Social bookmarking: can it be used to generate leads?

For years, SEO experts have been using social bookmarking services as a great way to get free links and potentially explosive viral traffic. 

Thanks to dedicated communities, content gets pushed around and linked to by hundreds, if not thousands, of people, allowing master search engine marketers to push their site right to the top of the rankings.

Of course, that promotional value is not limited to SEO professionals alone.

Social bookmarking, an extension of traditional social media services, is also hugely powerful to community marketers as well. From ultra-simple submissions and brands built on social bookmarking traffic, the potential for great growth through social bookmarking is very real.

However, there is one thing that social media marketers have not been able to achieve using social bookmarking tools, and you might even think it’s impossible:  lead and sales generation. 

For the most part, social bookmarking communities have shown to be incredibly resilient to potential sales attempts. From ultra-relevant products to free trials, very few social media marketers have been able to extract a single lead, from social bookmarking websites.

That raises the question; can you convince social bookmarkers to buy or become a lead? 

There are companies out there with great potential among social bookmarking communities (particularly those in the technology industry) that are failing to generate leads from their ideal audience. 

Some tips that might provide an answer to these challenges…

1. Don’t sell, pre-sell

Social bookmarking websites are rarely going to provide traffic that makes it all the way through an affiliate sales or landing page. People visit social bookmarking websites to come in touch with interesting content, not great opportunities or deals on products. If you want your product-related content to make it onto the front page of a top social bookmarking website, focus on the pre-sell.
2. Appeal to your audience

A technology website typically is not going to be interested in great deals on ponies. Then again, there could be the occasional tech geek that’s a six-year-old girl at heart. Provide the type of product that your audience likes, and even if you can’t generate leads directly through social bookmarking services, you will get your brand inside their heads, leading to potential future sales.

3. Look at alternative value.

Even if you can’t sell a single product or generate a single lead using social bookmarking, there are alternative values to look at. The first is branding, which is a very possible and potentially very lucrative opportunity given the amount of traffic that most social bookmarking websites can dish out. Should your website make the front page, even a no-sale day is worth it when you are generating a great deal of brand exposure.

The second valuable effect, as mentioned earlier, are the links. 

Social bookmarking tools are great for organic SEO, and even a link that generates no sales could be enough to push you up the search engines. 

Great search engine positions mean traffic and thus potentially explosive sales, so use these social bookmarking side effects to your advantage.

The author of this post specializes in Search Engine Marketing, social bookmarking, content marketing and social search. He calls himself a Google geek & long tail keyword lover. He also contributes to some international SEM blogs.

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