Using Hitwise to help your Social Bookmarking strategies

It is a summer of weddings for me at the moment, but I thought that I’d post about something that came up before the most recent one (congrats to my sister by the way).  Specifically we’ve been talking lots about social bookmarking in the office recently (quick win on an increase in traffic), so I thought I’d look into it in a bit more depth – in this case it is going to be looking at which one you should choose, using Hitwise.

Right – so I’ve talked about the advantages of social bookmarking before.  Inlcuding what it is, who uses it and what the benefits are.  I also gave a brief introduction to some popular social bookmarking sites, including stumbleupon, slashdot, Digg (and Reddit), so I won’t repeat myself.  Then I did a bit of a rant about how social bookmarking is about brand, where I talked about how it wasn’t really the spike in traffic that was important, it was the links, the increase in exposure of the brand.

So now I am going to talk about Hitwise and what you can do with it to help you.

Facebook has overtaken eBay as the third most visited website in the UK is what Robin Goad said earlier this month.  Why is that interesting in this topic of conversation?  Well I think the bit at the bottom of his article where he talks about demographics is really interesting.  He says that:

Looking at the Experian Mosaic Lifestyle profiles for the 4 weeks ending 02/08/2008, Facebook experiences a swing in its favour from three groups: Urban Intelligence (E – ‘Young, single and mostly well-educated, these people are cosmopolitan in tastes and liberal in attitudes’), Symbols of Success (A – ‘People with rewarding careers who live in sought after locations, affording luxuries and premium quality products’) and Welfare Borderline (F – ‘People who are struggling to achieve rewards and are mostly reliant on the council for accommodation and benefits’).

Now this is what got me thinking.  Hitwise has some great data on the lifestyle of people based on the Mozaic groups.  Back in January I said that you could use this lifestyle information from Hitwise to help your sales teams.

What if though, you could use this information to not only work out who your users are, but from those specific mozaic groups, what type of social networking sites they liked to use.  Remember – as I mentioned before, we’re not just talking about getting traffic in a spike from those sites, we’re talking about engaging them with our brand and getting them to help generate more traffic to us by blogging about us and linking to us.

So lets see how we do it – I chose a fairly standard example of a site that had one very unique group of people who looked at it.  It is Farmers Weekly.  There is a mozaic group in there called “K61 – Upland hill farmers”.  they are people who:

Upland Hill Farmers mostly contains farmers who manage small farm holdings without the assistance of paid labor, in isolated areas of upland agriculture.

They would of course be reading Farmers Weekly.  So I noted down that they were there and looked a bit more closely at this mosaic group.  Using the ‘Find Websites by Demographic composition’ and choosing just this mosaic group, I can find out what websites they are most likely to visit.

Rather unsurprisingly Farmers Weekly is top.  But then the other websites are the interesting ones.  It turns out that these people also like to read horse and hound, but more importantly we have down there at the bottom Second life and Stumble Upon.  Suddenly that has given us two really good sites that we know our users are looking at too.  We could help seed these sites and see if we can get a bit of an online community going.  They don’t even have to come to our site, they just have to talk about it.

Ok, this is one way of going about this.  The other way is that we could flip-reverse it as Robin said earlier and look at the social groups for each of the social bookmarking websites to see which best suit the audience we are aiming for.  We all know that Slashdot is for nerds (its their strapline).  But lets run through some other sites that we can pick up from wikipedia and see what social demographics they have.  We can then either match that with our particular desires for audience or even with our current audience.

Lets also not forget that we aren’t just looking at social bookmarking sites – we are also looking at all social sites.  Although Yahoo! Answers may look like it is very social networky to start with, you’ll find that there are lots of really serious questions on there – eg there is a whole community service section that, whilst very USA centric, does have lots of questions for other countries.  It would be hard work answering all those questions, but the odd glance once a week to see if any questions were asked that you covered in your Community Care website could answer might be useful.  Before you know it, you won’t have to bother, because someone else who reads both Yahoo! Answers and Community Care will have done it before you.

Anyway – to summarise:

  • Find a Bookmarking/Networking site that fits your audience using the demographics from Hitwise
  • Use Hitwise to find the demographics of your website
  • Use the find functionality to find websites those key mosaic groups also look at
  • Join websites, post questions, become part of the community
  • Don’t spam
Posted in Hitwise, Social Bookmarking

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