Using social media as an effective link building tactic is still possible but it is no longer as easy as creating profiles, submitting content to social news sites and dominating search engine results pages. It is both fortunate and unfortunate that Google has severely toughened up its standards for social sites. For marketers, it means a lot more work. For users, it means far less noise and spam in their search results.
Social media optimization is now a relatively delicate process. Traditional link building campaigns often involve blatantly asking for links, or simply buying them. In contrast, social media optimization is only effective if a marketer can convince others to link to material, not by asking, but by creating fantastic content. Most people’s accounts and profiles on social media websites are intrinsically attached to their offline self. Unlike people who run a website that includes a designated “Links” page, social media users are not likely to add a company’s profile as a “friend” or vote for a company’s content just because they’re asked to. The majority of people want their user history on sites like Reddit, and their friend lists on Facebook to reflect something about their personalities. The less socially appealing and more exploited your industry is offline, the harder it will be for you to take advantage of online communities.
The landscape of social media is constantly changing. There is no profile, site or community whose content does not change hourly or, at the most, daily. “Traditional” social media link building, in most respects, was solely spam. Marketers realized that they could get quick, easy non-nofollowed links out of domains whose authority had already been established. There was little need to build a community and, in actual fact, a company who created a spam profile for the sake of linking to their actual websites would not have wanted to attract a great deal of traffic to the profile itself. The primary goal was to have search engine spiders see the profile and the links, add the weight of the links to the authority of the company’s main website and improve the main website’s ranking.
Search engines no longer lend any value whatsoever to links from profiles. This is not to say, however, those are completely useless now; it just means that optimizing with these sites is no longer the simple process it was a few years ago. Search engines and social media website owners alike are aware that the point of social media is not to simply give marketers an easy collection of links. Marketers must now be prepared to contribute to the communities that can send them traffic.