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StumbleUpon for Marketers

31 Aug 2011 by in Community Management / No Comments

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StumbleUpon has been getting a lot of attention recently for surpassing 1 billion monthly stumbles and for beating Facebook in delivering US traffic. As a marketer, I wanted to understand how we can help drive a share of this traffic to our clients’ sites and content. To learn more I sat down with Nathan Peterson, a successful digital marketing strategist with experience in creating and effectively executing on paid, earned, and owned digital marketing plans for a diverse range of businesses including start-ups, agencies, and corporations (Microsoft). Nathan has been using StumbleUpon as a marketing tool for the past few months and he had great insights on how to use the social network to boost traffic.

What is StumbleUpon?

StumbleUpon helps users discover and share great websites. In practice, the service combines your positive and negative ratings of content with those of other users and then provides you with personalized recommendations to view new content. As you click stumble you are delivered high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences; these pages have been recommended to you by one of over 15 million other web surfers who share similar interests.

StumbleUpon’s user experience is fanciful and fun, but its traffic power for publishers and brands is quite serious. While the other social networks make the headlines, StumbleUpon is steadily generating more referrals than Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Digg combined.

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What’s Interesting about StumbleUpon?

Now that StumbleUpon is getting media attention, we will surely see marketers start to utilize this service to obtain traffic to their branded content. Nathan saw the potential for gaining exposure through StumbleUpon about six months ago when a friend of his, Elliot Lemenger, wrote an article How I Used StumbleUpon To Receive 50,000 New Visitors On My Blog In Only A Month. Nathan, being the smart and forward thinking digital marketing expert that he is, knew he had to investigate StumbleUpon for his own marketing efforts. He quickly saw that StumbleUpon is a very unique platform for sharing content that is much different from the social sharing of Facebook and projectile form of Twitter.

In essence StumbleUpon takes the best of the best and makes content recommendations that are tagged from all over the world. You can hone in on the best article on SU and then share it with your network. It may be hard to believe that StumbleUpon drives more traffic than Facebook with only 15 million users. However, this starts to make sense when you realize that the only thing being shared on StumbleUpon is third party websites while there is a lot more sharing clutter on Facebook between status updates, pictures, events, etc.

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Interested Now? Here’s How to Start Driving Traffic to Your Site

Nathan advises to first identify the target audience that you or your brand poses value to and then define the topical keywords and interests for that group. Once you start your SU account, selectively follow experts in your field or people that are interested in your topic areas. The next step is to install the SU tool bar onto your favorite browser and then start stumbling. That being said, Nathan has some rules of the road to ensure you are getting maximum exposure from StumbleUpon:

1. Make sure to stumble content that your target audience will find interesting and be sure to tag these stumbles appropriately.

2. Don’t just stumble your own content. The StumbleUpon system will recognize if you only stumble pages on your domain and will not recommend your stumbles to other users. A good rule of thumb is to only stumble one piece of your own content for every nine third party sites that you stumble (it’s the 90-10 rule).

3. The more stumbles you bring to your page the higher you will rank within the network. Nathan spends 10 to 15 minutes a day to stumble and share relevant pages.

4. When you have other people to help, use one account for the entire team and setup toolbars for each member so everybody is contributing to getting a higher ranking for one account.

Using these tips will help you gain authority on StumbleUpon in your specific domain. It may take some time to build, but once you gain credibility the content you share will show up to like-minded Stumblers and you will see more traffic coming to your own content. Nathan was able to achieve a 300% increase in traffic to a few blog posts on behalf of his client. It seems like the results speak for themselves!

NathanI’d like to thank Nathan Peterson (pictured on the right) for taking the time to discuss how StumbleUpon can be used for marketing and traffic generation. You can learn more from Nathan by following him on Twitter @NathanJTweets

Let us know if you have found success with StumbleUpon marketing in the comments section below.


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