Developing a strong presence on social networking and bookmarking sites doesn’t involve complex formulas or algorithms. Sure, sites like Digg and Reddit have algorithms but it would behoove you to focus on the 2 major pillars of success on these sites – great content and a network of users to promote it – rather than focusing on racing to the front page.
Building your network involves more than just adding users to your friends list. Participation is required and is how you get noticed. Voting for, spreading and commenting on other users’ content shows you’re willing to work hard and contribute to the community.
Keep reading for a basic outline of 9 do’s and don’ts of building your social bookmarking networks online.
1. DO friend, IMvite and follow power users but DON’T become a pest
The best place you can start building your social media presence is by making friends with power users. They have literally hundreds, if not thousands of friends and a vote on your content from them can often translate into additional votes from their followers.
But remember, people are busy. They don’t have time to digg, vote or retweet 100 links a day or have time for juvenile questions like “How many diggs does it take to hit page one?” Be sure you vote on their content and they will eventually take notice.
2. DO participate in the SOCIAL part of social bookmarking but DON’T be a troll
Commenting and participating in conversations on social networking sites isn’t so much about being social as much as it’s about being noticed and showing you take time to look at other’s submissions.
But don’t be too controversial and don’t reply to something just to disagree. You can be funny but not everyone shares your sense of humor so be careful.
3. DO embrace multiple social networks but DON’T spread yourself too thin
There are literally thousands of social media networks and instant messaging utilities out there. Joining multiple social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit is a great way to expand your reach. Manage your time wisely though. Creating and maintaining a profile is a lot of work so don’t spread yourself too thin.
4. DO submit content from community favorite sites but DON’T submit commercial content
When you’re a part of a social bookmarking community like Digg or Reddit, it’s likely you will notice certain sites producing outstanding content on a regular basis since they’re always on the front page. Being the first to submit new content from these sites is a great way to get noticed.
On the other hand, submitting content that has no place in the community you’re in is one of the sure-fire ways to fail at social bookmarking. If you appear as a marketer, folks will vote your stuff down and remove you as a friend. Be sure what you’re promoting is worthy of votes!
5. DO submit content from a variety of sites but DON’T consistently submit content from a single site or short list of sites
This may seem obvious but a lot of people will only submit their own content and occasionally make comments on or vote on other stuff. This is a red flag that you’re only in it for the marketing, which is something you don’t want to look like.
The best way to avoid looking like a marketer is to submit articles, etc. from a wide variety of websites.
6. DO sign in, vote up, retweet and comment regularly. DON’T leave huge lapses of activity in your account(s)
One of the keys to successful marketing through social bookmarking sites is being a regular. Taking too much time away could mean all of your hard work going to waste. It’s not that you can’t take a well deserved vacation. But the more available you are to vote and spread submissions of others, the more influence you will have in pushing your own stuff.
7. DO perform favors for your friends but DON’T ask for too much without giving something back
Help your friends out and they’ll help you! Don’t wait to vote up or retweet your friend’s submissions. If you go out of your way for them, the more likely they’ll do the same for you.
Don’t ask too much without giving something in return and if you ask someone to vote or retweet something, be sure it’s top quality content. Eventually, people will avoid or ignore you altogether if it’s not.
8. DO act like a human being, DON’T act like a computer or robot
The purpose of social media is to be “social”, not just amass hundreds of friends in some desperate attempt to look important. If you’re trying to get content out to as many people as possible, you need to act like a real person. Be friendly and have conversations with others online from time to time.
9. DO keep at it and DON’T give up
Like anything, building a network for social bookmarking sites takes a lot of time and hard work. You don’t have to spend all day everyday on social media to be successful. But you need to find a routine you’re comfortable with and stick with. Persistence is the key to success.
To learn more about developing a strong social networking presence, read Building Social Bookmarking Networks 101 from Search Engine Journal.