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Use social bookmarking to gain deeper customer insights

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As part of my presentation at Search Engine Strategies NY this week, I talked about how social bookmarking services can help company’s gain a deeper understanding of how their customers (or prospects) view and interact with their brand. Social bookmarking isn’t incredibly sexy, but it is a powerful component of the social media mix.

Part of the beauty of social bookmarking is how individual, yet universal it is due to its non-hierarchical folksonomy. When people save pages to their delicious account for example, they are using tags that are not only universal (and part of the common lexicon), but can also choose words and phrases that are relevant to themselves as individuals. As an example, someone tagging the page www.bluefly.com would use keywords like “shopping” and “clothing”, but as is shown in the screenshot below in the “recent history” section, someone also thinks of the BlueFly site as providing “design inspiration”. Drilling into the types of tags people are using for not only your company or brand, but also for your competitors, can yield valuable, and sometimes surprising results that can help inform other aspects of your marketing and communication efforts, including SEM and SEO.

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Another valuable use of social bookmarking is to gain insight into how your brand is perceived by the users saving and tagging your (or your competitors) website or content. Using Dell as an example and digging into the “user notes” section you see not only references you’d expect, such as:

Create a custom computer configuration and then purchase it online. Includes and extensive download library of utilities and drivers for each Dell.

But also not so favourable comments, that even though they are negative provides valuable customer, product, customer service, and brand insight.

Fast fading as leading PC host. Due to bad quality of products and reluctance of tech support to actually support…

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Exploring and using social bookmarking is relatively easy, and along with many other terrific uses that I’ll explore in subsequent posts, can provide another window into perceptions and sentiments about your brand.

[photo credit: One on Flickr]

Social Bookmarks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • NewsVine
  • Ma.gnolia
  • TailRank
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • SphereIt
  • Sphinn
  • StumbleUpon
  • TwitThis