While it may never have the viewership of social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, StumbleUpon is a Web 2.0 property every smart marketer needs to be aware of. With over 8 million members, StumbleUpon represents a powerful marketing tool, and a great way to reach out to new customers while connecting with existing ones.
How it works
StumbleUpon allows users to rate virtually anything they find on the internet, from photographs and videos to web pages and blogs. The site is often touted as a way for users to discover new things and find the hidden gems of the web. Marketers can use the site to spread the word about their own sites, allowing their own users to share their products and services with friends around the world.
StumbleUpon makes it easy for website owners to encourage others to share what they find, but it is important that those businesspeople use the site properly. As with Facebook and Twitter, making mistakes on StumbleUpon can be costly. Social media users want to feel a connection with the people and products they recommend, and they do not want to feel as if they are simply being marketed to.
Unique content to share
As with so many things in the world of marketing, subtlety and quality are the keys. It is important, for instance, to use a genuine photograph on your website or blog. Choose a picture that represents you well, not a stock photo users can find on a thousand other sites.
The content you choose is key as well. A compelling and eye-catching into is essential, as is well written content throughout all the pages of your site. You want to capture the attention of visitors right from the start, and you want to keep those visitors once they “stumble upon” your site. Sites with quality content are much more likely to be shared in the StumbleUpon world.
Making it easy for others to share your content is another important part of marketing in the StumbleUpon universe. Users can use the share button on the StumbleUpon toolbar to share sites they like, and website owners can adjust their settings to make sharing faster and easier.
As with other marketing tools, StumbleUpon works best when website owners carefully track the results. Analyzing which pages get the most attention is one of the best ways for bloggers and others to get the most out of the site. Once those website owners know which pages are working best, they can adjust the content and format of their other pages to duplicate that success.
A powerful social network
Marketers should also be careful not to ignore the social nature of the StumbleUpon site. It is important to gather followers, but it is just as important to follow others you find interesting. Maintaining a good ratio of followers to following is important, but keep in mind that StumbleUpon sets a limit of 500 followers, so choose carefully. Taking a look at existing followers and eliminating the least active is one way to make room for more interesting followers down the road.
StumbleUpon can be an excellent addition to a successful marketing campaign. The key is to understand what makes the site different – and to use those differences to your advantage. Many smart marketers are already using the site to build their brands and grow their businesses, and there is no reason you cannot do the same.
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