While Twitter is getting the lion’s share of all the social media and micro-blogging sites from the press and the blogosphere, there are other alternatives. I’m going to take you through 5 different micro-blogging platforms, pointing out the good, bad, and sometimes ugly. I’ll also point out some suggestions on how you can integrate them into your social media campaign, and maximize their SEO value.
Posterous is my favorite micro-blogging platform in this article. It’s extremely easy to set up and use; the only thing you need to get started is a working email account. Technically, you don’t even need to create an account to get started – however, I recommend you do, as it allows you to manage the operation. To get information into Posterous, all you need to do is email to firstname.lastname@example.org, text, pictures, even video – they handle the whole thing. If you’ve gone through and created an account, you can unleash the power of Posterous, by connecting to Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr, Blogger, Picasa, WordPress, Facebook and a handful of others, the process is unbelievably easy. You can set up where each item is posted by default or on a post by post basis.
Even more amazing is the fact that you can use it as a full fledged blog if you want to. It’s a really good choice for someone who want to write and doesn’t want the technical hassles associated with running a blog. The bad part is that you’re developing a website on the subdomain of another company, so if you decide to move to a different platform in the future, all of the link equity and traffic you built will vanish. There is an option to run Posterous on your own domain if you are comfortable changing your A-Name records.
From an SEO perspective, the URLs are clean and taken from your post titles as is the HTML title. The biggest danger of the default installation is sitting on someone else’s subdomain. Setting it up on your main domain or as a subdomain on your domain is better, but the software isn’t available, so you’re locked in.
My suggestion is to use it as temporary blog for a short term event or promotion. Does your company exhibit at or visit a lot of trade shows or other venues where you interact with fans or customers? This would be a great tool to document and share, because it’s fast and easy to set up and get running. You could mail pictures, videos, stories of the event into Posterous very easily. You could even set up an email alias to allow customers to send you their pictures as well (I’d suggest turning on moderation if you do).
If Posterous makes micro-blogging quick, easy and useful, FriendFeed is at the complete other end of the spectrum, filling your data stream with lots of noise, data, and in this author’s opinion being completely unusable. What FriendFeed does is allow you to aggregate all of your social media information into one stream – all of your tweets from Twitter, links from StumbleUpon, pictures from Flickr, Facebook updates, Blogger posts, and so on – are now in one nice package to share with your friends.
On the surface this sounds like a really great idea, but it quickly turns into an unmanageable fire-hose of information. If you have a small group of friends who are active in social media, it quickly becomes so noisy that it becomes impossible to extract the value. There are, however, a few people who find FriendFeed valuable, such as Robert Scoble, so I invite you to read his post on how he uses it and why he likes it.
From an SEO perspective, the biggest benefit you can get from FriendFeed is traffic – if a high profile user puts one of your URLs into their stream. All of the outbound links on FriendFeed are no-followed, so there isn’t any link equity being passed. The links are long, but they do have keywords from the title in them, so it’s possible to link to a page within the website and use some satellite optimization techniques.
Tumblr is another micro-blogging platform that is very similar to Posterous. It allows you to post text, pictures, video, audio, chat and links. Currently the only other micro-blogging platform it interfaces with is Twitter. Tumblr does give you a little bit more control over how your micro-blogging platform looks visually, for example, if you want to use hi-res photos, post in a specific time zone, enjoy the ability to import links, and toggle a few other settings. Similar to Posterous, you can move Tumblr onto your own domain.
From an SEO perspective, the URLs are on the long side, but have keywords and are clean, the titles are sub-optimal as they all have the “my tumbles” before the post title. They also suffer from the same subdomain issues that were mentioned above.
One of the more interesting uses of Tumblr comes fromTwitter, which uses it as a status blog for downtime or tech issues. Mainstream users include musicians such as Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz. From an SEO perspective, the URLs are long, but do have the keywords from the title, however, the pages titles also have the sub-optimal blog title before post title arrangement.
While Posterous and Tumblr are very similar, Posterous has much stronger cross-media integration, although Tumblr has a lot more flexibility as far as design and styling options. You’ll need to decide which of those is more critical for your project.
The next micro-blogging platform we’ll be looking at is Dailybooth and deals only in pictures. The concept behind Dailybooth is to take and upload a picture of yourself everyday, and chronicle your good days, bad hair days, and dog blogging days. It’s simple to use – you upload or email in your pictures and it’s done.
As this service is only for pictures it is somewhat limited, and probably best used as a niche tool that’s part of a social media strategy. They have a lot of widgets that make it simple to integrate into a blog or other website.
From an SEO perspective, it’s worth noting they’ve gone with the sub-folder approach instead of subdomain. Individual pages have a numerical sequence number, but they do also have the keywords in the HTML title.
Some possible uses might be a fashion website that uploads pictures of outfits. Sell t-shirts? Upload a picture of you or someone on your staff in t-shirt every day, try to start a picture meme. Most people on the site use it for pictures of themselves, but I didn’t see anything saying it was limited to that. Run a cooking site? Why not put up pictures with link to recipes or cookware items? Personally, I really like this site – it’s simple, easy to use and has the potential for a lot of run.
12 Seconds is a micro-blogging video website. We’ve all been sent links to 8 minute YouTube videos where there is really only a small bit of content that’s entertaining. 12 Seconds combats that by limiting the length of your uploads to just 12 seconds. Making a video that’s interesting but is only 12 seconds can be a bit of challenge. Currently, they only offer integration with facebook and twitter.
From an SEO perspective, the URLs are sequential number strings without any keywords. However, the page does have the title of the video. It sits within a subfolder of a larger site, so it doesn’t have any of the subdomain issues.
As this is a fairly limited site and the 12 second cap makes things difficult, my advice is use this for limited purposes. One interesting use I saw, was asking people to sing their national anthem in 12 seconds or less, and here’s an entry from Shoemoney. Using it for fast-talking contests related to your site would be something that could generate viral interest if done correctly.
In my opinion, the key with micro-blogging sites is simplicity. The easier it is to use, the more likely people are to use it, and the more successful you will be trying to leverage it to help promote your website. I’d suggest testing each of them before deciding on one over the other. If you are going to do any promotional activities, opening up a dialog with the site owner is a good idea as well.
Don’t focus solely on sites that allow you to put up straight links; instead focus on sites that are more socially engaging and allow you to implement ideas that have a higher likelihood of going viral – getting you press and links outside of the site itself.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.