Ten years ago, there were only about half a dozen active social bookmarking websites. Today, there are thousands, and you may be considering getting social bookmarking services to help you understand the strategies you'll need to use them correctly. Before you hire any social bookmarking service, though, you need to know about social bookmark etiquette and how your service should behave online. If your social bookmark service is doing a lot of the “don'ts” and isn't doing most of these “do's,” you need to look for other social bookmarking services as soon as possible.
DO Use More Than One Social Bookmarking Website
Any good social bookmarking service will include submissions on several different websites. This is one of the best reasons to get a social bookmark service, because multiple submissions can be time-consuming and very boring—exactly the kind of work that your firm might be very comfortable with outsourcing.
Social bookmarking services may post to just a few, or up to several hundred, different websites. The value added that you get from these additional websites, though, may be not as much as you expect. After the most popular fifty or so social bookmarking sites, the remaining sites have little traffic or activity. You may be better off hiring social bookmarking services that give you better links on fewer websites.
DON'T Use Social Bookmarking Websites You're Unfamiliar With
It's important for your social bookmark service to provide you with a list of the websites they plan to submit your links on. It's very possible that a social bookmarking service would want to submit a link to a website that you might be uncomfortable having a presence on. If this is the case, you always have a right to tell the social bookmark service to remove that website from the list of websites they're posting to.
Additionally, social bookmarking services should be able to demonstrate for you that they have a knowledge of how these websites differ. If a social bookmarking service is using identical headlines on all websites or is otherwise treating them as a homogeneous group, you need to find a better social bookmark service. The difference between websites can be huge, and social bookmarking services that don't recognize and compensate for differing web cultures will be unsuccessful in driving traffic to your site.
DO Set Up a Personal Social Bookmarking Website Account First
Before you even choose a social bookmark service to work with, consider setting up your own account on a few social bookmarking sites. This will help you do a better job evaluating social bookmarking services, because you'll understand more of what social bookmarks are all about.
DON'T Post Too Often on Any Social Bookmarking Website
If you notice that a social bookmark service is posting very frequently and that your inbound link number is increasing rapidly, you might be ready to praise them. However, the truth is, you're likely to be penalized by Google if your social bookmarking service posts too many links too quickly. Google is getting very good at detecting when social bookmarking services are automating posts rather than making new headlines for every new post.
DO Post Relevant, Interesting Content to Social Bookmarking Websites
No matter how amazing your social bookmarking service is, it doesn't matter a bit if you're not making good content. Bad content won't draw in new people, and even if your search engine rankings go up, your conversion rates will remain dismal. Content is king, even for social bookmarking services, and if you're posting interesting entries to a blog regularly you'll have a head start on all the firms that are just posting to their company website or attorney biographies.
The more unusual your content, the more likely it is that a social bookmark service can make it go viral. This is the ultimate goal for the best social bookmarking services, because virality will mean you get a huge number of additional views and inbound links. A good social bookmarking service can help you develop a viral strategy based on what has worked for them in the past.
DON'T Post Ads—Well, Not Most Ads
If you have your social bookmarking service post links that direct to URLs containing direct advertisements, whether in video or text format, you won't see an increase in site traffic. In fact, your social bookmark service probably won't be able to help you keep the link, because many websites will delete it right away. Most social bookmarking websites are ad supported, and if you're trying to advertise blatantly for free, the sites have a good financial motivation to remove your posts.
The only time you should ever have social bookmarking services submit an ad is if you've made a very creative, funny, or informative advertisement. A very funny lawyer ad could have the potential to go viral, even if it's submitted through a social bookmarking service.
DO Tailor Your Submissions to Each Social Bookmarking Website
Your social bookmark service should know enough about each of the websites you're using that there will be subtle differences in the headlines associated with each page. This not only helps your social bookmarking service to get more positive attention from the users of each site (because it's demonstrating an understanding of their values), but also to evade Google's detection algorithms.
DON'T Keep Using Social Bookmarking Services That Automate
If you find out that the social bookmark service you're using is automating content submissions, find another service. There are plenty of social bookmarking services that use manual submissions, and this type of social bookmarking service is much more likely to get good results.
Automation through a social bookmark service shows that you don't seem to care very much about the communities you're posting to—it shows that you'd rather spam them than participate in a conversation with them. Would you want to do business with a law firm like that? You need a social bookmarking service that doesn't make potential clients feel like they're being ignored.