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Digital Efficiency and Findability: Anchors and Outposts

by Randall Craig on March 18, 2016

Filed in: Blog, Digital Strategy, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: , ,

Where do you call your social home? Likely it includes LinkedIn and Facebook. Perhaps YouTube and Twitter. But what about Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo and Flickr? Or, the 500+ other social networks that exist?

The significant challenge of social media is that you don’t know who is looking for you (or your services), nor where. What you do know is that if your target users can’t find you on these 500+ sites, then a potentially important opportunity will be lost.

But who has the resources to maintain a presence on 500+ sites, let alone 50? (Or ten?)

Enter our Anchors and Outposts model™.

Consider that every social venue can fit into one of two categories:

  1. Anchor: A heavily trafficked site that you are looking to build and curate a community on. Typically, Anchor sites include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube: the big four. If the organization’s budget is small, then the number of anchors may only be one or two: a very large budget may mean the big four, and adding perhaps a few more.
  2. Outpost: If a site isn’t an Anchor, then it is an outpost. An outpost is a “thin” profile: register, add a logo or picture, and then add a keyword-rich description. The outpost includes a line of text that mentions that you don’t frequently monitor the site, along with a link to your main website and your Anchors. Outposts are set-and-forget, Anchors (and your main website) build community.

The Anchors and Outposts strategy is surprisingly simple: users will search anywhere, and as they find you, they will be funnelled from the outposts, to the anchors, to your main website.

Beyond the benefits of efficiency and findability, the strategy yields another important benefit: improved search engine results for your organization’s main website.  Of the 200 factors that Google uses to determine ranking, the number (and strength) of inbound links is an important factor.  (An inbound link is a link from somewhere else that links to your website. An outbound link is a link from your website that goes elsewhere). An Anchors and Outposts strategy creates a viable network of inbound links.

This week’s action plan: Most organizations have figured out their Anchors, but have not intentionally built their Outposts. This week, it’s time to do so.

Marketing Insight:  Capturing your outposts is an important defensive move: what would happen if a competitor, or a “hater” decided to register themselves on all of the social sites, as you?

Productivity Tips: (1) When you register your Outposts, go into the communications preferences section to reduce the number of promo emails you would be sent. (2) If you are looking for a list of outposts, check out

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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