One common fear for organizations that are thinking about launching a social media campaign is, “Will we have enough relevant content to share with potential followers and how will we find it?” Now, with the advent of social media and sites devoted to serving up interest-based content, the answer is yes.
Social media is able to connect people from all different backgrounds and interests just by a click of the mouse. But with so many sites and profiles to maintain at once, it can become insanely difficult to not only keep everything straight, but also to remember where it all came from, thus the invention of “social bookmarking.”
Social bookmarking 101
Bookmarking isn’t a new concept; when flipping through a magazine or a book and something catches your eye, you earmark it for later. Social bookmarking isn’t any different, just not as limited to print and on a much grander scale. Content management sites, like the ones mentioned below, are dedicated to constantly delivering relevant and up-to-date information about any and all topics deemed interesting or of value to your interests. Social bookmarking just makes it easier to scan and provide information back to your followers.
Who’s on first?
Delicious, the world’s leading social bookmarking service, first coined the term social bookmarking as a way for Internet surfers to use, organize, manage and store information found from online resources as bookmarks. Similarly to saving favorite websites while surfing, social bookmarking created several sites to manage your favorite content. Delicious went on to launch StumbleUpon, a content management site that serves up interesting web pages, video and content based on your individual likes and dislikes. This prompted several other sites to be born, such as: Mashable, a social media news blog, Digg, focusing on technology, politics and entertainment, Reddit, a news site driven solely by content users find interesting (instead of the media) and finally, one of the most recent and fastest growing sites, Pinterest.
Stick a pin in it
Pinterest is a content sharing site that allows members to “pin” or bookmark images and videos to their bulletin or pinboards. The site follows the standard social networking platform, but functions most similarly to Twitter. Once you’ve created category boards (e.g. “For the Home,” “Recipes,” “My Style,” “Crafts,” “Books,” and “Hair & Beauty”) you can surf the site and pin things you find interesting to the corresponding category boards, or you can choose to follow certain users as they publish and post new things.
Follow the (social media) yellow brick road
As described, the possibilities on gathering and re-posting information are endless, but since there are so many different options, the whole process can seem a bit daunting and overwhelming. In order to wade through the chaos, figure out your niche market, who your target demographic is, and how you want to communicate with them. Then, determine which social bookmarking site would best serve-up the most varied information suitable to your criteria, and finally disseminate the information via your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts.
Additionally, social bookmarking sites are great for getting ideas about your own content marketing plans or articles you might write (in your own words, with your own twist) on your blog or other social media platforms. These sites are also great for capturing relevant information within your industry in order to keep on top of the latest trends, use case studies in upcoming presentations, show off infographics to make a point, etc. Social bookmarking is just another tool to keep content organized and easy to refer to later.
Caution! Posting discretion is advised
If you use social bookmarking sites for the sole purpose of re-posting and curating content, proceed with caution. Depending on how frequent and relevant your posts are, the more apt your target demographic is to follow; however, if your posts begin spamming your followers’ news feeds they may become turned off. Just like Coco Chanel said, “Take a look in the mirror and remove one item before going out.” Using your best judgment on posting frequency is key, but remember, there is always tomorrow to post.
What is your favorite social bookmarking site? How do you prefer to use social bookmarks? For your own benefit? To share with followers? A mixture of both?