Strictly speaking, Wikipedia isn’t a social media network however we feel that it is important enough to warrant whole section on. Wikipedia is basically a web-based collaborative encyclopedia where any user can contribute to articles or pages that he/she knows something about. It has over 90,000 active contributors and hosts over 19 million articles is all the languages. It is estimated to have 365 million users who actively read its contents every year.
Users will often search for something on Wikipedia if they don’t know much about the subject and want to learn more. It has become a resource for many subjects and is a great way for users to build their knowledge on subjects. It is because of this huge exposure and how many people rely on Wikipedia that it deserves so much attention, even from social media marketers like us.
In addition to just the raw number of people who use Wikipedia as a resource, it is important to be listed there to improve legitimacy. This is particularly true for businesses that have a purely online presence and no off-line “brick and barter” place of operation. Being cited as a resource or having its your page can usually offer users a sense of confidence in your business if he/she is thinking of buying something.
Wikipedia and Social Media
Social media marketers should make it a habit to reference Wikipedia articles in their social media marketing platforms. It shows users that the business is serious about making a name for itself and that its offers legitimate products and services. To be listed in Wikipedia also shows that a business is known as an “information leader” or “resource leader” in their industry. When experts are willing to cite your business as a resource, it shows that the business know what it’s talking about.
The hard part is getting into Wikipedia in the first place. Sometimes a start-up will often find that unless they have invested substantial amounts of money for a PR campaign that getting listed or cited in Wikipedia can be next to impossible. This is all due to the large amount of SPAM that Wikipedia has been subjected to over the years. The rules for posting have tightened up to the point that getting listed on your own will often see your contribution deleted and your account flagged for SPAM.
The only way to have your social media platform or your business sited on Wikipedia these days is with enough public exposure that editors see it fit that your site should be included in Wikipedia. Although it may seem like an uphill challenge it is something that an active social media campaign can help to do too. Think of it as a chicken or egg issue. Social media marketing can create the buzz to popularize a site giving it higher chances of Wikipedia inclusion. On the flipside, a listing or a citation in Wikipedia can offer the legitimacy for a business to grow its social media platform further.
If you Must try Wikipedia Yourself
If users are looking to try establishing a Wikipedia listing on their own it would be difficult but not impossible if a few important steps are followed. The first and most important thing to remember is to be an editor and contributor first before even mentioning your business. Users should start buy making contributions to other listings, correcting grammar and adding information where they can on existing articles. Wikipedia is not the place for advertising but a place for real information sharing.
The second thing to remember is to always play by the rules. This cannot be stressed enough as the Wikipedia rules are tight and unforgiving. Users seen to break the rules will have their accounts disabled and they will end up having to start all over again trying to build the confidence of the Wikipedia online community. This means that conservativeness is the key. Don’t even think about advertising your site. You’re there to contribute and that’s it.
Another key is to make your business citable by Wikipedia. Think of it as doing your best to show that your business is an authority in the industry and can’t be ignored. This means writing papers for pier evaluation; publish works, conduct talks and think of something that is revolutionary in your industry. Make it so that ignoring your company would make Wikipedia incomplete. It may be the case that you don't need to make the article for your business, some other editor might just do it for you.