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If you use the internet, you will be aware that you can save your favourite websites in a folder, or collection of folders, called favourites or bookmarks. You can then go back to the web page next time you are online, just by clicking on to the page title. Social bookmarking works on a similar basis. Rather than storing the links on your browser, you visit a bookmarking website, where your favourite links are collected.
The best known social bookmarking sites include Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon. Site users can share bookmarks with their friends, and can access sites of similar interest. There are opportunities for business owners to share information with colleagues also to promote their enterprise.
Social bookmarking sites work by inviting visitors to register. Account holders can then bookmark pages they come across while surfing. Many websites, particularly those that give information, such as articles or blogs, will highlight a number of bookmarking sites, including social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Some of the other links will be to bookmarking sites, such as Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit You just click on to the icon that relates to the site you have registered with, and the web page you are currently viewing will be added to your bookmarks. On some sites, such as Delicious, you can add tags to your bookmarks, which results in a far more flexible storage system than folders.
One of the main advantages of bookmarking your favourite links online is that you can view your bookmarks on any computer or mobile device. As with social networks, most users of bookmarking site are individuals who share links with their friends. Businesses have realised that there are many benefits to be had from bookmarking sites. Business uses can be categorised into research, sharing of information, promotion and search engine marketing.
Business owners wishing to keep abreast of their customers’ lifestyles or check on what their competitors are up to will find the bookmarking sites far more powerful than the conventional search engines Search results from bookmarking sites are more reflective of current opinion and fact. Not only can you view the sites you have bookmarked, but you can also look at sites that your friends are following, as well as what other posts are related to your bookmarks.
Companies can also use social bookmarking to communicate specific information to particular groups, for example, an online induction pack for new employees. It is possible, through creating groups, to control what information is made available to particular people. Businesses can also utilise the power of social bookmarking in order to share information with customers and prospective clients. For example, if a company wanted to release advance information of a new promotion to a select group of customers, they can target the announcement accordingly.
Social bookmarks can be used to attract targeted traffic to the company’s website. The posts that a company shares online will include a link to the appropriate landing page. Inbound links are a major factor in achieving a high-ranking in the search engines. Sharing company information, through informative articles and blogs, will attract highly targeted traffic to the corporate website. Clearly, social bookmarking adds a new dimension to internet marketing.
According to Ebiz MBA, the online knowledge base, the top five social bookmarking sites are:
1. Twitter, with 89.8 million unique monthly visitors
2. Digg (27.5m)
3. Yahoo Buzz! (16m)
4. Reddit (15.5m)
5. StumbleUpon (15m)
Social bookmarking, as the above figures indicate, has become a very powerful web marketing tool. It is free and available to all who wish to take advantage.