Don’t Spew Link Vomit: Brand the Good Stuff!

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Social media has become THE marketing darling of 2009, and being in complete control of your brand and message via the different platforms becomes more and more important as the medium gains momentum. I had the pleasure of moderating a panel last week at BarCamp Nashville with members of the social media team at The Tennessean to talk about content and branding as it relates to social media campaigns, and wanted to highlight some of the discussion and great insight from those guys on how they go about marketing in the social space.


We are now producing and sharing more content than ever before, which is fantastic, but are you sharing the right things? Are you sure your community (and that is what your clients/customers/consumers are) wants to see what you’re sharing with them? Or are you just sharing what you THINK they would want to see? Like it or not, the community is going to have a bigger influence on your message than ever before. To a lot of marketers, there is no greater misery. The way I look at it, it couldn’t be better. If they aren’t interested in certain aspects of your campaign, you have instantaneous feedback on that and can be constantly making tweaks to insure that you’re on target with the message. That is, if you’re tracking your content.


But why does someone in your community click on a link that you’ve shared in the first place? Does the headline that accompanies the link peak their interest? Have you earned a reputation as a trusted source, as well as someone who shares great, quality content? One of the most notable pieces of data gathered when exploring the stats from The Tennessean’s social media campaign was that their branded URL shortener,, owned 92% of the click-throughs in a six month period, even though it had only been used for roughly two of those six months. What we infer from this is that the community is obviously much more willing to click-through to something that they perceive is coming from a trusted source. So that trusted source (meaning the URL itself) along with a quality headline ensures that you are putting your best foot forward as far as your overall campaign is concerned. Track each click. See what the community is reading, what they aren’t, and adjust your campaign accordingly.


I touched on this a bit above, but I think the one thing people don’t tend to think about in social campaigns is owning complete control over the links that they are sharing. A few weeks ago I received a few emails telling me that our generic URL shortener,, had been blocked by Facebook, so that meant those links couldn’t be shared and tracked. Since it is generic, we don’t have much control over the content that people use it to share, leaving it to be blocked when it shouldn’t have. The ban has since been lifted, but it just goes to show you how important having complete control over your content becomes, even down to something that may at first be perceived as trivial like a URL shortener.


By harnessing the power of your community, you’ll quickly see trends on the content front, what they want to see and what they don’t want to see, and this can go a long way to help you from “spewing any old link anywhere.” The social team at The Tennessean also recommends really determining your audience for each individual social network and tailoring your campaign accordingly. They for example use Twitter for breaking news and Facebook for more entertainment type stories. All decisions made based on feedback from their community and what they were interacting with.

If you take complete control of your social media campaign, listen to your community, and really think about the content that you are sharing, your campaign will reap the benefits.

3 Responses to “Don’t Spew Link Vomit: Brand the Good Stuff!”

  1. A graphic metaphor, but good points anyway. Being new to Twitter, I have seen those shortened urls and found them a bit suspicious. I know that they are probably ok, but I’d rather click on a link that I know where I’m going.