My Geeky Valentine: Candy Heart Link Bait

The folks at Necco developed a sweet link bait campaign for Valentine’s Day to celebrate the introduction of new social messages like “TWEET ME” and “TEXT ME” — design your own Sweethearts conversation hearts.

This fun little bit of link bait gives you the power to say whatever you want in your candy heart conversation! Feeling romantic? Bitter? Sad? Witty? Sweet? No problem, say it with digital candy in public on Twitter or in private via e-mail.

Dear search geeks, here’s a sample Valentine for you and our favorite search engines. Try it yourself; the app is available free for the iPhone as well as at the campaign’s microsite.

From a link building standpoint, Sweethearts is putting a lot of effort into generating buzz for the app and the launch of the new candy messages on their Sweethearts Twitter profile and their Sweethearts Facebook profile. Nicely done, Sweethearts — good interaction with fans and frequent but not overly repetitive tweets and posts about the app and the launch.

The piece I see missing is consistent cross channel promotion. There’s a blog / Twitter contest that doesn’t mention the app and some strong news articles focused on the new candy messages that may or may not mention the app but don’t include links to it. So there’s a some promotion of the candy and the new messages happening, but it’s not being tied consistently together to also promote the link bait outside of Twitter and Facebook. In addition, there’s no mention of the app on the official Necco Sweethearts product page, or the games page, or the news page. The Necco homepage does have a large image feature and link, but that’s the sole mention as far as I can see.

The app is one piece of the launch’s promotional campaign, but it’s an inconsistently mentioned piece. From a link building standpoint, the app represents sweet link bait. But it needs promotion to succeed as link bait. Without promotion, link bait is like a tree falling in the woods. If no one sees it fall or stumbles over it later, it may as well not exist. Which means it won’t drive the quantity of links that it could with stronger promotion. Stronger ties with press relations, online marketing for the site, e-mail campaigns and other marketing channels would strengthen consistency of promotion for the app and naturally generate more links.

I only stumbled over the app as I was tweeting something else. I happened to notice the small suggested app link on my Twitter homepage and clicked it because I love Sweethearts. They were my favorite Valentine’s candy as a kid. The Twitter link is a boon, but it rotates with 15-20 other links. It’s not a persistent, visible presence to drive eyeballs or link juice to the app’s microsite.

Maybe the app wasn’t designed as a link building tactic. That seems likely since it has no links to pass link popularity in to any other Necco or Sweethearts web content or social profiles. I find that extremely surprising. The app developer gets a link, iTunes gets a link for the iPhone app store, but Sweethearts doesn’t link to its own site or profiles. OK, perhaps SEO and link building weren’t taken into account at the beginning. But since Necco has already spent the resources to dream up and develop the app, why not link back to the primary Necco site, promote the app more strongly with the promotion they’re already doing for the new messages launch, and get more buzz and link popularity for the campaign’s cost?

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.