Shelly wrote a post about Social Bookmarking, What It Is And Why You Need It, and this piece is intended as a follow-up, and to give you kind of a step-by-step tutorial on using social bookmarking sites.
As mentioned in the earlier post, social bookmarking is really all about saving, discovering or sharing content online. It’s like a giant filing cabinet, filled with goodies.
Think of it like this: just because you write a blog post doesn’t necessarily mean someone will read it. So, once you write it, you’ve got to think about how you can share it in the online space so that others might find and see the content you produce – whether for yourselves or for your clients. It’s called “content marketing” for a reason.
That’s where social bookmarking comes in – and why it makes sense to make the time to develop profiles on various social bookmarking sites and not only use them to share your own content, but to discover other users on that platform, get to know them, share their content, find cool stuff to read, share, learn from, etc.
But in order for people to find the content you produce, you have to tag it appropriately, so that they will.
What the Heck Is a Tag And Why Do I Need To Use Them?
Tagging is like putting something in a file folder, but before you do that, you usually want to name the file folder. Online, tagging allows you to search by a particular tag and find all content associated with that particular tag. It’s a shortcut, if you will.
As mentioned, if you want to start using social bookmarking, you’ll need to learn to tag the things you bookmark. Each time you bookmark a post, you can typically chose tags or a category for the post. Use as many applicable tags as permitted to help increase exposure with different terms. This is true on all social bookmarking sites, and also true on sites like YouTube – but of course, only if you want your videos (or other content) to be found.
What is a tag? If we were going to explain tags to our “non computer literate” grandmother, we would probably explain it somewhat like this: “A tag is a one word, or possibly two word, description of what the post is about.” Bottom line – a tag tells the search engines what your post is about. It’s as simple as that.
Here is an example for you – if you were going to bookmark this particular blog post, you could use any (or all) of the following tags:
- “how to”
- “business marketing”
- “content marketing”
- “social bookmarking”
- “social marketing”
Use any tag that makes sense to you (and your followers, if you are using social bookmarking as a “social” way to find and share content – much like the #hashtags used on Twitter). Some sites, such as Delicious, will show you suggested tags based on what their algorithms believe the content is about – feel free to use these, in addition to any other tags that you think are relevant to the content.
Some Basic Tips on Tagging
- Tag proper nouns
- Don’t abbreviate unless it’s an industry term (like “SEO”)
- Short and simple is always best
- Use nouns
- Develop a system and be consistent
Some sites, for example Digg, don’t use tags but instead use categories such as Business, Technology, Lifestyle, etc., In those instances, select the category that is most fitting to the content you are bookmarking (Note: Digg only allows one category).
Optimizing Your Social Bookmarking Profiles
Just about all of the various social bookmarking sites will allow you to complete a profile for yourself – and this is important. In fact, optimizing your social media profiles is as important as optimizing your blog or website. Take the few minutes that it will require and do that and include the keywords that describe your business.
We recommend using the same profile name on each site (which makes it easier for others to find you) and, most importantly, whether you like it or not, that’s a piece of what comprises your own online “brand” or “digital footprint” and it’s always good to be consistent.
A number of the sites will allow you to include your own website URL as part of the profile. Take advantage of any opportunity to personalize your profile information and fill in as much detail about you and your business as you want to share with potential “followers” and/or people who find and like the content you bookmark. Again, it’s called “optimizing” for a reason – and the more information you can provide about yourself and your business, the better results and/or traffic you’ll see.
Bonus Tip: If you are joining a social bookmarking site and have the ability to add multiple links within your profile, consider adding your other social networking links – e.g. add your LinkedIn profile URL to your StumbleUpon profile or your StumbleUpon profile URL to your Digg profile, etc. All of this helps create a cohesive footprint and will be beneficial in the long run.
What Are These Social Bookmarking Sites Called?
While there are many, many different social bookmarking sites out there here are some of the “more popular” ones:
Digg and Mixx are two examples of sites that are vote-based. What this means is that the more votes or thumbs-up a URL receives, the more popular it is and, thus, the more likely it is to become featured and on the home page of the site. This can result in massive exposure for your content (and lots of web traffic for you or your clients). Note: Mixx was recently purchased and is on hiatus right now – hopefully, we’ll see it back, as it was a platform I shared and interacted on a lot and enjoyed.
What Does Social Bookmarking Do For Me?
While most posts will probably never make it to the home page of social bookmarking sites, there are still several reasons why a business owner may want to use social bookmarking sites:
- Content Curation for a niche/target market, Diigo and Delicious will allow you to pull an RSS feed for a specific tag. You could use these feeds in several ways – internal use for blog ideas, news mentions of your company that you want to feature on your website, or to easily share related content from various sources that creates a stream of fresh content for your website.
- Increased readership and distribution/sharing of the content you produce, whether for yourself or for your clients.
- Increased exposure for your business services or products to what are some very large online audiences.
- Potential for backlinks (though low, the potential is there).
- Meeting others with similar interests (networking).
Best Practices For Social Bookmarking
And, although it’s only common sense, as with anything social, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:
- Don’t promote just your own content. Surely you discover great content all over the web on a daily basis. When you do, share that on your social bookmarking sites. You’ll be amazed at how that can improve your credibility within those communities. When it comes to social bookmarking, what goes around most definitely comes around. And when you regularly share others’ content, they are more likely to regularly share yours, thus expanding your audience and bringing you fresh readers and/or friends and followers.
- Adding comments and reviews (where allowed) on the social bookmarking sites that you use can help potential visitors to those posts understand what you enjoy or found helpful. This also helps increase your credibility within those communities.
- Time. It always takes time. You’ll need to invest at least a little bit of time with your networks in order to truly grow and get exposure on the various things you submit. If you just use social bookmarking to blast your own content, the benefit you receive will probably not be as great as you might otherwise reap.
What social bookmarking sites do you use – and why? And if you have any questions about social bookmarking that aren’t explained here, please feel ask in the comments section – we’d love to help you get started effectively using social bookmarking to help in your online marketing efforts.