Social Bookmarking: The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How

social-media


A reader recently posed a question about the importance of Digg, etc., in the comments, and I told her I’d write an article about Social Bookmarking. I’m glad she asked, because I learned a lot while researching this post.

If you’re old enough to remember the movie, Mr. Mom, think back to the scene where Jack (played by Michael Keaton) is attempting to carpool the kids — lots of horn honking, fist waving, and moms & kids alike yelling, “You’re doing it wrong!” When it comes to Social Bookmarking — I’ve been doing it wrong.

Hopefully this post will help us all learn how to do it right!

What is Social Bookmarking?

Social Bookmarking is the sharing or saving of bookmarked pages to a public website instead of just bookmarking them in your browser for personal use.

Who should use Social Bookmarking?

Anyone who uses the Internet to research projects as well as bloggers who wish to increase traffic to their blogs and develop their communities. Researchers can browse posts of interest, collect resources, organize, and categorize their data. For bloggers, make your content compelling enough that your readers want to share it. The more your readers bookmark your stuff, the more traffic your site will generate.

This is where I was going wrong and have actually led others astray. The more I read about Social Bookmarking, the more I realized it’s a no-no in Social Bookmarking land to submit your own work. Oops! This makes you come across as an over-eager marketer and some communities will shun you. The proper way to have your articles submitted is to place a call to action in your piece and ask (or beg) your readers to submit. I’ve placed those cute little popup icons below each article for y’all to play with (i.e. — click & submit!). Thanks!

When should we use Social Bookmarking?

Whenever you read an article you think will help others or that you’d like to refer back to later, bookmark it using your favorite bookmarking service or services.

Where are the best Social Bookmarking sites?

There are over 100 sites, but the leaders are Delicious, Digg, Stumble Upon, and Google Bookmarks. Note that Social Bookmarking sites are different from Social Networks and Blog Directories.

Why should we use Social Bookmarking and/or encourage our readers to bookmark our sites?

The four main reasons to use & encourage Social Bookmarking are:

  1. Quick Indexing by search engines — As we’ve learned, search engines love links, and that’s what Social Bookmarking sites are all about. And submissions to these sites are indexed almost immediately.
  2. Traffic generation — Social Bookmarking provides another outpost or traffic stream to your flow. The exciting part about using Social Bookmarking as a traffic stream is the potential for content to go viral. I’ve read of bloggers who have experienced the woe of having their server crash after making the front page of Digg.
  3. Personal branding — As your readers submit & comment on your posts and you submit & comment on related posts within your niche market, you can quickly enhance your personal brand.
  4. Quality Backlinks — While all links are important, inbound links, called “backlinks,” help your site rank higher in search engine results pages than internal links do.

How do we use Social Bookmarking?

The Dos:

  • Choose which site(s) you wish to participate in and create a user profile. The stronger your profile, the more credibility you will develop as a leader in the community. This will happen over time, as participation through commenting & sharing increases the strength of your profile.
  • When you submit a post or article, use tags to help others interested in the topic easily find it.
  • Invite your friends to “check out” posts of interest.
  • For bloggers — create compelling content and amazing headlines so your readers will be excited about submitting your content.
  • Each site has its own unwritten “rules of etiquette,” so before you go crazy, lurk a bit and get a feel for what’s “socially acceptable” in the site you pick to start with.

The Don’ts

  • Do not submit press releases to Social Bookmarking sites.
  • Do not submit your own content.
  • Do not encourage other to endorse your content submissions in the comments section.

What about multiple submission tools?

Many bloggers create a psuedo-profile and mass submit their content. There is probably nothing wrong with that, however, the purpose of these sites is to not only share content, but to share it in a “social” environment. Therefore, at least some participation in the community is encouraged. My suggestion would be to pick a few sites or even one to get started with and get involved.

Pros & Cons of Social Bookmarking

Advantages:

  • Potential for content to go viral.
  • RSS feeds and tagging are available.
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Community building potential
  • Personal Brand building
  • Tracking, referrals, and links, oh, my!

Disadvantages

  • Social Bookmarking sites are frequented by amateurs, so they may not tag your post they way you would have tagged it.
  • All most of us need is another community to participate in, *sigh*, which is one reason I’d avoided the whole Social Bookmarking scene. After learning more about it, though, I think it’s probably worth it.

My thoughts?

I plan to start slow on one or two sites and check in a couple times a week at first. I’d love to hear your experiences with Social Bookmarking. I’m new to this, so any suggestions you have will be appreciated!

Happy Blogging!

Linda

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5 comments ↓

#1 Skye on 11.30.09 at 9:11 pm

It’s not even just a matter of identifying the etiquette within each community, though. You also need to understand what types of content do well in those communities. A cute anecdote about a puppy is never going to do well on Digg, it’s a waste of everyone’s time to submit it. Every once in a while something out of left field will hit big on Digg, but it generally has to have technology, politics, or marijuana in it. StumbleUpon supports a wider variety of content. Etc. Know the community, don’t just throw your content up against a wall to see if it sticks.

And above all, contribute to the community more than you take.

#2 Linda Fulkerson on 11.30.09 at 9:21 pm

Thanks for pointing that out, Skye — each site has its own “personality,” which reflects the likes/dislikes of the community.

#3 Dale Ottley on 12.01.09 at 3:36 pm

Linda,

I am glad that your blog exists. I’m overwhelmed quite often by all that one must learn to be a high profile blogger or known as a professional social networker.

I’m also intimidated by WordPress but people’s blogs look so much cleaner.

How can I navigate all of this in a short period of time tto make myself more marketable?

#4 Linda Fulkerson on 12.01.09 at 4:48 pm

Hi Dale!

Thanks for your encourging comment! It does take some time to learn about blogging, but just try one or two new things a week maybe and see what works and what doesn’t.

I do encourage everyone to get their blog onto WordPress if possible for a lot of reasons, and I’ve been asked by several readers to make a video tutorial about exactly how to do this. I hope to get that made and posted soon. It’s my goal to do it this week — maybe it will be our Freebie Friday goodie.

I stopped by your blog and you have a lot of great information on it. You also have a good niche audience. That’s important.

You asked how to get this all done in a short time. I am working on an eCourse that will teach a holistic approach to blogging — meaning it will teach how to work your marketing, community building, content writing, and search engine optimization together to make your blog effective overall, because all these elements of blogging do interact and are dependent upon each other to make a blog useful to its intended audience. I’ll be making an announcement about the course soon.

Best wishes!
Linda

#5 AhsanShankar on 12.14.09 at 4:41 am

Nice blog and thanks for sharing here

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