No Apologies – When someone “friends” you, follows you, or subscribes to your blog and/or updates on social sites, it is because they are interested in your most recent information, news, tips, resources, etc. If they should discover that they are not interested, they will simply stop following you, which is not a big deal. This is not a “popularity” contest (regardless of what some people may think), as the “quality” of your “followers” is what matters, not the quantity of them! This is a way to syndicate and socialize with like-minded individuals in a professional and personable setting.

As with anything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about hyperlinking to content and resources on social media websites. Here is the wrong way: “Read my blog!” or “Check out my site!” The correct way is achieved by sharing a helpful link (it can be your own, or something else of interest to your audience) and encourage a discussion about it. For example, if you are a SEO specialist, you could share a link to a Google article about their latest SEO standards and ask for your readers’ opinions on it. Since most of them will be in your field or a related field, the article should be of interest to them which should inspire some discussion.

10. Utilize Social Networking – In order to genuinely accomplish a successful social media strategy, you should engage in social networking, as well. Replace the word “competitor” with “colleague” in your social media vocabulary. Other webmasters, companies, consultants, and individuals in your niche are your allies in the brave new world of social media!

Make it a goal to locate as many of your competitors (who are on your level or within an acceptable range) and develop a cadre or key group of professionals, friends, and/or business contacts. These are people you can share with, exchange links with, and even embark on joint ventures with. Don’t view them as your competition anymore. Start exploring ways to leverage one another’s positions in the marketplace!

Source:Danielle Dandridge

Three Primary Goals of Social Media

To build a social media strategy around specific goals instead of simply launching a presence because “everyone else is doing it.” Today, I’m going to map out the three primary goals most social media outreach campaigns fall into. If you’re still trying to figure out how and why to get involved in social media outreach, consider these three categories and ask yourself how they might apply to your business.

Three Primary Social Media Goals

When we look at online marketing, there are three broad categories into which nearly all social media related goals can fall. They are usually either aimed at:

  1. Building/Strengthening the Brand
  2. Driving Conversions
  3. Increasing/Monitoring the Presence article2_1.jpg

Starting at this broad level and thinking about the goals you have for your business can help you begin to write up a list of realistic ways in which social media might help you reach those goals.

Let’s take a closer look at these three areas and how they might apply to your social media efforts.

Goal #1: Build the Brand

When it comes to building and reinforcing your brand, social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. It gives you the strongest and broadest opportunity to both find your target audience and to engage in conversation with them.

These days, you have no choice but to differentiate yourself from your competitors unless you have an exclusive product. Otherwise, you’re forced into the unwinnable battle of competing for the lowest prices and the fastest shipping.

Think about the things that make your company different from your competitors; your Unique Value Propostion. This is the thing you want to use social media to built awareness of.
article2_2.jpg

If you’re a service professional, target a specific niche and build a blogging and Twitter strategy around that. Demonstrate your expertise in working with a certain type of client and then seek out those types of clients to have conversation with. Look for new ways to connect with them and encourage your current clients to socially share your articles with their networks.

Goal #2: Drive Conversions

One of smartest reasons to use social media is for the potential boost it can have to your conversion efforts. Whether you’re looking to drive sales, increase leads or simply drive people to action, conversions are an easily trackable goal in the realm of social media. article2_3.jpg

Sit down and write out a list of all the potential actions someone might take while engaging with your company’s web site or while interacting online.

Obvious options like buying your products or becoming a lead spring to mind, but don’t forget about other valuable actions like subscribing to your newsletter, retweeting a blog post or downloading a white paper.

Read over your list and think about the different ways you might be able to use social media to increase conversions for each item. Often times, this is the best way to start planning your social media efforts.

Goal #3: Increase Presence

Finally, we come to the goal most often associated with social media outreach efforts; increasing the conversation about your brand. After all, social media is all about the conversation. It’s about the only space in the world where consumers talk to each other and to companies in an environment that can be tracked, sorted and followed-up with. This makes social media a prime outlet for PR driven companies who want to know what customers are saying about them.

Setting up even a baseline of social media monitoring can go a long way toward helping you follow these conversations. Whether you’re article2_4.jpglaunching new product and aiming to get people buzzing about it or trying to reach out to a new target audience to share information about one of your best selling services, it’s all trackable.

When it comes to the conversation people might be having about you online, ask yourself a few questions.

  • Who do you want to hear talking?
  • What do you want them to be saying?
  • Who do you want them to say it to?

These are your starting points for setting up key goals within the realm of increasing your presence.

You’ve Set the Stage, Now Start Building a Plan

Looking at your business with each of the above goals in mind helps you set the stage for your social media efforts. This post isn’t aimed at telling you what to do, I’m simply trying to get you to figure out why you want (and need) to do it.

If you’re small business looking to take your social media efforts up a notch (or maybe even just get started,) take the time to define at least two goals from the categories above. Once you’ve identified your desired outcome, you’ll be a lot more ready to start mapping out the path to get there.

Understanding the Three Primary Goals of Social Media

8 Villains of Social Media

Social Media Marketing sure isn’t easy.  It takes time to get to know the space you’re in, to network with like minded users, and to develop a strong content strategy that works within your niche and target social channels.

But to make matters worse, there are users who can (and will) make your road to success even more difficult.  So in order to prepare you for your journey, here are 8 of the most common villains you’ll encounter on your path, and how to defend against their attacks:

The Troll

Appearance:

An offensive or childish image

Favorite Social Setting:

Video sites, Anywhere comments aren’t actively moderated

Method of Attack:

The Troll comments exclusively with the intent of offending other users in hopes that someone will write a retaliatory comment.  The use of profanity, racism & sexism, wild accusations, and direct attacks are all a part of their arsenal.  It’s sometimes difficult to spot a troll as they can sometimes appear to be a Skeptic or Know-it-all.

Weakness:

The only way to deal with Trolls is to ignore them.  They rarely comment in places that are moderated; and while burying the comment may seem to work, it simply becomes a metric for how well their comment achieved its intended goal.  Ignoring them takes their power away.

The Disrupter

Appearance:

Default avatar/no avatar

Favorite Social Setting:

Blogs

Method of Attack:

The Disrupter makes comments that add nothing to a conversation because they didn’t take the time to read or watch the entire article/video/etc.   They also have a tendency to repeat an earlier comment because they were too lazy to read them as well.  These types of comments can be fairly disruptive to a good social conversation, and are quite annoying on blogs. The Disrupter can sometimes be associated with the Shameless Link Dropper.

Weakness:

Pointedly ignoring them by only responding to other (good) comments is your only defense.  Responding to a Disrupter will only further interrupt the conversation, not to mention: they’re unlikely to see it anyways.  Other users will notice that a well thought out comment that adds to the conversation is rewarded with a response, while these are not.  In rare (extreme) cases, the comment can be removed by the moderator.

The Skeptic

Appearance:

Vectorized image of their favorite science fiction character

Favorite Social Setting:

Social Bookmarking sites like Digg & Reddit

Method of Attack:

The Skeptic is usually the first to claim that something isn’t real.  To them, everything on the internet is fake.  All images are photoshopped, all videos are scripted, and all statistics, facts, and reports are made up by the people who have most to gain by them.  Also, all supporting evidence that the item in question is, in fact, real: is made up as well.  Not to be confused with the Know-it-all.

Weakness:

None.  Ignore them and they become right, provide evidence and they’ll continue to blindly claim you’re spreading the conspiracy (regardless how trustworthy the source).  Your best bet is to bury their comment and hope others will see them for what they really are.

The Shameless Link Dropper

Appearance:

No avatar, A Company logo

Favorite Social Setting:

Blogs, Forums, & Viral Content

Method of Attack:

The Shameless Link Dropper comments only to insert a link for the potential traffic and/or SEO value.  You can generally spot these from the short (usually complimentary) comments (e.g. “Nice post!”), the keyword rich user name (e.g. buy_viagra), second grade grammer skills (e.g. “This is good points”), and the general spamminess of the destination URL.

Weakness:

Strong comment moderation.  It’s also wise to have a comment policy that clearly states that link dropping is not tolerated unless it’s relevant to the conversation.

The Bury Brigade

Appearance:

Can be anyone

Favorite Social Setting:

Social Bookmarking sites like Digg & Reddit

Method of Attack:

Their sole purpose for signing in to Digg or Reddit is to bury submissions that don’t meet their standards of what should be on the front page.  In rare occasions these users group together to target power users who are “too good” at getting submissions to go popular.  They also have a tendency to fill out spam reports and report users & sites to moderators.

Weakness:

Power users.  Nothing frustrates the Bury Brigade like social bookmarking success.  And if one of these users dislikes one of your submissions, unless you’re a power user, you could be dead in the water.

The Whistle Blower

Appearance:

Smug photos of themselves

Favorite Social Setting:

Social Bookmarking sites like Digg & Reddit

Method of Attack:

Calling content producers out for anything they suspect is done for profit, for example: splash advertising, article pagination, SEO link bait, “blog spam”, promotional content, etc.

Weakness:

Extraordinary content.  Despite all of the above things being somewhat annoying to most users, you can get away with some of it if the content is remarkable enough.  The Whistle Blower will still probably call you out for it, but it will fall on deaf ears as (to others) the quality of the content overshadows the minor pet-peeve.

The Know-it-all

Appearance:

A slightly altered photo of Einstein or a mash-up of mathematical equations.

Favorite Social Setting:

Forums, EVERYWHERE

Method of Attack:

The Know-it-all rarely comments unless it’s to disagree with or correct the content producer or another user’s comment.  They’re generally great fact checkers and revel in correcting a specific fact, but would rather argue about opinions.  They also love to point out grammatical errors.

Weakness:

Strong (yet modest) arguments.  It’s nearly impossible to change the mind of the Know-it-all.  Your best bet is to respond to them with rational arguments that present a strong case in a modest tone.  Let their arrogance and opinionated argument work against them making you look like the rational, impartial one to everyone else.

The Emo

Appearance:

Anyone

Favorite Social Setting:

Anywhere

Method of Attack:

The Emo only attacks when disturbed, usually when taking a comment or criticism too personally.  An attack can come in any form or level of extremes depending on the individual & emotional reaction. A conversation between an Emo and a Troll or Know-it-all can be volatile.

Weakness:

Time.  Tread carefully when you upset an Emo.  You may think a quick response to defend yourself or perhaps even explain your comments is a good idea, but most of the time it only makes matters worse.  Depending on how upset they are, time may be required for them to calm down before you’re able to start up a rational conversation about whatever upset them.  And sometimes, it’s wise to just let it go…