There was a time, many, many years ago, when people got their information from flipping through printed papers, commonly known as books, and they’d mark their spot with something called a “bookmark”…
No, but seriously — in the age of the internet, it’s tough to keep track of all your social media posts, windows, tabs and apps, and tougher still to remember where you left that article you were saving for later. And readers of your site likely have the same problem. That’s where social bookmarking comes in.
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Social bookmarking is a way for users to search, manage, organize, and share web pages. Social bookmarking sites and apps make it easy to share content you find valuable and discover new trends.
Unlike your browser bookmarks, social bookmarks aren’t limited to one place. Social bookmarking sites are web-based tools, which means the content you save can be accessed from any device.
Your browser has a built-in bookmarking feature, but that’s limited to your specific browser. As you might’ve guessed, social bookmarking’s difference lies in the word “social.” Sure, you can keep your bookmarks to yourself, but it’s just as easy to curate bookmarks for the public — or specific groups.
In fact, social bookmarking websites almost function like enclosed, highly curated search engines. Even better, they have (generally constructive) comment sections and voting functions, meaning users work together to ensure content is relevant, specific and of the best quality.
You’re likely already using social bookmarking sites like Pinterest as powerful search engines.
Social bookmarking is a great way for internet users, in general, to save and share important information. Knowing how to use these sites is a skill that every social media manager should have in their arsenal.
Here are just some of the benefits of social bookmarking:
Identify trending topics
While traditional search engines and trend reports are handy in the long term, they aren’t always the quickest at identifying trends as they’re happening.
With social bookmarking, you can identify trending topics as they unfold based on the behaviors and choices of the people you follow. Build enough of a following, and you might even be able to influence the trends, too.
Trending topics on Digg.
Rank your content
Social bookmarking sites sniff out spam a mile away, but if you use them more organically, you can still participate in best backlinking practices that will help rank your content higher in search engines overall.
In general, backlinks (the number of links pointing to a specific web address) are the number one factor that influences your rank on search engines. Google interprets each link to your article as a vote of confidence, so the more links you earn, the higher you rank.
If you share links to your content when appropriate, you can use social bookmarking sites to earn more organic backlinks to your content. But be careful! If you act like a spammer, you’ll be treated like one. As long as you’re chill about it, link-building is a great tool to round out your SEO strategy.
Build team cohesion
Because you can bookmark links and then share them with others, you can use social bookmarking to develop robust packages for your team.
Whether it’s a series of social media guidelines, a batch of examples for copywriting projects, a list of inspirational ad campaigns or, really, any other collection of content, you can curate it and share it internally with your brand. A tool like Hootsuite Amplify is perfect for this purpose since it allows you to distribute valuable content to your number one advocates — your employees.
Network with like-minded folks
It’s not just about building your brand via SEO. Social bookmarking also provides invaluable access to other users from around the world who have a similar interest in your particular niche.
That’s because there’s networking built right into the platform — without being obnoxious, you can comment, discuss or maybe even debate with other users within your particular niche. The most obvious example would be using a biking subreddit to promote your bike shop — just by showing up, offering valuable insights and having the name of your shop in your profile. Use the tool correctly, and you’ll be able to expand your community with ease.
There are literally hundreds of social bookmarking sites to choose from, and some of them are ones you might be using already.
Here’s a list of a few of our favorite popular social bookmarking sites.
Free to use
Digg launched in its current form in 2012, and is a long-running news aggregator that many believe was the inspiration for Reddit. The site is mostly used to share articles about science, technology and current events.
In addition to curating top trending stories, Digg also allows users to publish their own articles on the platform.
Free to use
Owned by eBay and formerly known as StumbleUpon, Mix is a powerful social bookmarking tool (available on desktop or in app form) that allows users to save content based on their interests, thus curating highly-tailored content experiences.
It’s not just personal, either — friends or collaborators can follow your Mix profile and see the articles you’ve curated. This is a great way to build influence and showcase relevant links from your organization.
3. Hootsuite Streams
Available with a Hootsuite plan
We’d be failing you if we didn’t let you know about our own easy-to-use aggregation tool. Hootsuite Streams allows you to follow up to 10 sources at once. It’s a simple platform to keep track of multiple information sources, curate content and share it with your team.
Free to use, paid upgrade available
Having existed since 2007, Scoop.it is one of the veterans in the social bookmarking space. The company allows users to create “journals” where they bookmark articles across various topics, which are then aggregated across blogs.
There’s also private sharing for bookmarks or the ability to share them on social media. Free accounts are allowed up to two topics, while there’s a robust business platform for professionals who upgrade.
Free to use
The app encourages social bookmarking by allowing users to pin items to boards. In fact, that’s really its main feature.
Plus, if you’re a retailer, you can go a step further and sell directly through pins, thus making it even easier to sell online.
Free to use
One of the longest-running sites on the list, Slashdot was first launched in 1997 and billed as a place to find “news for nerds.” It has since evolved, though the site is still primarily focused on science, tech and politics.
Articles are organized with tags and shared across the site. They’ve been a major player in the social bookmarking space for decades.
Free to use
Of course, there would be no article about social bookmarking without mentioning the big dogs in the aggregation space. Reddit is, well, a little bit of everything — and it’s also one of the top most visited websites on earth.
But if you’re using Reddit for your social marketing plan, be very careful. The self-moderated site looks down on too much self-promo, and you could be hit with a shadowban if you’re not careful.
Make sure you actually use Reddit like a Redditor: Comment on posts and topics that you have knowledge on, and only point to your product when it’s relevant.
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