Sunday, September 17, 2006

Struggling to Use Social Bookmarking as a Marketing Stratregy

I have been using for quite a while now, initially as an online repository for links I wanted to access when working on other computers and also to share links with friends who have similar interests. Of course I could also see the potential in social bookmarking in increasing popularity by creating back links to my site and recently when I began using Squidoo, a group of us on the Ecademy agreed to bookmark each others lenses to see whether this would have much impact on our ranking. Unfortunately the idea didn't really take off beyond the initial flurry of interest.

One reason was that it is a little time consuming. We each tried to help by posting our lens URLs with the titles, notes and tags on the forum, but posting three or four lenses for each member was going to take too much time and we had no idea what impact it would have. I could also see that, for this to really work it would be necessary to submit to more than one social bookmarking site. I have bookmarklets in my browser toolbars for both and Yahoo My Web - these bookmarklets automatically add the URL and title of the page - but leave you to manually add notes and tags so it still takes a lot of time and when I started looking at Furl and Blink and .... I had no idea how many there were and there simply is not enough room on my browser for all those bookmarklets.

My Speaking and Marketing Tips site is a Site Build It site - and one advantage of that is the remarkable forum of members who are very knowledgable and post practical solutions to a lot of challenges. One solution that emerged was some code deveeloped for Site Build It owners that would enable us to display "Add to" bookmarklets for nine social bookmarking sites. If you have not used these links they work the same way as bookmarklets in the browser and encourage visitors to save the page. The problem is that even this was not keeping up with the huge growth in sites. And some of them like Technorati and Google are not really social bookmarking sites anyway.

Then I launched my own Article Directory, and got some help from Jodi, a web developer in the USA who I noticed was using a couple of submission sites - Socializer and OnlyWire. There are links to both of these in the side panel - Social Bookmark This Page takes you to Socializer and OnlyWire is just below it.

01/01/2007 update
Since writing this article I have discovered AdThis which I prefer to Socializer - You will see the AsThis buttons at the foot of this post and in the sidebar for both social bookmarking and feed subscriptions - works the same way but enables me to put a link at the foot of each post.

Socializer works like my "add to links" bookmarklets except that it takes you to a page full of them (nearly 50 and I know there are more). However from there you still have to link to each separately - Great for your visitors who are using one or two sites although to be honest most visitors like me should have browser based bookmarkets for their favourite sites.

OnlyWire on the other hand is a bulk submission site (at present the only one) which will summit the page to 15 social bookmark sites - including all the the leading ones. However it is not without its bugs - two of the links don't work properly and two of the links do weird things with the tags. You can see my reviews of them all here. I am hopefull that OnlyWire will fix the problems and add some missing links like Yahoo My Web soon because this really is a time saving tool. Even with only 11 really working it is as quick to submit to them all as it is to submit to a single site. And don't worry about submitting a link twoce - the site picks that up and updates your information.

One big advantage of posting to social bookmark sites is that the top sites do have huge amounts of traffic and high page ranks - I have noticed that my links on sites are already turning up in good positions in seach results.

As I wrote this post I became increasingly aware that this might be all goggledygook to many of my friends who still struggle with technology, so I have produced a few pages on the topic on my web site - very much an in evelopment section because the whole topic is developing and I will be producing a Squidoo lens on the subject in few weeks.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

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