No, this is not a post-modern
celebrity childrens book, nor is this a lame
Britney Spears linkbait article.
The fact is, Britney Spears fame illustrates the power of social networks and social linking perfectly. Social Linking Defined
Understanding social linking is simple: It's all about your "presence" in someone else's mind (and heart). So, on a raw emotional level, it's about how many people you've... distracted, connected with, touched, moved, angered, irritated, teased, humored, etc...
The more emotions you have evoked, the more powerful you're presence.
-Social Linking Illustrated by Britney Spears-
I don't think many of you will argue that Britney Spears has tremendous media presence. I also doubt if many reading this post will argue that her notoriety has anything to do with her music - it's just not that -well, musical.
So, why do we see or hear about her every friggin' day?
Because, Britney, or more specifically, Britney's "people" have employed the power of social links to put and keep her on top of the media. Initially, they "linked" to the folks in charge of what we see on the web, what we hear on the radio and what we watch on TV - probably using the oldest and most powerful link builder — CASH.
Then, the real social power linking kicked in...
Go back to the list of ways to establish a "presence" in people's minds and notice that the stories surrounding the famous B.S. evoke each of these emotions.
So, all that her people need to do is make sure there is always a fresh story for the media to chew on. Then, despite her mediocre music, she keeps her presence and continues to make the bucks.
-When Great Content (music) Meets Powerful Social Linking-
So, we need to relate this back to you as a webpreneur.
How can you create a powerful "presence" on the web and drive the kind of traffic that lets you quit your day job?
Well, you could follow the example of Mrs. (or is it Ms.?) Spears and use controversy, shock and shame as your primary social link or you could focus on offering amazing value -content, tools or services- and then promoting emotion-evoking stories related to these.
judgements here on which path to chose... When it comes to business, there is no ethical dilema in my opinion. If controversy is the best way to sell your product or service, leverage it.
In Britney's case, her music doesn't compare to talented singer-songwriters like John Mayer or Corrine Bailey Ray. These people create music that evokes the emotion necessary to create presence and gets the social linking established.
Ultimately, your product or service will determine which path you need to take... it may be a combination of both.
The important thing to remember... It is your job to evoke emotion and establish a "presence" in the mind of your visitors.
You must distract, connect with, touch, move, anger, irritate, tease, humor or otherwise affect anyone you link to.
You do this with the words you write, the images you present and the offers you make to them.
-Social Linking: Where to Start-
Whatever path you choose, social linking has to start somewhere. Fortunately, there are tons of social media outlets on the net which give internet marketers a venue to evoke emotion and establish presence.
At this point, some may argue that social linking is really just about creating "backlinks", but I disagree.
(Newbie definition - Backlinks: this refers to hyperlinks on someone else's site that link back to your site increasing your site's value.)
Yes, backlinks alone will get you some Pagerank and perhaps some pretty
good SERP listings but they will NEVER get you the kind of qualified
traffic and passionate customers that a carefully established web "presence" campaign