It is difficult to determine the best social bookmarking site for your business simply because the social media landscape is constantly changing. If you keep abreast of both the trends and the needs of your customers you can stay ahead of the game.
Getting the Full Story
Any website claiming to have absolute knowledge of current trends in social media is at best mistaken and at worst lying. There are many places that offer "snapshots" of the current state of the Internet's social trends, though, and they can be very useful in planning your company's strategy. For example, CMO.com (a site with many resources for Chief Marketing Officers) recently published its Guide to the Social Media Landscape. Using clear, color-coded charts, it helps determine how the most popular sites can meet your social bookmarking needs. Rating each site in terms of customer communication, brand exposure, traffic to your site, and search-engine optimization, the chart also has some helpful tips on making each service work even better for you.
- Twitter: In just a few years Twitter has become a worldwide phenomenon. CMO.com puts it at the top of the list, and rates it as "good" for both customer communication and brand exposure. It's only so-so for building traffic and improving search-engine ratings, though, mainly due to the difficulty in creating a truly effective Twitter marketing campaign.
- Facebook: The most successful community site rates similarly to Twitter in everything except SEO. Because your page does not show up on search engines such as Google or Bing, your 500,000 friends on Facebook won't help your search engine rankings at all.
- Flickr: Almost the reverse of Facebook, this very popular photo-sharing site does very little good for communication and brand exposure and only moderate good for generating site traffic. However, the photos are heavily indexed by search engines and the site has many add-ons, so Flickr can be a great way to increase your rank over competitors.
- YouTube: Surprisingly, YouTube is one of the best social bookmarking sites in terms of communication, exposure, and SEO. This is because it encourages cross-linking to other videos and other sites right on each video's page, and the ability of the video to go viral and beyond the web makes it even more useful to businesses.
CMO also lists five other sites on their chart, in roughly descending order of usefulness: Digg.com, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and del.icio.us, along with tips on how to compensate for each site's failings.
Social vs. Bookmarking
Another business resource site, eBizMBA.com, has a list of sites that are specifically used for the bookmarking aspect of social networking. The difference is subtle, because people can use Twitter to share a favorite link as easily as Digg.com (eBizMBA's number two pick, as opposed to Facebook). Even more surprisingly, Yahoo's service scored number three, and sites like Facebook and Flickr weren't even included.
Part of the discrepancy is due to the the different measurements used. CMO is looking for the sites that are most useful to have a corporate presence on, whereas eBizMBA is simply measuring unique site visits and other traffic ratings such as Quantcast and Alexa. These services measure the "buzz" around a site but are not necessarily good indications of whether your business would benefit.
Staying Ahead of the Current
It's important to constantly review the social bookmarking trends your customers use. In 2008, Digg was widely considered as the top site, even though Twitter had been around for a couple of years. As of 2011, Twitter is number one on all the sites, and shows no sign of giving ground.
A good social media manager will find out what networks and bookmarking sites their customers use and focus their efforts on building a real presence there. In addition, following blogs such as the social media CMO feed gives them their own social bookmarking resource targeted to issues pertaining to SEO and marketing in a social web.
It's important to remember that no matter what the reports and statistics say, the best social bookmarking site for your company is the one that brings you closer to your customers.