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Last month I started a post series that talks about the importance of understanding when your customers participate the most. The theory is that your content/message will seed better on those social networks if you understand that better. In part one of the series, we took a look at two of the biggest social platforms, Twitter and Facebook. This time around we’re going to take a look at social bookmarking sites and forums.
Social Bookmarking Sites
This has been something both SEOs and social media marketers have been perfecting for quite sometime. But as social bookmarking sites lost some traction, people have been getting sloppy with their submissions. I haven’t seen an article in a long time that recommended when to submit your articles to the various bookmarking sites, but that’s something you can quickly determine with a little research and some experimenting.
The first thing you need to do is drill down into your relevant category and start taking notes. Here’s what you should be looking for:
- What time of day and day of the week are the top submissions submitted at?
- What time of day are the majority of submissions in this category? You may want to consider submitting yours at a different time to help make it stand out.
- How many comments do the top submissions have on average?
- What types of headlines are getting the most votes?
- What do the posts/articles look like that get a lot of engagement? Do they have lots of pictures? How are they structured?
- Do any users appear to have more influence than others?
Basically what you’re trying to get an understanding of is what types of posts have the best chance of succeeding and when. There aren’t a great number of tools to help you out on this front, unfortunately. When it comes to submission, however, these tools should come in handy:
Forums. So many people have forgotten about the power of forums thanks to micro-blogging sites like Twitter. There are still very active forums in just about every industry, you just have to know where to look. The great thing about forums is that you get a multitude of benefits from posting in them:
- Great on-topic links
- Relevant traffic
- Opportunity to engage with new, existing and potential customers
- Opportunity to create evangelists
In order to get that much value out of the forums, you need to do a little research first. To begin, start using a tool like Omgili to find relevant forums for your to start participating in. Once you’ve found them, start investigating and answering these questions:
- Which parts of the forum are most relevant to your product/service and are the most active?
- What are their guidelines for promoting links and including them in your signature?
- Who are the most active moderators and what do they typically get upset about?
- Which forum users are the most active?
- What time of day/day of the week are people the most active?
- What thread topics receive the most replies?
- What types of content is shared the most in the forum?
- Is there an opportunity to invite users to guest blog or be interviewed on your site?
- How often do users push their own outside content?
- Approximately how much time must you be able to commit to this forum in order for you to become an active user? You need to ensure you have that time otherwise you’ll be treading water and it won’t be a successful endeavor.
Unfortunately there aren’t tools to help you with this process. This is going to be something you do manually and very carefully. Remember, the last thing you want to do is piss off a top forum member. That can create a reputation nightmare.