This article was first posted on our blog on 01/04/2010. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.
When you think of a social networking site like Facebook, you probably think of a place where you interact with your friends – a site where people connect with each other. This assessment would be accurate, connecting and sharing with others is your primary goal. This can be an invaluable tool in forum promotion. User ‘A’ posts your site on his wall, user ‘A’ has five hundred friends, all five hundred of those friends now have a personal recommendation to visit your site from someone they know. Let’s say that approximately twenty people visit your site and choose to share it. A chain reaction occurs. This shows how valuable social network sharing can be.
Now, telling people, “Hey guys! Post this site on your profiles online!” is most likely not going to do much. I’m going to teach you today about how to integrate social networking onto your site with minimal effort.
The first site you should check out–and one I personally recommend–is http://addthis.com . AddThis is stunning in its simplicity, but it works. Sign up for an account on AddThis and follow its instructions to get your button. It should give you an HTML code that can be posted anywhere on your site. You may ask, “What does this magical AddThis code do, exactly?” When a user hovers over the AddThis button, a little drop-down menu appears. On this dropdown, they can choose to post a link to your article, your page, your post–wherever the button was–to virtually any social network with very little effort. Some of these sites include Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Delicious. Over two hundred sites are included in total. AddThis provides advanced analytics, and I was shocked to find that about twelve people had shared my site on Twitter within ten days. Over 800,000 sites utilize AddThis, and you should become one of them.
Moving on, another option is http://bar.meebo.com/ . The Meebo Bar is an interesting little piece of code. To get it, sign up at the URL provided. The code is a little more complex than AddThis, but if you’ve ever edited an HTML document, then you should be able to use it. Be more cautious when adding it to your site, though. What exactly does Meebo do? It adds convenience and connectivity. You can have a link to your Facebook fan page, a built-in preview of your site’s Twitter, Drag ‘n’ Share photo sharing, easy Digg sharing, and more. One of the most interesting features is the Meebo chat. If your users have a Meebo accounts, then they can chat on services such as Facebook, MSN, YIM, and AIM. It is similar to Facebook chat. When they visit another page on your site, their chats are preserved. Your users will be connected to all of their friends, and they will be more apt to share your link.
Of course, the possibilities of social networking in forum promotion are endless. Facebook and MySpace connections allows you to have users log in with their Facebook and MySpace accounts, bypassing registration. Easier registration means that users will be more likely to sign up and post. IP.Board and vBulletin both have some form of these built-in. Another possibility is the use of a Twitter page for your site and all of the promotion efforts that come with that. Look online for more information on promotion via Twitter. A Facebook page is yet another option to be considered.
In conclusion, many users on the web today prefer to visit sites shown to them by friends and acquaintances. Using social networking sites, your site can be promoted that way, and activity can flourish as real-life bonds do the promotion work for you. Using the tools available for these sites, it has become very important. The possibilities are endless, and I hope that you learn to utilize them.