People of all ages are now accessing the Internet, affording us the opportunity to reach a broader customer demographic than ever before. With social media becoming more and more important when it comes to influencing public opinion and creating trends, it’s evident that all online business owners need to get in on the action and have a strong digital media presence.
The rise of Facebook and Twitter, in particular, demonstrates that the Internet has influence and power when it comes to raising public awareness and generating customers. Like it or not, we live in a time where executions are announced over Twitter, and Facebook campaigns can alter the result of which record reaches number one in the charts. As a blogger, there is no more valuable tool to promote your site than social bookmarking. You can harness the power of social media in a number of ways, all of which are free, easy to do, and highly effective.
Social bookmarking is simply the process of a reader sharing your content with a number of widely-used social networks, which you should encourage in order to increase visibility and enhance customer engagement. The entire World Wide Web operates as a linked series of networked applications, all of which offer distinct advantages and services to the business blogger. WordPress is the ideal platform to connect to these services, making it simple and hassle-free to benefit from social networking online.
While it is possible to craft all of your social bookmarking messages by hand, it makes much more sense to take the efficient route to online marketing: Plugins. WordPress deliver a series of simple tools that streamline your communications processes and make it easy to join the online fray with the minimal effort and zero expense.
Link to Your Twitter Account
Twitter is an extremely powerful and convenient way of communicating a lot in a few words. Set up a Twitter account that outlines your products and services, and provides regular keyword-rich updates to your readers. Pick who you follow according to your specialized industry, and people will tend to follow you in return. Every time you update your blog, post the link to your Twitter account.
It has taken the site just five months to double the number of Tweets it had, from ten billion to twenty billion. As of April 2010, there are reportedly over 100 million user accounts. Everything you write on Twitter is indexed and can be found on the web.
WordPress supplies a great ‘Twitter’ application at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/new-twitter-button/. This is the ‘daddy’ of Twitter sharing, in that it keeps a track of ReTweets and is very easy to add to your site. It is also a visible and familiar tool which visitors to your site will recognize and readily use, encouraging information sharing.
The Power of Facebook
Facebook is the hub of social networking and bookmarking. It’s simple to set up a page linked to your business, and update it as your blog posts go live. People use Facebook to follow products and businesses they like, so it makes sense that if you engage readers then they will follow you… especially if you make it easy for them. When you set up your profile, again use keyword-rich texts and keep your page up-to-date with useful information.
Facebook hosts over 550,000 third-party applications, and boasts 500 million active users. More than 150 million people engage with the site on external websites every month, and there are more than 150 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. A simple tool to benefit from this popularity is Facebook Like.
The new style of the Facebook Like button has spawned numerous plugins, but I like this one the best. You can choose where to locate it and add custom styling.
Generic Social Bookmarking Plugins
The following plugins for WordPress all link you up to a range of social networking sites and take the hassle out of repeat communications to your customers. I recommend all of them as they will each bring specific benefits to you as a business blogger:
This is what I currently use on my site, the vertical bar on the left hand side with sharing options.
This plugin features a wide choice of bookmarking icons and you can select and re-order the ones you want to use.
The ShareThis application reduces the ‘footprint’ of the buttons to a single option with expandable categories. However, in order to get it up and running you will need to register an account when you set up the plugin, by visiting the ShareThis website.
SocioFluid creates a great-looking bar of icons that can grow or shrink as you mouse-over each one. While there is a limited choice of icons, the plugin does look good on your site.
This is one of the most popular applications for WordPress bloggers, as it looks good and is highly visible.