Stumbling may not be fun after a wild night out on the town, but it is a geat way to share interesting web content with friends! For those of you who are unfamiliar with StumbleUpon, it is a social bookmarking website, that acts as a web content discovery engine, promoting "the best of the web" via user recommendations. The site has gained much visibility over the past year, since it surpassed Facebook as the leader in traffic generation for websites ( See StumbleUpon Drives More Than 50% of Social Media Traffic [STATS]). Since that proclamation, the site has consistently increased the amount of traffic it is sending to websites, making it a must use site for anyone who wants to find the latest cool website (See Facebook is Good, But StumbleUpon Rules through “Freshness”). StumbleUpon also has a mobile app which set a record during the last Super Bowl for sending mobile traffic (see StumbleUpon Sets Record for Mobile Use During Super Bowl). So clearly it is a player in the burgeoning mobile market as well.
For content producers (i.e. people with websites and blogs), StumbleUpon is a great way to get discovered by many people who are interested in your topic. Stumbling all of your posts is a great way to get a kick start on traffic generation. In the short time I have been a "stumbler", I have even seen that StumbleUpon is already the second highest traffic generator for my site after Facebook (which I have been on for much longer). So I am already seeing a benefit for being a stumbler, and there is no doubt in my mind that StumbleUpon is a site you should join. Not only can you start driving more traffic to your website, but you will also discover new socially curated, recommended content.
So now that we know you should be a member, let's discuss what you actually do when you stumble...According to the book The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, "... you can start surfing with StumbleUpon to find brand new sites that are related to your interests as suggested by other users on the service. The more active you are on StumbleUpon, the more opportunity there is for you to grow your network and expose your own content to more and more StumbleUpon users." To sign up, you either create a new account with the service, or simply log-in using your Facebook account. This is very convenient, as you won't have to register, and it already shows which Facebook friends are also stumbling content. You can follow their stumbles, and they can follow yours, giving you a quick way to start building your online community on the site.
After you sign up to StumbleUpon, you have the ability to install a toolbar on your browser that automatically "stumbles" you across different random websites, based on preferences you added for hobbies and interests. Stumbleupon will take you to a new site which you can "like" or "dislike" it, using the Thumbs Up or Down symbols. It also gives you the ability to share on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, as well as leave and read comments other users have left. This peer-sourcing model is what has the ability to rate content and direct you to it, based on social proof. What is great about the system is that every time you rate an item, the system improves its ability to recommend more relevant content to your user profile.
Like other social sites, you have friends and followers which will see your "Favorite" pages and recommendations. You can add sites with reviews of pages you are interested in. You can add your own blog posts every time you post. For example, when I publish a blog post, I like to "stumble" it to my followers. There is a button I have installed on each blog post page that allows others to "stumble" the page to the network as well. This adds it to the system and allows others with similar interests to see the page as well. The StumbleUpon button is on this blog post as well, so if you could please stumble this post, by clicking on the button that looks like this at the bottom of the page, it would be much appreciated
Another great reason to use StumbleUpon is to see what others who have similar interests recommend. The web has so much garbage on it, it is nice to have peers review the content and give their stamp of approval, before reading it yourself. This social proof can help influence decision making process, when choosing what to read and what to ignore online. Additionally, you can select a certain category and it will only give you results from that category until deselected once again. Of course, if you find people who have very similar interests as you do, you can follow them and start building actual online friendships with them, based on your shared interests (it is social media after all!)
So what if you don't want to wait for your pages to become popular overtime? Like other social sites, StumbleUpon also has a paid/sponsorship option. This will increase your pages visibility, and the likelihood of being seen. The system, known as "Paid Discovery for Advertisers" allows you to focus on people in your target market, and provides impressions of the content. In other words, your content will be shown directly to people who have a specific interest, however, the targeting is not as granular as LinkedIn or Facebook Ads. On the bright side, people do not have to click on your ad before they are served the content. If your content is relevant, it will likely receive the approval of other stumblers, as they hopefully give it a thumbs up (not a thumbs down).
Overall, whether you are looking for new and interesting content to read, or looking to promote what you have written, I would highly recommend you join StumbleUpon. In fact, if you click here I can be your first friend on the site! Not only is the service useful for generating traffic to your website, but you can learn about new content your friends are reading, and it can definitely assist you in your backlinking strategy to increase your SEO as well. If you have any questions regarding that topic, please feel free to schedule a consultation to discuss your social media and digital marketing strategy, or call 305-918-ADAY (2329). In the next few posts we will review other similar social booking marking websites, and how you can use them to help promote your business and website!