Exclusive: Engagement Matters Online – Mark Traphagen Interview

This exclusive Phil Buckley interview with Mark set new daily view records for CrowdFunde blog

Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen

We were lucky enough to have our friend Mark Traphagen stop by today. Mark is a Senior Director of Online Marketing for Stone Temple Consulting and is currently standing hip-deep at the confluence of search and social on the web.

We asked Mark, “Why creating an engaged community around a brand is so important? You can watch the video at the bottom of the post and read along with Mark’s brilliant assessment starting right here.


One of the most fascinating things that’s happening right now on the web, in search, is that they’re actually trying to learn how real humans interact and then reward that kind of activity.

They’ve realized that just relying on links and keywords as signals will only take you so far.

The real action, the real thing that makes people want to move, want to do something, want to buy something, want to be involved with something comes out of human interactions. It comes out of conversations that real people have.

The social networks that we have, are something that search engines like Google have been taking a serious look at. They know they can mine that data, they can look at it and ask “what are people talking about?”, “what are people saying that’s important to them?” and what are they saying about it and who is talking about it?

These answers are becoming more important to the search engines.

Why Google+

Take Google, why did they build a social platform – Google+? A lot of people think it’s because they wanted to compete with Facebook. Although Google+ hasn’t done a great job of competing directly with Facebook, it hasn’t really hurt Facebook much at all.

I think there’s a much bigger reason. It gives Google the ablity of knowing people and knowing businesses and all kinds of “entities”.

People, places, things – seeing those and knowing the relationship between them.

Once you know that Mark Traphagen is a person and he lives in a city called Durham and that he’s friends with people that work at a company called CrowdFunde – when you know things like that, then you can begin to look at the relationships between those things.

This is where engagement comes in

If I’m talking to the people at CrowdFunde, if I’m talking about them, if other people who seem to have some expertise or influence in related areas are conversing with me about that and they’re taking what I say and sharing it elsewhere – all of those connections, all of that engagement, becomes a signal that’s useful to search engines like Google.

It goes beyond the purely mechanical links and keywords to say what matters to people in the real world.

At the end of the day, that’s what they want to know and that’s what they want to promote.

Thanks Mark!

I was in a meeting and missed the chance to talk to Mark today. This interview is so insightful about CrowdFunde and our mission to connect to conversations as the host of the “human interaction” Mark mentions. I wrote a little bit more about how Mark’s engagement interview with Phil perfectly defined CrowdFunde on GPlus.

Sorry about the scratchy audio in this one, must of had a loose connection somewhere.


  1. says

    Thanks for this video, Mark. I liked your statement re: social media’s purpose: “The possibility of knowing people…” or words to that effect. After KickStarter’s recent hiccup (oops, some of your personal data may have been hacked) I was feeling a bit tentative about being a crowd funding supporter. But, at the end of the day, it’s still about human beings helping other human beings. Assisting someone’s dream is a good thing in my book. Thanks again!

      • says

        Marty… major social media snafu… I replied to Mark instead of you! (But thanks for your kind comment… and be prepared for another one to show up… my internet was acting wonky when I belatedly replied.) I count every day as a learning experience! ;) Thanks again.

        • says

          Kim no SMM snafu at all. Mark is part of the CrowdFunde family :). Since we started CrowdFunde at Triangle Startup Factory every day has been a HUGE learning experience. Fun but exhausting (lol). Glad to hear from a fellow daily learner. Mark teaches Phil and I something every day, or everyday we let him anyway (lol). Thanks again. Marty

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