If you haven’t heard of the social bookmarking site, Delicious, you may be living in a cave.

The social media revolution is here and Delicious is becoming as important as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In fact, in a study of almost 900 marketers it ranked 6th as most used and important.

What is it, how does it work, and why should you be using it?

Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a centralized source. With emphasis on the power of community, Delicious improves how people discover, remember and share on the Internet.

When you sign up as a Delicious user and start bookmarking your favorite sites (including your firm’s site and blog), you get to share your bookmarks publicly so your friends, colleagues and others (clients and prospects) can view them for reference, amusement and/or collaboration. The cool part is that you have access to everyone else’s bookmarks too; and everyone on Delicious chooses to save their bookmarks for a reason. You can see if two people have chosen to remember a link or whether it was useful enough for a thousand people to remember. It’s like a popularity contest for Web sites with a beneficial outcome, especially if your firm’s site or blog ranks at the top.

When you bookmark a link, there are four fields to fill out. The first is the URL, which is populated for you. Do not change this. The second is the Title, which is also populated; however, I recommend you edit this to include as much info as possible, like your firm’s full name, city and state. The third section is Notes. This is a great place to write a one to two sentence description of your firm and let others know why you bookmarked that page. The fourth and final section is a place for tags. Tags are one word descriptors that you assign to your bookmarks to help you organize and remember them; they’re a bit like keywords and will help others find your site and/or blog on Delicious.

You can use tags to describe an article or Web site’s subject, location, name, category, people, places, ideas – you get the idea.  And the more tags the better.  Tags must be separated by spaces and must be one word; so a CPA firm would probably want to tag their site like this: CPA accounting  CPAfirm  accountingfirm  [firmname]  [city]  [state]  etc. You can also use tags to describe metadata about the bookmark. For example, you can use asterisks to rate bookmarks. So a tag of * might mean OK, *** is pretty good and a bookmark tagged ***** is awesome.

You can bundle tags to keep your sites organized; my bundles include Social Media, CPA firms and Blogs. You can also create subscriptions by tags; Delicious watches for everyone’s bookmarks saved with that tag and delivers them to your subscription page. Two things come to mind here; first, subscribe to CPA or accounting and keep an eye on your competition. Second, subscribe to Social Media, Marketing and other areas of education to stay up to date on the latest trends.

Another option you have is to create a personal network of other Delicious users, including friends, family, colleagues, fellow CPAs and accounting marketers, or even new people you run across while exploring Delicious. It is as much a people aggregator as it is an information aggregator and allows you to follow your favorite users’ latest bookmarks to view and enjoy. I encourage you to find me (username = kristingentry) and connect with me. I’ve bookmarked several great social media sites that may interest you.

The bottom line is this; Delicious search results are ranked by relevance, which takes into account bookmark titles, notes, tags and how many other users have also bookmarked the site. Search engines like Google work the same way; the more places you show up and the more people who are looking at your site (social networks and blogs included), searching for your site and bookmarking your site and linking to your site (including outbound links from your site), the higher up you get (it’s a popularity contest now; it’s not just based on keywords and metadata anymore).

Social media marketing is a tasty treat for savvy marketers…it’s just plain Delicious.

Kristin Gentry is a professional services strategic sales and marketing expert with a specialty in Social Media Marketing (www.SavvySocialMediaMarketing.com).