Bottom line up front: It's a tool, like any other, that can be abused or used wisely. Find your own balance here.
Social bookmarking explained
Two Different Styles of Social bookmarking:
Some IM'ers have a more straight edge approach to it. They'll outsource their social bookmarking efforts to have it done "naturally". They'll have established, old, "mature", social bookmarking personas that will never get labeled as spam. The links these personas point to are often camouflaged... for example, they'll include a money-page link among benign links to wikipedia, some musical artist, etc. Tactical Camouflage BootsThis can be called "The Gardening Approach". It's slow, it produces results, and it appears naturally edible (read:indexed and spidered) to Google. This is a great approach to use for non-seasonal items, products, etc. It's steady. And slow. And appears natural.
Other IM'ers take a more gray hat approach. There are many, many automated programs and services that create personas for you and automatically push...or drip...bookmarks to the sites you choose. The problem is, this creates a *huge* potential for abuse. Why slowly make my way through this site, plugging away one bookmark at a time at one site at a time when I can do it automatically? Anything that automates a process for me...I'm all for. I can show my outsourcers how to do it, which tool to use, and that frees them up for other things I need them to do.
Social Bookmarking personas explained
Let's step back and define what personas are, because they- not the bookmarks themselves- are the real heart of social bookmarking.
A persona is one person with several bookmarking accounts, creating multiple bookmarks on multiple sites on a semi-regular basis. They've filled out the info on their profile pages, and they also use the same bookmarking sites that they bookmark to. Sounds plain, right- but this is typically the behavior of a 'normal' person using this type of web 2.0 property. Google eats this up. Know why? Yeah, that's why. Many of the 'best' (read:highest PR on Google) SB sites require cookies. Kind of hard when you're using a proxy, eh? Google has teams of human intelligence experts running crazy insane algorithms (think:mad mad savant SQL genuises) on data it's collecting.
Needless to say, a lot of the 'automated' personas get booted as spammers.
Social Bookmarking Persona Metrics
So, would a 'normal' person make 2 or 3 bookmarks a day....or, 100-200? Is it better to have a slow drip of bookmarks, over an extended period of time, or, is there a sudden flux of 100 bookmarks a day for 3 or 4 days? These are important questions to consider when evaluating your own marketing style as applied to SB.
Will one or two social bookmarking personas be enough for your IM needs? Only you can answer that for yourself. Are multiple personas a genuine, ethical way of your IM philosophy?
Automated Socialbookmarking Solutions...
Automated Socialbookmarking Account Creation
Check out #15. 1,155 bookmarks helped to bring one of my clients USD$3,391 over 6 weeks. We ran a few articles in conjunction with this campaign, but everything else was automated. Or outsourced. See the number of links to be posted listed as 54? We paid one outsourcer to write and spin descriptions and titles of several feeder sites for an hour. Assigned those links to automated socialbookmarking personas (listed as accounts), then let it run for 5 weeks. I'm a firm believer in...you promote something until you don't want to earn money by promoting it... So, #15 was just a "test run" for one client to really see the potential of social bookmarking. Now, it doesn't end here:
There are multiple ways to automate the creation of your social bookmarking personas. You still need to automate these personas submitting to their accounts. Bookmarkingdemon has serious potential- it follows a blueprint I've used that's definitely assisted me:
Automated Socialbookmarking for internet marketing campaigns
Create Your SB personas->Assign Personas to URL's you're promoting and start automatic or drip bookmarking->Use your favorite Ping Server to ping the same URL's->Use your favorite Ping Server to ping the URLS of your persona's profile->Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Don't forget to add the camouflaged links to your bookmarking queues... links to sites you have no personal involvement with.
See the potential? More inlinks to your intra-net's and mini-net's of feeder pages, web 2.0 properties, landing pages, article directories, video sharing sites....
Autosocialposter.com is another clear innovator in this segment of the game. Check them out to see where they've taken this part of the game.
Find your own balance and keep in mind that personas will always be the heart of your social bookmarking tactics.
Of course, creating those personas is some detailed, nitty-gritty work.
What's the future of automated socialbookmarking persona creation and bookmarking? Captchas that convert text to speech, and having this process captured by speech recognition software that will kick it out in text format to allow some macro to copy and paste that text back to the Captcha.
Fringe IM'ers are already having a modicum of success with what they've been able to create... and you better believe there are a lot of outsourced teams all over the world trying to solve this particular little challenge.