Filed under: Social media tips
If you belong, like me, to the generation who considers it normal to actually have met most of your friends in the flesh you’ll probably be a little wary of all things techie, especially techie things which involve the word ‘social’.
However, social networking and social bookmarking shouldn’t be overlooked for any business and, as we all know, if you’ve no web presence these days you basically don’t exist. OK, so slightly cynical mutterings over, what is all this social bookmarking stuff, how do you use it and what sites should you consider exposing yourself on?
Out of the Stone Age
So, second things first let’s look at ‘bookmarking’. This is basically an online version of that old favourite the ‘favourites’ tab on your browser. Back in Stone Age of the internet you could add things to your favourites, on one computer, but the moment you left the house (or the room) you couldn’t access a single thing. If you wanted to share it with anyone you’d have to drag them all the way along the corridor and into the room. I can’t actually remember how we all managed in those days? Can you? Anyway, enter the remarkable world of web based bookmarking. You sign up for an account, add your favourites and hey presto, you’ve got some favourites that will be available even at the top of Mt Everest – assuming you can get a signal up there.
Creating a following
The social bit comes in as you can make ‘friends’ with people on the site, you can follow people who appear to be much cooler than you and you can gather your own following.
Now, let’s cut to the chase, for businesses this is gold dust. Find people that are following sites like yours and you have a ready-made, often very willing, target audience. Bookmarking sites are not only a great place to find your desired audience, but also equally good to get that audience spreading the word – about you.
For PR purposes you’ll need to spend some time checking out links between users and identifying those with larger followings. These offer the chance to hook up with already trusted individuals in your clients niche, and then to pitch to them.
Where are all the robots?
Like Twitter and Facebook, social bookmarking sites have one significant advantage over search engines. Robots aren’t very good at assessing relevance or content, they think they are but they’re not. There’s some risk here for PR professionals; social networking sites of all kinds use humans, instead of algorithms, to filter content. This is the good old, fashioned word of mouth stuff that PR is built on, just without the mouths. Pitch poorly and you’ll be ignored; try to sell and you’ll be ignored. Talk, chat, post relevant content on your own profile and make friends with leading ‘bookmarkers’. Spend time on this one and the results can be incredible.
When it comes to bookmarking sites it’s worth picking carefully. It all depends on the industry that you are marketing too, so check out the most relevant for your client. For PR purposes, like all things PR, there is no gain without pain – using social bookmarking sites needs a certain amount of commitment (as with blogging and social media marketing). Interacting with other users is crucial, as is providing quality and relevant information.
The beauty of PR using social bookmarking is the opportunities it offers to find exactly the audience you are looking for – by targeting those with larger followings you can also leave some of the work to your new found friends.
Carlo Pandian is a freelance writer based in London and blogs for Media Recruitment on public relations, careers and social media marketing. Social bookmarking sites are an effective tool for PR and marketing purposes. Creating links with individuals who are already interested in your products can gain valuable exposure and spread the word in no time.
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