stumbleupon mediavine marketingThe majority of small business owners and leaders that we talk to think of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as the primary social media sites to promote their services and products.  They’re right, but one site that is becoming increasingly useful for reaching a wider audience is StumbleUpon.  Earlier this year, Statcounter, a web traffic analytics firm, reported that StumbleUpon surpassed Facebook as the top source of social media traffic in the U.S.  Therefore, StumbleUpon can be a great way for you to reach a wider audience and increase traffic to your website, especially if you create your own content.

If you know your target market and you offer helpful, engaging content on your website, StumbleUpon can be a great tool for reaching the people you want. 

So, what is StumbleUpon?  StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site and, according to Wikipedia, a “discovery engine that finds the best of the web, recommended to each unique user. It allows its users to discover and rate Web pages, photos, and videos that are personalized to their tastes and interests using peer-sourcing and social-networking principles.” StumbleUpon likens itself to channel surfing through the internet, allowing you to discover new sites that you may not run across otherwise. 

In your regular internet surfing experience, you probably run across sites, pages, videos and posts that you think would interest other people.  StumbleUpon’s “I like it!” button (located on a toolbar you can download) allows you to tell others about your approval of a page or site and places it into its database of sites that are served to other users during their own stumbling sessions. 

stumbleupon toolbar mediavine marketing

In order to use StumbleUpon and submit your own content as well as recommend the content of others, you will need to create an account and profile as well as choose your topics of interest (there are over 500).  Like other social media sites, StumbleUpon makes it easy for you to connect with your current friends and contacts by importing your email addresses and finding people who are already on StumbleUpon.  You can also connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

After you’ve created your account and downloaded their toolbar (although you don’t have to download it, it is handy if you want to use StumbleUpon on a regular basis), you can start rating pages that you come across during your normal internet activity. 

The more you thumb pages up or down, the better that StumbleUpon will get at recommending pages that you like and less of what you don’t.  You’ll also be able to share your favorite web pages (“stumbles”) through email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and of course, StumbleUpon itself. 

Here are some suggestions for making StumbleUpon a valuable experience by promoting your own content as well as the content of others. 

1. Create content that other people are going to like and rate favorably.  The more people give your content a thumbs up, the more others will have a chance to see it. 

2. Spend some time building your network.  You can start by finding people you are already connected to in Facebook and Twitter.  Also, make sure that you let StumbleUpon know about all of your interests by selecting categories for your profile. 

3. Explore new content by clicking on the Stumble button on your new toolbar (see screenshot above).  You’ll see content that others like (which will help you understand what makes compelling content) and fine-tune the content that StumbleUpon delivers to you as you give thumbs up or down. 

4.  Although it might be tempting to only “stumble” your own content, that’s not a good idea.  You’ve got to take some time to give a thumb’s up to other content you find interesting in your areas of interest.  StumbleUpon will actually penalize stumblers who promote one website over and over again.  An easy way to find content to rate is to just click on the Stumble! button located on the left side of the page (see screenshot above).  If you really want to promote your site exclusively and have a budget, StumbleUpon does offer a paid promotion service. 

5. Promote content from people in your own network, especially things that aren’t currently in StumbleUpon’s database.  It’s the golden rule. 

6. Find things that haven’t been submitted to StumbleUpon yet, but you think that others will appreciate and like.

7. “Like” things that have already been submitted that you find interesting, entertaining, important or cool.

8. When you do submit your own content to StumbleUpon, make sure that you put it all of the relevant categories.  This will increase its chances of being seen by others.  Also, give your post a photo (or submit a video or photo by itself).  People like visuals. 

9.  Put the StumbleUpon button on your website so that others can easily stumble it. 

Have you used StumbleUpon for your small business?  What has been your experience so far? 

Westvyne Marketing