Larry BraunerI’m writing about social bookmarking sites because of comments on my Facebook page indicating that people could still be unfamiliar with social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking sites are meta resources that help us to catalog and organize the vast amount of resources that can be found on the web from web pages to pictures to videos and more.

Social Bookmarking Sites Defined

My broad definition of social bookmarking sites is this:

Social bookmarking sites are websites that people use to save, categorize, share and search bookmarks, i.e., links and descriptive data, that refer to resources, such as web pages and other types of web media.

It’s important to note that the resources themselves aren’t being shared on social bookmarking sites, but rather bookmarks referring to the resources. Bookmarks themselves are the content on social bookmarking sites.

My definition of social bookmarking sites includes not only sites explicitly created for bookmark sharing, but multipurpose social networking sites, as well.

Reasons for Social Bookmarking Sites

There are a variety reasons for employing social bookmarking sites, such as saving links, sharing links with others, conducting research and generating traffic.

When generating traffic, it’s essential to share one’s own links sparingly, in order to appear neither as a social bookmarking abuser nor as a spammer.

Popular Social Bookmarking Sites

Social Bookmarking SitesI suggest to you a recent list of popular social bookmarking sites to check out. Let me append Facebook and LinkedIn to that list, which already includes Twitter, since Facebook-page and LinkedIn updates are much like Twitter tweets in that you can explain your links, and your bookmarks are indexed by and available through search engines.

Neither Twitter, Facebook nor LinkedIn are pure social bookmarking sites, as they weren’t created explicitly for social bookmarking.

While Twitter does enable some categorization using hashtags, Facebook and LinkedIn do not, which may have been the reason for excluding them from the eBizMBA list of social bookmarking sites cited.

I personally use a number of the social bookmarking sites in the eBizMBA list including Digg, but I especially like StumbleUpon and plan to use it more and more over time.

My favorite social bookmarking sites that don’t yet receive sufficient traffic to qualify for the eBizMBA list are Business Exchange and Amplify.

Exploring Social Bookmarking Sites

Preferences for social bookmarking sites are different for each individual and project. If you’re new to social bookmarking, explore, experiment and discover the social bookmarking sites that fit your objectives and style.

Karin Boode has started a social bookmarking group on the Small Business Networking site to help us learn from and share our findings with each other. You’re invited to join.

Let’s hear about your experiences with social bookmarking and social bookmarking sites.

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Larry BraunerTo what extent do you benefit from social bookmarking sites in your social media projects?

Paul Chaney, author of The Digital Handshake, reveals in his recent article, Social bookmarking’s place in the marketing spectrum, that surprisingly few social media marketers understand and use social bookmarking sites.

Social media practitioners seem to be unaware that social bookmarking sites can send traffic and help them make important connections, and they also seem to be unclear about how social bookmarking sites really work.

I myself only dabbled in social bookmarking until recently. I submitted my own articles exclusively to a variety of social bookmarking sites and gained very little benefit from my efforts.

Using Social Bookmarking Sites Effectively

In December, I joined Business Week’s Business Exchange and adopted a very social and spam-free strategy. In 12 Tips for Using Business Week’s Social Bookmarking Site, I detailed the approach that I had developed for using Business Exchange. This approach has since served as a prototype my use of other social bookmarking sites as well.

Thanks to my change of strategy, I now receive nearly 1,000 visits per month to  my blog from social bookmarking sites, and the number of visits keeps growing. I’ve also met some wonderful people.

The following are 10 tips for using social bookmarking sites effectively:

  1. Focus on a small number of social bookmarking sites. Don’t take on more sites than you can easily manage.
  2. Look for social bookmarking sites that are appropriate for your particular niche.
  3. Bookmark only high-quality relevant content that’s genuinely worth sharing with other site members.
  4. Don’t bookmark only your own content, since doing so is spammy.
  5. Always be on the lookout for additional content to share.
  6. Bookmark frequently enough that fellow members can get to know you.
  7. Look for opportunities to engage and help other members both on and off the social bookmarking site.
  8. Abide by the policies and norms specific to each of social bookmarking sites you join. Take the time to learn how to use each site by reading articles and watching what others are doing. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  9. Help grow each of your favorite social bookmarking sites by inviting your friends and colleagues to become members.
  10. Be patient. Make adjustments as necessary. Rome wasn’t build in a day. (You probably didn’t realize that the Romans even used social bookmarking sites.)

My Favorite Social Bookmarking Sites

I invite you to join the social bookmarking sites where I’m currently active:

  • Business Exchange - As the name implies, this social bookmarking site is business oriented. It attracts high caliber business users and members of the info elite. I believe that site improvements are on the drawing board or underway.
  • StumbleUpon - This site is suitable for all niches. To use it, you need to download and install the StumbleUpon toolbar.
  • Amplify - This site is also for everybody and is a good syndication site too. Download and install the Amplify bookmarklet for easy bookmarking.

I also invite you to subscribe to my blog and to share your thoughts about social bookmarking sites in the comment area below. :-)

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Larry BraunerIn 8 Simple Ways to Penetrate Social Media Clutter, I recommended  that you leverage multiple traffic sources. In Looking for Traffic in All the Wrong Places, I gave you a partial list of the places I look to get more website traffic.

Based upon Google Analytics data pertaining to my recent blog visits, bounce rates and average time on site, I present my top 10 blog traffic sources along with some notes on each:

  1. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing - They account for 35% of my traffic. When my blog was new, I didn’t get any search engine traffic at all. Now, however, I get 5,000 visits from searches per month — including business people seeking precisely the types of services I offer. The credit goes to search engine optimization and to a growing reservoir of content.
  2. Entrecard, a traffic exchange for bloggers - Admittedly, Entrecard provides me with lots of worthless traffic. Fortunately, however, the site provides me with some great traffic too and an opportunity to build key relationships with other bloggers. One of my favorites at Entrecard is Gera from Uruguay, owner of the Sweets Foods blog. He and I are now also connected by email, Facebook and Twitter. As with all other traffic sources, to benefit from Entrecard you’ll need to make a long-term commitment to developing it.
  3. Twitter - I’ve written at length about Twitter. Read Twitter Stats Defy Measurement. I’m happy to have started with Twitter in 2008 when Twitter’s rules didn’t get in the way of building a large following. Today, different tactics are necessary to connect with your target audience. Start by encouraging your website visitors and friends on social networking sites to follow you on Twitter. Then gradually introduce new Twitter tools into your mix. My favorite tool, Tweet Adder, which I use daily, is worth the small investment.
  4. Facebook - I turned my attention to Facebook in June 2009 and experimented with the NetworkedBlogs application, which may have introduced new readers to my blog, but proved to be a poor source of ongoing traffic. On the other hand, profiles, fan pages and events showed themselves to be excellent traffic sources. It seems to me, so far, that Facebook fan pages are very effective as a form of web site subscription.
  5. Ning social network - I’m sorry to report that Ning has morphed into a host of unrelated niche sites. If you have your own Ning site, or a group or lots of friends on someone else’s Ning site, you can use that site to move traffic. As with Twitter, getting started with Ning is harder than it used to be, and the marketing benefits are fewer. I belong to many Ning sites and have several of my own. My primary Ning site is Small Business Network.
  6. Business Exchange - Discovered this social bookmarking site recently and wrote about it in 12 Tips for Using Business Week’s Social Bookmarking Site. I’m hoping that Business Exchange will help me generate a lot of high quality traffic in the year to come.
  7. Blog Catalog - If you have a blog and decide to use BlogCatalog, start your own group there; make many friends on the site and invite them to join your group. Those who join are interested in you and your group’s theme.
  8. StumbleUpon - Planning to learn much more about StumbleUpon and use it much more this year. I’ll keep you posted.
  9. LinkedIn - While well connected on LinkedIn, I’m not using it much at present. Most of my LinkedIn traffic is coming as a result of the Twitter LinkedIn integration.
  10. Ryze - Here I first encountered online social networking back in 2003. I  find Ryze very underwhelming in 2010. The traffic I get from Ryze comes from posting in groups, which are really forums.

I believe that Blogger is sending me websitetraffic because of Google Friend Connect. Also, I heard a rumor that Yahoo! is dumping MyBlogLog. Will let you know about both of them.

You made it all the way down here. Why not scroll down a drop more and leave a comment? ;-)

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Larry BraunerLooking over my traffic stats several weeks ago, I was very surprised to notice that a single visitor had been referred to my blog by Business Week.

I traced the visit back to Business Exchange, Bloomberg Business Week’s social bookmarking site “that helps professionals discover and organize information from across the Web… a great way to share content and find the most relevant news on business topics.”

Anita Campbell, a Twitter friend and CEO of Small Business Trends, “an online small biz community reaching over 250,000 each month,” had saved my blog post, The Social Media ROI Obsession, on the Business Exchange site. Somebody evidently clicked through to my blog to read the article.

Once I arrived at Business Exchange, I quickly realized that this social media site was much more upscale and business-like than the social bookmarking sites with which I was familiar, and I saw BX as a potential venue for sharing content and networking up with corporate executives and media elite.

On Friday, Business Exchange notified me that I will be the featured user starting Tuesday, December 22nd at approximately 9:15am ET and lasting for 24 hours. I thought therefore that this would be an opportune moment to write about the Business Exchange site.

Business Exchange Site Basics

These are the principal ways you interact with the Business Exchange site. You can:

  • join and set up your account
  • search topics and people (note that the search box is tucked away at the bottom, way below the fold)
  • bookmark articles you discover into one or more topics
  • browse articles that have previously been bookmarked
  • react to articles that you or others have bookmarked
  • save topics and articles of interest for easy future access
  • follow other users
  • explore users’ links
  • subscribe to other users’ activity

Here are 12 easy ways that you can benefit from the Business Exchange site:

  1. When you join, choose the option to link your Business Exchange and LinkedIn profiles. Your LinkedIn information will automatically be filled in on your Business Exchange profile page, and you will be able to easily send invitations to your LinkedIn connections.
  2. You can let Business Exchange automatically post your reactions to LinkedIn and Twitter. I checked off the box for LinkedIn but not for Twitter. It’s your decision.
  3. Bookmark only high quality business articles that fit into existing topics. Add each article to as many topics as apply, up to five, the maximum. You’ll receive contribution points, one for each topic.
  4. You may bookmark your own high quality business articles, but if you bookmark only your content, you’re likely to be labeled a spammer, and your standing on Business Exchange will be jeopardized.
  5. You don’t have to bookmark articles to participate actively. You can react to articles bookmarked by others and receive a contribution point for each reaction.
  6. Other users will likely “size you up” based on your your contribution points, the quality of your contributions and reactions, the number of users following you, your profile and your links.
  7. Follow users who interest you. Don’t expect them to follow back automatically, and don’t automatically follow users who follow you.
  8. Explore other users’ links. You might discover a blog or other website that you’ll like. You may also find a way to connect up with them at another site and network together. Let them know that you’re both Business Exchange users.
  9. On LinkedIn, if you and another member belong to a common group, you can send an invitation without knowing that member’s email. If that person just followed you on Business Exchange or is a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION), extend an invitation and mention Business Exchange.
  10. Use the Business Exchange home page interface to invite LinkedIn connections. X-out people you don’t really know, so that you don’t risk spamming them. Customize your invitation message. Those who join will be added as mutual followers automatically.
  11. When telling friends about Business Exchange or promoting the site, link directly to your profile. You want that they should get the idea to follow you if they join.
  12. The Business Exchange site tends to be slow. Be patient. It’s worth waiting. Business Exchange is in beta, and hopefully Business Week is addressing the response time problem at this very moment.


I’ve been pleased with the articles bookmarked at Business Exchange and the quality of traffic my blog has received from the site. I hope you’ll have a similar good experience with Business Exchange.

Before you go, please subscribe and leave me a comment. See you on Business Exchange. :-)

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