One of the most important aspects of blogging is marketing your content. Unlike traditional marketing, blogging relies on social media marketing. I would estimate that the majority of bloggers and readers of blogs are on multiple social media channels. I know that I personally find a lot of great content through posts on Twitter and Facebook.
Another important aspect of social media is backlinks. Backlinks are links to articles, and the more you have, the more authority search engine’s place on your site or article. Social media is a great starting point for backlinks, and since popular articles are usually shared multiple times, the amount of backlinks multiplies over time. If this happens, not only will you see increased traffic to your site, but you will see your site ranking highly in Google as well.
Also, I will give you some tips on how to execute a social media backlinking strategy that will save your time and effort.
Continue reading to see the full list of social media backlink sites, how to use them, and how to save some time!
The Big 5
As many of you already know, there are several big players in the social media space that are a must to take advantage of:
Facebook: Facebook is one of the most popular websites in the United States. If you are smart about using Facebook, you can leverage some of this traffic to your websites. First, you need to create a Fanpage for your website. Your Fanpage should match your website brand, and it should have a welcome screen. Here is a great resource on How To Create a Facebook Landing Page.
The key to effectively using Facebook is to engage your fans. Treat Facebook almost separate from your website. You can post links to your articles to drive traffic, but for each link you post, consider post at least one other item of additional content. This could be a question to engage readers, a photo, a contest, video, a link to something relevant on another site, etc. By doing this, you engage your fans, which in turn gives them more encouragement to visit your links and be active on your website as well.
Twitter: Twitter is probably what most people associate with social media. It’s 140 character phrase have caught on, and some people live on Twitter. Twitter is much different from Facebook in that 80% of everything is simply a broadcast. However, those that truly engage with their audience are the ones that see the most rewards. You need to engage your audience through twitter by using “@” mentions and responding to questions, comments and concerns.
The key to Twitter is two-fold. First, engage, engage, engage. Get a platform like TweetDeck so that you can easily see your followers, anyone who mentions you, and of course the stream of current tweets. This allows you to quickly type tweets and respond to people mentioning you. The second part of Twitter is going viral. If you write something controversial, or include a big name person with an “@” mention, you could easily see your post take off big time.
Digg: Some believe Digg may be fading, but it still has the potential to send a ton of traffic in your direction, especially if you make the homepage. To get the most out of Digg, you really need to have a good profile, vote, comment, follow trends, and submit a wide variety of content.
The key to using Digg is to make sure that you are following headlines in your category. If your category isn’t on Digg, don’t bother using the site (although most categories are there). It also helps to have a huge audience that will vote for you on Digg, otherwise your post will go nowhere.
StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon was started to give people an easy way to discover new websites. It has been gaining traction as a fun way to “stumble” around the internet. Think of it like channel surfing a particular topic. To get the most out of StumbleUpon, make sure that you are effectively tagging all of your submissions to the site, so that the relevant stumblers find it.
The great thing about StumbleUpon is that it is very forgiving. You can’t really “spam” this site, so make sure that you are sending in your submissions. However, you usually will not see huge amounts of traffic. It will trickle in by 1-2, or it will flood you for a few hours, but not much in between and not much sustained traffic.
Reddit: Reddit is one of the original social media sites for submitting articles and links. It has a huge following, and can easily send thousands of visitors to your site. However, Reddit is a very double-edged sword. It has such a tight-knit community of loyalists, that if you are perceived as spamming and not participating, they will attack you (Redditors, as they’re know, are usually very computer savvy and have been know to hack and take down websites).
The trick to using Reddit effectively is to find a sub-Reddit that fits your niche. There are hundreds of sub-Reddits, so make sure you find one that has several thousand followers. When you submit new content, submit it to the sub-Reddit. This will still get you on the “New” page of Reddit, but it will stay for a longer time on the sub-Reddit board. Another important aspect is to promote other links as well, not just your own. This will ensure that you are not viewed as a spammer by the community. Finally, don’t submit too many links at once. Once you fall into the Reddit spammer hole, there is no crawling out.
Up and Coming Players
These few social media players are quickly becoming some of the most popular sharing platforms. They can bring a lot of traffic your way if you know how to use them effectively.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn started as a way for individuals to professionally network. While that is still the main theme, the site now allows you to post status updates and links to articles, very similar to Facebook. These links are now seen by everyone who has connected to your profile. If you have a large network, posting these links can generate some traffic. However, it is important that you are okay with your professional network seeing your posts – if you are keeping your blog and work separate, this is not a good idea.
Google+: Google+ opened to the public this week! This site combines so of the features of both Facebook and LinkedIn. Google has been very adamant about individuals using their real names and faces, and individuals who haven’t done this have been banned in droves. As a result, you will have to connect yourself to your blog, similar to LinkedIn. If you are not comfortable with that, then Google+ isn’t for you.
The key to using Google+ effectively is to realize that you can write full-length posts in Google+. As a result, the best posts are the ones that share a story. You should keep it like Facebook as a tool to engage, and limit the amount of posts that are just links.
Delicious: Delicious touts itself as the biggest collection of bookmarks in the universe. Similar to both Digg and StumbleUpon, Delicious relies on users submitting sites. The more users who submit, the higher the ranking, and more likely you are to get traffic. Delicious also uses tags like StumbleUpon, so users can search by tags they are looking for and find your content. You will get the most traffic from being on the homepage or the Hot List, but to get there, you need a lot of people promoting your site.
Tumblr: Tumblr is like a blog to itself. It is almost like an updated version of MySpace, where you get to create your own page, put up pictures, and post new content. You can use this as a social media backlink page to highlight great content from your site. The key is to have other Tumblr’s reblog your post. This will increase your exposure and number of backlinks. Tumblr has its own subculture and devoted power-users, so it does take some time to figure it out.
YCombinator: YCombinator recently launched a platform that is very similar to Reddit, in that users can submit posts, and they are voted up or down. YCombinator is best known for being the Venture Capital might behind most of the social media players on this list. This new site really has the potential to generate a lot of traffic as the readers are engaged, and really looking for hot new content. However, this site is really targeted towards the internet and finance. Sorry lifestyle bloggers…
The Remaining Social Media Players
These players are not going to drive traffic to your site, but they provide excellent resources for backlinks.
AOL Lifestream: AOL Lifestream is an attempt to put all of your social networks in one place. It doesn’t have a huge following, and many people don’t use it for that purpose. However, it is a great backlinking tool, since your profile is public and crawled by search engines.
Bebo: Bebo is very similar to Tumblr in that you create a micro-blog to express yourself. You can customize your profile, and the upload content. This is a great place to hosts links back to your main site.
Bibsonomy: Bibsonomy is a bookmark storage service. It essentially is trying to take your bookmark menu and store it online for you, and uses tags to quickly and easily identify content. This is a great way to gain some backlinks to your site.
Bookmarks.com: Bookmarks.com is just like it sounds – an online bookmarking website. It allows you to store all your bookmarks in one place online, and allows you to organize them with categories and tags. You can also search other bookmarks to find new sites. Another great place to get free backlinks for your website.
Connotea: Connotea is designed as a free online reference management for all researchers, clinicians, and scientists. It is essentially a bookmarking tool for scientists. You can quickly save your links here to generate more backlinks for your site.
Diigo: Diigo is the next generation of bookmarking websites. Not only does it allow for bookmarks, but it allows for publishing anything, such as photos and notes. However, it is still good at serving its primary purpose of bookmarks, so submit them to get some more backlinks.
Folkd: Folkd is a searchable bookmarking site that allows you to submit your links and have them be searchable. The more your friends like your links, the more likely they will be featured on the homepage. Once again, it is a free site, so submit your links and see what happens.
FriendFeed: FriendFeed is a social sharing site that is designed to share content with friends. It is very simple to submit links to, and your friends online can see them.
Google Bookmarks: Google Bookmarks is a free tool from Google that is designed to store your bookmarks. However, the great thing about Google Bookmarks is that they are hosted on your Google profile. So, make sure that you have a Google Profile completed, and upload all of your links to Google Bookmarks.
Hi5: Hi5 is a micro-blogging site designed around playing online games (think Facebook and Farmville). However, it still allows you to have a micro-blog, and you can upload your content to it.
identi.ca: identi.ca is another free micro-blogging service that allows you to post Twitter type posts (140 characters of less). It also allows you to maintain a small profile as well. It is great backlinking tool.
Jumptags: Jumptags is another social bookmarking tool that allows you to post and share content. It is a great place to post your links and other important bookmarking posts.
Kaboodle: Kaboodle is a fashion bookmarking site, so entrepreneurs and personal finance bloggers, you’re out of luck. However, for lifestyle bloggers, this could be a great place to post your social bookmarks.
Karmalynx: Karmalynx is a newer social bookmarking tool that is similar to Digg. It allows you to post content, and then users can up-vote it by giving it Karma. If you get enough Karma, you can get to the homepage.
LinkaGoGo: LinkaGoGo is another online bookmark site, that is similar to the Favorites in your browser. It allows you to create a profile and post links. Another great backlinking website.
LiveJournal: Another one of the original micro-blogging sites, this site gives you a blog that you can customize, and then post content to. It is a great way to get backlinks that are relevant to your site.
MisterWong: MisterWong is one of the leading social bookmarking websites on the web. You can save and manage your links. However, they have recently started charging for their service, so it may not be an option for most bloggers.
Multiply: Multiply is another bookmarking site similar to Kaboodle, with a focus on friends and shopping. However, it does allow you to host a profile and post link updates to the profile, so it can be used for backlinking.
MyAOL: MyAOL is AOL’s version of Google Bookmarks. It essentially stores your bookmarks on your AOL profile. This allows for some easy backlinks.
MySpace: MySpace is the original big-time social network, and now it has fallen by the wayside. However, you can still make a micro-blog profile, connect with others, and post links and other content. As a result, it is still a great place to get backlinks for your main site.
My Year Book: My Year Book is just like it sounds – a site that allows you to track your time in school. It also has a lot of games similar to Facebook. However, the amount of content you can submit is limited, and it is geared towards younger individuals.
NetLog: NetLog is another social media site that touts over 80 million members worldwide. It is very similar to Facebook in that you fill out a profile and then upload content. It may be more popular outside the US.
NetVibes: NetVibes is an aggregation service that attempts to compile all of your social media aspects into one dashboard. It still allows you to create a profile and post content, which make it ideal for creating backlinks.
Newsvine: Newsvine is similar to Digg, but caters almost exclusively to current event news stories. If this is the content you are submitting, go for it. However, they monitor and police the site regularly, and if you submit other topics, prepare to be banned.
Oyax: Oyax is a new social bookmarking site that allows you to submit your links and have them indexed. It doesn’t do much beyond that, but it is good for backlinking purposes.
Plaxo: Plaxo is an online address book. It allows you to create a profile that includes both real addresses and web addresses. As a result, you can post your regular web links there as well.
Plurk: Plurk is another site link Digg, that allows you to submit links and see your links voted upward. If they are popular, they can be on the homepage. This is a great place to submit links by category.
Posterous: Posterous is an online sharing site that allows you to host privately, or share publicly. It is great place to share links publicly, which will then be indexed.
Scribd: Scribed is a document and article sharing site. You can post articles, and they will be indexed as a searchable document. It is a great backlinking tool.
Serpd: Serpd is like Digg for SEO and other online news. You can submit articles and they will be voted up or down. However, this site is only for SEO and other news. Submitting other content will get you banned.
Sonico: Sonico is a Latin American social bookmarking site. It allows you to post links, which will then be indexed. It is good for backlinking but not much else.
Tagged: Tagged is a new social network site for meeting new people. It allows you to create a profile and upload content. You can share your links, and they will be integrated onto your profile for indexing purposes.
TypePad: One of the original blogging platforms, this is a great way to host a micro-blog that links back to your content. You can create a full mirco-site, and have it link to your content or content that links to your content.
WordPress: The other original blogging platform, WordPress lets you host a blog for free on their site. You can use this blog to create links by to your main site.
Yahoo Bookmarks: Just like Google and AOL, Yahoo has it’s own bookmarking site. It saves your bookmarks under your Yahoo profile, so they will be indexed as well.
Yahoo Pulse: Yahoo Pulse is designed as a content sharing site. You can use your Yahoo Profile to share content. You can upload your links, and it will be seen on your profile on the site.
Yelp: Yelp allows you to write reviews about restaurants and other businesses. If you are a business, this can be a great way to get backlinks to your site. It is not very relevant to online businesses though.
Some Solutions to Submitting to Social Media
If you’ve made it this far, you know that is a long list of social media sites. If you were to do this manually, it would take a lot of time and effort. Here are a few solutions to the submitting problem that you may want to consider.
Embedding the Top 5 on Each Post: Sharing is caring. And making it easy to share is key to getting your site out there. That is why at the bottom of each post, I include sharing links to encourage my readers to share my stuff. I also try to do the same when I am at other sites. However, if the sharing links aren’t easy to find and use, I don’t use them. I’m sure the same is true for my readers. Bottom line: make it easy to share, and your content will be shared!
Using a Submitter like OnlyWire: Getting backlinks on social media can be hard, but there is a piece of software out there that makes it easy. It is called OnlyWire, and it allows you to save all of your accounts with them, and with one click, submit to all of the sites you’ve chosen. This is such an easy way to get backlinks. They also have several tiered options of service: you keep under 300 posts, and it is free. After that, you have to start paying.
Hiring a Freelancer: This can be a great way to save time. You can find a freelancer willing to submit your links for cheap. Check out Fiverr, oDesk, or Elance to find individuals who are experts in getting your content submitted to the various social media sites above.
I would caution you on this though: do not auto-submit content to the Big 5. It will not help your cause in getting traffic. You have to make an effort to use the Big 5 Social Media Sites to engage your audience. Nobody wants to follow a link spammer!
Readers, what are your thoughts and experiences with social media? Do you have any other advice?