December 10, 2009

Do you have a strategy for social bookmarking and crowdsourcing?

Excerpt from Survival Guide Chapter 7: Sharing, not self-promotion, should be top of mind

survival-guide-toDeltina HayHere is part 7 of the series I will post over the next few months based on chapters from my new book, A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization.

The book is meant to be a guide to building an optimized foundation in social Web for beginners and advanced users alike.

Chapter 7 of the book is about social bookmarking and crowdsourcing using news aggregators, enabling users to save and share their favorite Websites and determine the popularity of a news story, blog entry, or Website through various voting and rating systems.

The following excerpts are from A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization: Strategies, Tactics, and Tools for Succeeding in the Social Web by Deltina Hay

Copyright 2009 by Deltina Hay. All rights reserved.

A Social Bookmarking Strategy

The first thing to do is get a good feel for a number of social bookmarking sites. (In the print edition, there are some popular sites listed at the end of this chapter and on the resource CD.) Choose a couple that represent your interests. If you don’t feel inclined to do the research, I recommend starting with Delicious.com, Technorati, and StumbleUpon. Using these three sites should give you a broad reach into the world of social bookmarking. Before you begin using a bookmarking site, it’s important to become familiar with the guidelines. Some sites are much more stringent than others about bookmarking your own sites, or representing a business of any sort. It is best to go forward informed rather than risk getting a reputation for ignoring the rules, or worse, getting banned from a site.

There is nothing wrong with bookmarking your own Web pages or blog posts on a site like Delicious

As you develop your social bookmarking strategy, keep in mind that the Social Web is about interacting, sharing, and collaboration—not self promotion. Bookmark, tag, and comment on sites that interest you, and connect with others who share similar interests. You will be amazed at how many people you ultimately reach. There is nothing wrong with bookmarking your own Web pages or blog posts, as long as the site allows it; just balance those contributions with others.

I know I sound like a broken record on this point, but fill out your profiles completely! You don’t want to go through the trouble of bookmarking a bunch of sites, only to have others not even know how to find your Website if they find your bookmarks engaging enough to click through to your profile.

Create a list of your best key terms to use as tags and use them as often as they apply to the sites you bookmark. Use your best tags within the descriptions you give each of your bookmarked sites as well. Many of the social bookmarking sites have developed social networking characteristics as well. If available, you should join groups that are relevant to your area of expertise or interest, and subscribe to email updates for those groups.

A Crowdsourcing Strategy

Crowdsourced [see definition] news sites are different from social bookmarking sites in that they focus on sharing news and information about stories, Websites, and blogs, as opposed to sharing bookmarks to Websites or blogs. As a result, you want to use a different strategy for these sites than you would social bookmarking sites.

There are a lot of crowdsourced news sites out there, so you may want to explore a number of the sites we mention at the end of this chapter in the book or on the resource CD to get a feel for them. You should be able to choose a few sites that are good fits for your message.

As always, fill out your profiles completely so that others can find their way to you easily.

Add some of your more newsworthy blog posts, Web pages, or online press releases to each of your chosen crowd-sourced news sites. Pay close attention to each site’s submission guidelines and do not add information that does not adhere to their guidelines or is not a good fit for the site. When considering whether to add something to one of these sites, ask yourself if it is something you would find newsworthy and if you would naturally share it with others. Just like with social bookmarking sites, be sure to offset your own content by contributing other content as well. You will get a natural following of readers from these sites if you contribute regularly and engage in the conversations that happen around topics of interest. The advantage to this strategy is that you can hone in on your target audience by seeking out and commenting on topics relevant to your product, book, or message.

Many of these sites have also added social networking features, so explore any additional ways the sites may offer to connect, such as groups.

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Beyond strategies for social bookmarking and crowdsourcing, this chapter also includes real world examples of social bookmarking and crowdsourcing in action, as well as lists of some popular social bookmarking and crowd-sourcing sites, such as Technorati and StumbleUpon, Reddit and Mixx. The resource CD offers linkable resources and four fillable PDF forms called “Social Bookmarking Strategy,” “Crowdsourcing Strategy,” “Social Bookmarking & Crowdsourcing Submission Form,” and “Social Bookmarking & Crowdsourcing Tracking Form.”

Read more about this social media book at the publisher’s site.

As always, Socialmedia.biz readers also get a special price of $16 (shipping included — retail $24.95) for this book. Just click the Buy Now button.

Previously in Socialmedia.biz:

Deltina Hay, a partner in Socialmedia.biz, is an author and educator who develops online curricula on social media and other Internet marketing topics. She also helps businesses prepare their content for semantic search and big data analysis. Contact her, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus, or leave a comment below.

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