Social news sites and building your tribe

In a recent post I outlined the 6 different types of social media. In this post we will go more in depth on social news sites and how they play into your tribe building strategy.

Social news sites let people post various news items or links to outside articles and then allows it’s users to “vote” on the items.  The voting is the core social aspect since the items that receive the most votes are displayed the most prominently.  The community decides which news items get seen by more people .  The most popular are Digg and Reddit.

Last week when we discussed social bookmarking sites, I pointed out that there was a right way to use them and a way that is a complete waste of time.  This week, I only have one thing to say about social news sites – they are a waste of time.

There are many sites that constantly chase getting high ratings on the various social news sites, but for you as an author it is a complete waste of time.  Here’s why:

  • It is a constant strain to stay on the top. The type websites that regularly get a lot of traffic from social news sites are constantly posting new, outlandish content in the effort to get attention.  As I write this, a few of the top “news” items at Digg are “My Butt Is Big”, “Best Free Mac Software 2010” and a comic strip titled “Not so fast criminal!” By constantly striving to appeal to the masses at these sites, your content will have to become more and more outlandish and you will always have to water down your message.
  • Social news traffic is bad traffic.  Remember one of the rules of leading a tribe – “Focus on fans, not numbers”.  You may be able to get a lot of traffic by posting on these sites, however almost all your new visitors will look at one page and then leave.  You won’t see an increase in newsletter subscribers or any other engagement.  Just getting people to your site isn’t the goal in building a tribe.

Spending a lot of time chasing social news traffic is always a waste when building a tribe.  There are much better places to spend your time marketing yourself and your tribe.

Tim Grahl
Tim Grahl
Tim Grahl is the author of Your First 1000 Copies and the founder of He has worked with authors for a decade to help them build their platform, connect with readers, and sell more books. He has worked 1-on-1 with over a hundred authors including Daniel Pink, Hugh Howey, Barbara Corcoran, Chip and Dan Heath, Sally Hogshead and many others. He has also launched dozens of New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestsellers.
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