Social Websites Marketing

Do You Want To Use Social Bookmarking?

Social bookmarking allows users to annotate, add, edit, and share bookmarks of web documents such as images, posts, articles and more. Social bookmarking is a way to share what is out there to those who may be interested. If you own a business and you have yet to allow social bookmarking or the option of letting your information be bookmarked then you may want to consider doing so.

Like the widgets for Facebook, RSS feeds, and Twitter you want to make certain that you allow clients to talk about you. Social bookmarking is allowing your readers to say something about you. It is a marketing tool that will help your brand name become larger. The fact is you can get started on your own with social bookmarking.

You can sign up for sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Delicious. You will post about things you enjoy as well as giving a profile of what you do. With that profile others can see what you do, look at your likes, and follow to your site. Someone who absolutely loves what you do will then bookmark your site, perhaps annotate, add or edit a post so that others can see it. Eventually you get more people coming to your site because there are more people interested in what you are selling, offering in services or information.

It is important to use social bookmarking as a way to get known by more than the people who happen across your site.

Social Bookmarking and the New SEO

So last week, we wrote a bit about how SEO is all about content marketing and relationship building these days. One of the lines amounted to “hand-built links are useless these days.” Suffice it to say, a few sharp readers pointed out to us that we offer, among other things, a social bookmarking service, and they asked us: isn’t social bookmarking just a cheap, hand-built link that’s exactly like the kind you just said was useless?

The answer, of course, is “Not at all — if it were, we wouldn’t be offering that service.”

So What Does Social Bookmarking Do For Your SEO?

That isn’t to say that social bookmarking isn’t a cheap, hand-built link — it totally is. We own that. But by that logic, so is a link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google Plus, and you certainly don’t see anyone decrying the value of social media.

The fact is that your content can’t earn backlinks if no one sees it in the first place — and for the first two or three weeks of the lifetime of any piece of content, its effect on social media is actually more important than many other more standard ‘ranking factors’ like backlinks. Which means that you have to get your new content that initial exposure that will start drawing in the social media mentions.

That’s where efforts like social bookmarking separate themselves from efforts like directory listings and Web 2.0 properties. Directories are relics of a bygone era; literally no one cares about them except the people who own them. Web 2.0 properties were clever for a little while, but Google has devalued them so extensively that they’re useless, and no one actually goes to Squidoo or HubPages to look anything up anyway.

Social bookmarking pages, however, are social by their very nature. People browse the likes of Reddit, they fall through the portals of StumbleUpon, and they scan their Tumblr dashboards for interesting tidbits. If you create a link on one of those sites in a way that gets attention, it actually gets attention, unlike most of the other kinds of hand-built backlink you could waste your time on.

So yes: social bookmarking is a service that we offer, and we offer it because it is valuable to your SEO efforts, even while almost all of the other services that used to be associated with it in bygone years have fallen by the wayside.

The Truth behind Why You Need a Social Bookmarking Site

Ever since the social network websites started becoming part of our daily lives we have become accustomed to connecting with people we know and that we don’t know based on what we have in common even if what we have in common is something we don’t like! This kind of open and public social profiling has also made a lot of people reach out to new horizons in search of things they didn’t previously know only because thanks to these links they were now in contact with new information or material.

The Basics

A social bookmarking website is where you sign up for an account and start saving different things you have found online  it’s like an agenda of things you like, but posted online. Once inside your profile, you can link videos, photographs, other websites, products, songs; and you can group them into different themes or subjects. After you have done this you can use them for your own personal reference, make them public or share them with specific people among your links or friends.

Once you have sent these to your friends or shared them with anyone at all, they are out there and they will probably reach hundreds or thousands of people. So how can you use to your advantage?

A Practical Example

Let’s say you sell, for example, musical instruments. You can build a profile, sort musicians into the brands of instruments they use and then share a link to those instruments on your shop’s online website, thus, promoting traffic to your site. If anyone likes a specific musician and links it to your bookmark, then it goes viral and attracts a lot of people interested in your website and your products.

How to Go About It

Social bookmarking is all about trying to detect what interests people your products are targeted at share or have in common, so that you can later make those things relate to your profile in order to promote whatever it is you are selling to that specific targeted audience. Of course, it all sounds easy on paper, but if you really want to handle it correctly, you should probably get some help from professionals in the business or you might scare your audience away.

The Networking Aspect of Social Bookmarking

The Importance of Bookmarks
Bookmarks have been around for ages – you put in a slip of paper, post-it note, pen, dog-ear a page or insert some hand-crafted length to keep your place in a book.

And now you can do it with websites. Think about it. If you want to show someone a part of a book, you have it bookmarked; if you want to show someone a site on the web, you have it bookmarked. If you want to increase traffic to your website and spread your public online image… you bookmark it. Social bookmarking won’t use any resources you don’t want to spend, and the increase in traffic and audience you get is well worth it.

Better Search Engine Rankings
Maintaining your social bookmarking means search engines like Google can find you a bit easier – and if you’re easier to find, you’ll get more hits. Alexa, a service which ‘ranks’ websites based on how often they’re accessed, has rankings in the hundreds of millions. You might start off in the range of 700 million. In a few months, you might increase your rank by as much as ten times.

Have Products to Sell
A great way to keep people coming back is getting them to spend something. Have a product to sell and you might see your sales and traffic leap up as people bookmark your site and share it with interested friends.

Affiliate Markets
Affiliate links and markets are great ways to make cash through promoting yourself. Social bookmarking drives traffic to the affiliate link – and all you need is a catchy description and a solid title.

Sharing Online
So it’s pretty hard to share a physical bookmark. It isn’t hard to share a social bookmark. You can share the bookmark on this website or that website – thing of it like some sort of StumbleUpon – and word gets out and the bookmark finds more and more people. You’re in for a traffic boost.

Fast Indexing through Tags
Make sure to constantly update your blog or website – and make sure to tag your posts! Tagging will make it easier for people to find the things they like on you site; making it easier for them to bookmark those things; making it faster for them to end up on social bookmarking sites. What are you waiting for? Get to it!

Manage Your Research Resources Using Social Bookmarking

You can use the Internet to search for almost everything and all it requires is a simple word or phrase. Another thing you can do on the Internet is bookmark certain pages, which you wish to save and go back to later. Whether you are searching for a business or product, or any other topic, you will always find in-depth information. If you love searching and frequently bookmark pages, then in the end you may find it takes you longer to find the actual bookmark than searching for the page itself. However, in situations like this, the use of social bookmarking always helps.

Social Bookmarking Services Online
Bookmarking services can be very much effective for you or even for your business because it saves your valuable time. With the social bookmarking service, you can easily sign up for an account and mark a specific page that you are interested in. You can always use tags in order to see what the link is about and you can also share these to social media networks. Referring back to these sites and looking for the pages will allow you to see the sites others have marked for the same tags.

Research and Bookmarking Services
Doing this, will expedite the task of researching, as it allows you to see the latest updates within the topics you are interested in. If you are searching for some specific services, everything is also narrowed down. Interaction with people who share the same interests also becomes possible and easier.

Plugin and Bookmarking Services
Certain bookmarking services also come in the form of plugins. These can be integrated into your browser and will help you access the same information. A plugin in social bookmarking makes it easier for you to save information on computers, which also makes it easier to recover these sites regardless of where you are. Logging into the service no matter where in the world you are, allows you to retrieve the same information as long as you’re logged in and connected to the internet. Due to these bookmarks, your computer will also receive more space. This gives you more space and memory for many other bookmarks and programs.

How Social Bookmarking Can Improve Your Bottom Line

Bookmarks are something that has been in use since people started reading and referring to specific things in books. As we have moved into the internet age web browsers allowed us to bookmark  our favorite pages so that we did not have to remember them. This is still the most common way that people that are browsing the net make sure that they reference the interesting website by adding it to our bookmarks. Social bookmarking is doing exactly the same thing but we share our bookmarks with others so that they can see pages that others have nominated as interesting.

Social Bookmarking For Business
The great thing about bookmarking and your business is the huge reach of the sites involved. You have potentially millions of people that can be funneled to your, website, blog or landing page by the use of effective social bookmarking.

Websites that are popular for bookmarking have a high reputation and the links back to your content will greatly help your search engine optimization. Your ranking can be greatly improved by using these connecting in a structured and careful way. It is tempting to just post anything you can to as many sites as you can but this will only result in you being penalized making the effort a waste of time. Integrating bookmarking as part of your overall SEO strategy and having it professionally managed will yield the best results bringing more people to your site and increasing sales.

The Right Social Bookmarking Strategy
When bookmarking became popular there was a rush to flood sites with links and this has led sites and search engines to be much more discriminatory. It is important to be diligent and using appropriate content and linking strategies to get the maximum benefit. Less is more can be a great way to describe the right approach to bookmarking.

Think In the Medium to Longer Term with Bookmarking</b >
We all want things done as quickly as possible but good SEO and effective social bookmarking take time to build up. Every piece of content and every back link adds to a growing network that improves the visibility of your site and its search engine ranking. This longevity also means that older content and links will continue to add to your overall ranking making them a valuable way to improve your business.

How to Use Social Bookmarking To Improve Visibility

The most important part of business is letting the customer know that you have the product that they are looking for. If they do not know your business then they cannot purchase from you. A great way to improve your visibility is to use social bookmarking.

This allows people on the internet to search, share and recommend these bookmarks. There are many popular sites and their huge numbers of users combine to rate and recommend things that they are interested in.

The ability to identify a user that has made a good comment or tag and then look at other bookmarks that they have made creates a web that can quickly boost the popularity of products, websites and media. The interlinked way that they are stored and tagged encourages interesting or unusual items to be quickly reviewed making them available to others for further comment.

Top Sites
There are many popular sites that have different approaches to social bookmarking but have similar ways of promoting content and gaining comments.

  • Buzz Feed: Here you can see content that is about to or is going viral.
  • Digg: This is an older site that has a long history of commenting and raising the profile of interesting content and news stories on the internet.
  • Reddit: This is a user driven website that allows posting of text and links. Then people are free to vote to determine where it appears on the website.
  • Stumble Upon: This is a different sort of search engine that relies on users to rate content including websites, pictures and videos.
  • Twitter: One of the most popular social media sites that use short 140 character messages and links to communicate. There is a hash tag system and the ability to have followers makes it a must have tool for any business.

The popularity of these sites has led to some people using techniques such as false accounts and spamming to increase the visibility of their product or website. There is a constant battle to remove these posts and tags so that the websites maintain their credibility. This highlights how important social bookmarking has become as a marketing tool.

The Modern Landscape of Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking has gone through a lot of changes over the years, both in the way that they are used and who uses them. Social bookmarking is a method of saving a link to a specific web page so that you can go back to it at a later time. These bookmarks can be organized into different categories and then easily shared among other people. Towards the end of the first decade of the new millennium, many of the existing social bookmarking sites began to drop in popularity. Over time, several sites emerged as being able to stand the test of time. By using social bookmarking, you can incorporate another form of website SEO to help increase the amount of visitors your website gets.

Before you start using social bookmarking sites, have a general idea of who your target audience is. Some social bookmarking sites are used more by one demographic than another. For example, over 80% of Pinterest users are female. Knowing your audience allows you to provide links that they will find useful. These are the same methods you use for creating relevant content. The more useful they find the links, the more likely they are to interact with your website or visit more than one page. This will help with your websites overall conversion rate.

Keep your audience engaged by providing bookmarking of web pages that have useful content. This is all just an extension of your normal organic SEO techniques. Use some of the same keywords used in your content when describing your links. If your website covers multiple topics, consider categorizing your links on these social bookmarking websites.

The bottom line is that you need to know your audience and provide useful content for them. People will start following your bookmarks and sharing them with others. This helps increase the number of quality backlinks your website has. As with other aspects of website SEO, quality backlinks will increase the amount of traffic your website gets. So start social bookmarking, if you want to drive more visitors to your website.

Three Paths to Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking used to be big, then it died back a little bit, but these days it’s back in the focus of websites’ SEO companies and small businesses everywhere. What is it? Pretty simply, it’s when you create a set of bookmarks about a subject and then stick it out on some public forum for people to vote on and comment about.

Back in the day, the big players were Digg and Reddit. They’re still around today, as are StumbleUpon and Delicious, their second-tier competitors. But the big news today is about Pinterest — and about the swarm of niche-specific social bookmarking sites like design:related, kirtsy, and others. Together, they represent the three main ways of using social bookmarking.

Old School
The originals still work just like they always did: you get accounts on Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and each time you have a new piece of content you want eyes on, you put links up to that content on each of your bookmarking accounts. The more bookmarks you build up, the better of a reputation you get on each site, and the more likely it is that someone will pay attention.

Picture Perfect
Using the likes of Pinterest and Instagram can be more difficult for a small business, because they’re entirely picture-related. If you can’t find something visual — and not just ‘a picture’, but something memorable, eye-catching, and provocative — you may not be able to use these social bookmarking sites. On the other hand, they have such immense traffic and sway over the social sphere that it might just be worth it to put in the effort and make the graphics you need.

The Eclectic Slide
Not every industry has it’s own niche social bookmarking sites — but you’d be amazed. Restaurants. Theatres. Music. Web design. Architecture. Almost anything that causes people’s hearts to stir or their opinions to come bubbling out of their mouths has at least one niche social bookmarking site on the Internet somewhere. These might not be as good of a way to get in touch with your crowd, but it’s a great way to get in touch with your competition.

How To Take the Best Advantage Of Your Press Release Service with Social Media

The humble press release service is probably the most overlooked SEO tools on the market. You bust out a sweet press release and it hits the news channels, and traffic pours in for a few days. Once it dies down, you release another, and so on…but is that the best you can do?

Of course it’s not — there are some extraordinary interactions between social media and press releases that are often ignored.

When you send a press release to PRWeb, for example, you get an option to tweet it when it goes live. Take it! Even if you only have a dozen followers, there’s a chance one of them will retweet (especially if you ask them to), and you can get surprising coverage.

Above and beyond that, you can use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule tweets hours or days later with the link to the release. Just make sure that each tweet points out a different, relevant aspect of the press release.

Your business’ Facebook page should link to the press release, not just through your status, but through your Links page. Include images to increase the impact, and ask your followers to share it with their followers and fans.

You can use the press release as your next blog post, 72 hours or so after it’s released. Don’t cut and paste it; summarize and link to the PRWeb version of the release. If a release really is genuinely newsworthy and it’s getting real attention, don’t hesitate to contact other relevant bloggers and ask them to post their response to the story.

Social Bookmarking
PRWeb has a ‘Share This’ button that opens up a dialog with several prominent social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, Google Buzz, Reddit, and so on. Do this. If you don’t already have accounts on all of those sites, create them — at the minimum, on all four listed plus Digg, Delicious, Kirtsy, Slashdot, and Technorati.

As you develop these strategies, not only will your press releases hit more eyes, but they’ll have more staying power, so they won’t die off as quickly.

Social Bookmarking Is Just The Tip Of The Iceblog

Yeah, iceblog. Because this here piece is all about how social bookmarking is just one (albeit critical) part of socially advertising each and every blog posting your company creates.

We’re clever.

No matter how awesome your blog posts are, if you don’t find a way to get the word out, no one is going to know that James in the Web Department (or Michael the ghostwriter in Seattle) is pumping out awesome content for your website. Sure, if he keeps it up for a year or two, someone will eventually stumble upon him and he’ll blow up crazy large, but until then, you’re basically sitting on your thumbs.

So, you advertise your blog — how? Well, the natural place to start is on social bookmarking sites like Pinterest, Digg, and so on. Why is that the natural place? Because if you really have killer content, it’ll speak for itself and the social bookmarking sites will vote you up — which means more traffic.

Of course, once you’ve done that, you’re done, right? Of course not! Did you even read the title? This is all about all of the work you put in “under the water” trying to get your blog posts read. What else should you be doing?

Interlinking Your Content
When you mention something relevant to a different piece of content in your current post, link it! Not only will you increase the amount of time people spend reading your content, but you’ll be sending clear messages to Google about which pages of content are about which topics.

Submitting Old Posts as Articles
After a post has been up for a few months, it’s lost it’s “new content” shine, and it’s more than OK to syndicate that stuff. Put it up on article directories, get permission to repost it as a guest post on other blogs, wherever it’ll fit — as long as every copy links back to the original.

RSS Aggregators
An amazing number of people get their news through RSS aggregators — the moment after you hit Post on your blog, go to the top 5 RSS aggregators that deal with news relevant to your blog and ping that page.

Is that all that you can do to promote your blog posts? No. Not by a longshot — but it’s a good start and gets you a good way toward the point of diminishing returns.

Blog Posting, Status Updates, Tweets, and the Time it Takes To Write Them All

As the internet gets ever larger, so does the day’s work for a webmaster! Gone are the days when all he had to think about was his own site! Nowadays, any self respecting website owner really does have to have a huge number of peripherals to make sure that he is keeping up with the other sites in his competition.

Firstly, there’s the all important Facebook. That means status updates, links to the website, regular posts and a duty to respond to anyone who happens by. Then there’s Twitter. It’s so important to become an important part of the community in the Twittersphere, so this naturally takes time, and too much of it! Of course then you have the crucial branded blog. If you’ve got a website, you need a blog to run along said it to give you a voice. Well this needs regular blog posts of course, and even once you have written and posted these, your work is not done! You then need to cross reference by posting your blog on your Facebook and Twitter pages!

The work of a website owner is never done! This is of course why so many people enlist the help of SEO companies. Of course, it is to be hoped that they add value through their knowledge and expertise, but at the heart of some decision makers it is often simply because they just don’t have time to do it themselves.

Employ a decent SEO company and you can expect regular blog posting, social bookmarking, they should look after your social media sites, and of course apply standard Website SEO techniques to your website. You’ll of course pay a fee, but this should come back to you in the monetization of your site.

Trying to deal with everything to do with your website is going to be almost impossible if you want it to be successful. Get a bit of help and give your website the chance to be really successful.

You Don’t Have Time To Be Social: Bookmarking the Zuckerberg Way

There’s no getting away from the importance of social media these days. If you have a website, you need to have several social media sites which backup and support your main site, and it’s not uncommon for people to end up spending more time Tweeting than working on their own website! In fact, ask most small businesses how they operate their online website and social media accounts, and the answer will probably be  With difficulty!

A typical day might involve dealing with all of the things that are not website related, which might take you half of your working day. Beyond this, you are going to want to spend a bit of time on your website, you might like to write a blog for your blog site, and you might want to do a bit of socialising with your friends on Twitter, to support your brand further and make sure that you are adding value to that account. On top of this, you also need to think about your Facebook account! Unless you need zero hours of sleep per night, there’s no way that you can get all of this done.

These days most people opt to use a decent SEO company to take on some of their social media campaigns. Of course the last thing you want to do is to get involved with someone who can’t be trusted with your brand, so you do have to make sure you pair up with an Organic SEO company who are going to make sure they do everything by the book.

There’s no reason why you can’t then maintain some control over what you do why not hand over your blogs and Twitter account to the experts, and continue your Social bookmarking and continue to conduct all of your Facebook work. This way you maintain a real connection to the people you deal with, but you allow yourself enough time to do it justice. You’ll feel so much better about the running of your online business, and your site will benefit enormously from the extra time you are able to dedicate to it.

Custom Blog Creation SEO Tip: Link To Your Social Media Profiles In Three Ways

There are lots of variables to think about when you’re doing custom blog creation. Depending on your plugins and your SEO intent, your blog can do everything from semi-automatically pump out keywords at Google like a Texas sharpshooter to lure commenters into generating more relevant keywords for you. But one of the things that every good blog does is link to your company’s social media profiles.

Why? Because you want people who read your blog to sign up for your social media profiles, natch. The more ways that a person interacts with your company online, the more likely they are to become the kind of ‘fan’ that generates backlinks for you — or at least triggers some decent social signals for some of your content. To that end, we encourage every blogger to link up to their company’s social media profiles three ways:

One: Social Bookmarking Buttons
There are a few ways that social bookmarking buttons can be used, depending on the plugin or widget you’re using to display them. The basic social buttons (Pin, Like, Tweet, Share, +1) will put your blog link up on the social profile of the clicker — but you can also set those buttons up so that clicking them links your social media profile instead, and that’s gold.

Two: Sidebar Links
Every custom blog should have buttons or text links in the sidebar that say things like “Follow my Twitter Account”, “Join Us On Facebook”, and all of the other kinds of tripe that you’ve seen before. It might be banal, but it’s there because it works — those links actually are clicked by people who are interested, and that’s what you want.

Three: In Post
Not every post needs to have a call-to-action that begs your audience to come over to your social media profiles and sign up — that gets kind of weak. (Looking at you, SEOmoz.) But when you do, and you should occasionally, you should always make sure that your beg comes in the form of a link to your social media profiles. That way those people who are inclined to follow can do so without interrupting their thought by having to think.

Link up your blog to your profiles like this, and you’ll go a long way toward maximizing your blog’s impact on the social sphere — which is golden.

Videos Are The Most Consumed Media On Earth — And They’re Good Organic SEO, Too

There’s a lot of kinds of media on Earth — you’ve got your TV shows, your Sirius Satellite Radio shows, your YouTube videos, your Wall Street Journals, your The Stranger newspapers, and thousands of others. Looking at them all side-by-side, you might be surprised to learn that the kind of media most consumed worldwide is…YouTube videos. There are a lot of reasons for that — you can, for example, watch more than 400 lolcat videos in the time it takes to peruse most of one Wall Street Journal — but it’s still kind of mind-blowing.

What’s even more amazing is the huge variety of reasons people create YouTube videos. There are those who make them for really prototypical reasons — teenage girls posing in front of the webcam to boost their own egos, for example. But there are also dozens of business uses for YouTube, as Ford’s massive social experiment with the Fiesta proved. Even small and solopreneur businesses have perfectly good uses for YouTube. One of the biggest ones is as a source of organic SEO.

How do videos make a site look better to a search engine? In a couple of solid ways. First, if the video generates any sort of appreciable social reaction (i.e. it gets Tweeted, Shared, Liked, Pinned, or is the subject of any social bookmarking), the link that you planted in the video (or on the video’s page) that goes to your website will squeeze a fraction of YouTube’s massive link juice pheromones onto your website, making it significantly more attractive to an amorous Googlebot.

Second, every YouTube video insertion comes with an opportunity to fill out a BUNCH of text fields that go with it. Description, mouseovers, popups during the video, and a few others are all opportunities to squeeze keywords onto your video site — and every keyword on your video site, because it links back to your main site, helps Google understand what your main site is supposed to be about.

There are other SEO benefits to a cleverly-constructed and -submitted video, too, but those two alone make video SEO a great way to get your site friendly with Google.

Spending Time Is Key with Social Media, so Save Some With PPC Management.

Social media is kind of like the opposite of having meetings — you can spend as much time as you care to on both, but while meetings tend to decrease in value quickly over time, social media increases in value the more you time you take with it. After all, your followers love to know that there’s a real life person with a take on things and a life on the other end of their favorite product or service.

So how do you find yourself the time to spend on Twitter, Facebook, social bookmarking sites like Pinterest, and so forth? By taking some of your other time-consuming tasks and finding other people to do them for you.

Let’s take, for example, your pay-per-click advertising campaigns. If you currently do your own PPC, you have a pretty good idea of how much time it takes. You can spend weeks just coming up with a set of keywords to populate your search query list with. Then, once the campaign is under way, you’re constantly monitoring your spend-per-keyword, conversions-per-keyword, and so forth, trying to minimize your cost-per-visitor while maximizing your total conversions per timeframe.

If you instead saved all of that time and pain and handed the job off to a PPC management firm, you could take those hours back and spend them on your social marketing instead. And when you get right down to it, you have to recognize that the people on Facebook and Twitter would rather hear from the capo directly than from some punk hired to talk to them — whereas the numbers don’t particularly give a damn who crunches them.

And in the end, which is more rewarding to you: putting your personality and ideas out there and having people who appreciate them tell you how cool you are for doing what you do, or long division? The contest isn’t a particularly hard one for social media to win. So find someone who knows how to massage a PPC campaign into supremacy and let them to the job — you go be you.

Talk To Your Fans With Social: Bookmarking Your Best Comments

One of the most wonderful — and frustrating — elements of dealing with social media is the entirely open-ended nature of the interactions, and more specifically your opportunities to interact with the interactions themselves. That was awfully vague, so let’s make an example here to illustrate:

You post an announcement on a social site — say, you update your Facebook page to let your players know that you’re releasing a new level for your iOS zombie combat app. You get a few dozen Likes and several dozen comments, one of which turns out to be a long and loving critique of your existing levels and some suggestions for your new one.

What do you do with that? You could just leave it there. You could Like it. But this is the world of social media, my friend: your options are endless. If you really want to encourage this level of interaction from your crowd (and you should!), show them you mean it by putting a big-ass spotlight on that comment. Like it, Tweet it, and then take it to social bookmarking and hit it with a Pin, a Digg, and a Reddit.

What does that do for you? It certainly doesn’t have any immediate, cost-benefit-analysis kind of repercussions — it’s several minutes of relative downtime for you and a huge ego boost for some kid who happens to love your work. But this is the world of social media, my friend: every action has a consequence. When you go out of your way to highlight something you enjoy, you show your crowd what you want to see out of them — and assuming that they like you in the first place, they’re going to produce more of the same.

This can actually start to look like a passable organic SEO strategy: if you start highlighting people’s backlinks to you and making a big deal out of them, more people will backlink to you, hoping for a bit of your attention. However you play it, just remember that there are always ways to manipulate the social scene and get your fans to play along.

Forum Posting, Blog Posting, Social Bookmarking, Directory Submission…Are You Tired Yet?

Man, there’s a lot to do when you’re trying to perform basic SEO for a website. We’ve all learned by now, given Panda, Penguin, Farmer, and the other Google updates that it’s a bad, bad, bad, bad idea to use automated backlinking services. Whether it’s as simple as a directory submission daemon that submits a link to 10,000 directories in 15 minutes or a complex, multifaceted backlinking scheme like the now-defunct BuildMyRank, Google will figure out when you’re scamming illegitimate backlinks, and they well punish your sorry butt for doing it.

So the only thing that’s left is to build legitimate, white-hat backlinks the slow way: by hand. But who has time to spend a few hours each day developing a relationship with a few different forums (for forum posting backlinks, natch), plus a few more each day carefully crafting killer custom content to put up on your blog (posting at least twice a week, mind you), plus a few more each day doing utterly brainless directory submissions to make sure your website has the proper “background radiation” of low-value, low-effort links, plus a few more every day busting out your social bookmarking skills on Pinterest and Reddit and then tacking the obligatory interaction with the followers on Twitter and Facebook?

I got tired writing that sentence, much less actually doing all of the stuff id describes. That kind of online marketing isn’t something that’s realistic for a small business to achieve in-house, end of story. But it’s something that businesses that want to be successful in the Internet arena basically have to get done.

That’s why a bunch of clever people got together a decade and a half ago and invented the SEO company. You pay us money, and we have a huge team of dedicated experts who actually get their daily grins by romancing abstruse forums, Tweeting to your customer base, and yes, even by copy-pasting your information into hundreds of nearly-identical directories. Does it cost a bit more than it would for you to do it in-house? Of course — we’re experts, and there’s a lot of us working for you for your few hundred bucks each month. Is it worth it? You’re darn right is.

If you don’t believe it, try blowing a few days of your life on it and see how you feel. Then let us do what we do best, and we’ll leave you to take care of the utterly incomprehensible and bafflingly tedious (to us) thing you call “running the rest of your business.”

Social Bookmarking For Increased Interaction: Where Should You Put the Buttons?

Social bookmarking was once the number one way of socially interacting with other people online — for about two months back in the early noughties, before MySpace and Facebook blossomed — but it’s far from dead today. Digg is still doing basically the same thing today that it did back in the day: gathering the most interesting news (with the definition of ‘interesting’ being crowdsourced) and putting it all where you can read it. Reddit has turned into a hundred different cultures called subReddits that vary in their nature from arch-conservative to /b/tarded (look it up…if you don’t already know.) Other social bookmarking sites from StumbleUpon to the juggernaut called Pinterest are doing darn good business these days, too.

So it’s pretty obvious that getting social bookmarking buttons attached to your content is a good idea — but just slapping buttons all over everything is kind of slapdash (no pun intended). Let’s do a thought experiment.

You’re reading an awesome blog posting — one of the best you’ve read in a long time. It’s teaching you, inspiring you, and making you reconsider some of your fundamental assumptions about some aspect of your life. You’ve just reach the crescendo, and you’re thinking about how much your cousin Eric and grandma Norma would love to read this…when you reach a big fat “Share” button with the Facebook logo on it sitting on the sidebar.

Click. Off you go into Facebook land, where you share the article, only to get distracted by uncle Denny’s commentary about his new granddaughter, and you’ve completely lost the vibe.

The same thing can easily happen on a squeeze page, sales letter, video content, or basically anything else you happen to be consuming. So how do you avoid the phenomenon? That depends on the answer to a simple question: what are you asking the surfer to do?

If you have a strong call-to-action that ends with a sale, subscription or other such consumer event, you put the share buttons on the other side of the interaction. You want them to buy more than you want them to share, so put the purchase in front of the buy.

If this particular piece of content ends with a link to another piece of content, and that content has the call-to-action on it, the logic changes. You don’t want to distract the customer from reaching your final call-to-action, so you put the sharing buttons on the top of the initial content — so that their focus stays on what they’re consuming, and when they reach the link, they click it. Again, the purpose is to make a sale, and those people who love your content enough to scroll back up to the top and click “share” are a bonus.

Of course, if the entire purpose is to generate a social buzz, you want the buttons on a floating bar that’s constantly visible no matter where along the content they are.

In short, social buttons are amazing for generating a buzz, but you don’t want the buzz to detract from your profit margins.

Every Custom Blog Creates It’s Own Following With Social Media Buttons

These days, there’s no such thing as a blog that isn’t a marketing tool. Even if you’re just a single dad blogging about your daily life, every blog is a money-making venture. If you’re not profiting from your blog, guaranteed whoever is hosting it is. And there’s nothing wrong with that — but it does mean that blogs are, quite justifiably, ranked by observers largely based on the size of the crowds they draw.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to get a decent following going. Be edgy and vaguely inflammatory, post regularly and with a consistent topic and voice, and by all means encourage your crowd to grow itself. That means lavishing social media buttons all over your custom blog. Creating a following is often as easy as showing people how easy it is to tell their friends about things they love.

Whether you start with the basics, like Facebook and Google Plus; you go old-school with the Digg and Reddit-style social bookmarking buttons; or you get into the mass-sharing arena with Tweet and Pinterest buttons, putting some kind of social media buttons — if not all of them — on your blog is a great way to grow your readership. After all, people love to share the things they enjoy with their friends and family. Rather than make them email URLs back and forth to one another, give them a simple button that they can push that will tell everyone about the coolness automatically.

Nothing can guarantee that you’ll go viral, but shouldn’t you give your followers every chance to make it happen? Especially if you mention the buttons (subtly of course), or just make them very obvious and flashy, your articles will naturally find their way out into the world.

Just as importantly, you’ll be able to judge your posts’ success based on the number of people who click on the buttons. By paying attention over a few months, you’ll be able to get an idea of what your followers actually care about — or are at least entertained by. Replicate those, keep your base growing, and you’ll be a hit.