It has taken me a while to get to grips with Stumbleupon. It has features that I cannot find explained anywhere on the official Stumbleupon pages. The guys who run Stumbleupon don’t seem to mind that most people have no idea how to use their system.
Maybe that’s why I like it so much. It’s like the restaurant that does not advertise, and you only find whilst trying to find your girlfriends cat in the rain. A restaurant whose menu is out of date. But the food happens to be exceptional.
Sometimes digg feels like a mental asylum and Reddit is just too prissy and up its own end, whilst Stumbleupon just takes it easy. And because there is no one way to use the site and because it has a number of funky doo dahs, you can turn it into a powerful networking beast.
The way I use SU may be unique, I don’t know. But I will share with you the way I use it.
My objectives are
- Networking within my field
- Driving traffic to my blog
- Finding new souces of information
- Driving traffic to “friends” websites
Because I have this focus I believe I have become quite successful in the sense of achieving those goals, but it may not matter to everyone.
I do not use Stumble to
- Make friends
- Waste time
- Ego trip
- Find news and information outside the space I work in
This may be how you use it and there is absolutely no problem with that. I achieve those things in other arenas. So when reading this, keep in mind that it is reflective of my SU style and not the definitive way to use SU.
Lets get down to the nitty gritty. My SU page First thing you notice is the avatar. Deliberately chosen to be noticed and remembered. Red isn’t a common colour on web 2.0 sites, neither with most avatars, so it stands out more than most. Don’t go all getting a red avatar now else mine gets less unique ;).
BTW, I am using the new interface on SU so my references are to that rather than the classic look.
If you look at the stories I have stumbled, they are all in the SEO or SMO field. No pictures of kittens skateboarding down the Eiffle Tower, or musings on the US Government conspiracy to get Fox News as the official news source of the White House. It’s simply news and information regarding the field I work in. Occasionally I slip in a pic to break it up, but 90% of the time is on track.
Each time I find a juicy article on my travels I stumble it. I usually include a snippet from the site, this helps gives readers more of an idea of what the Stumble is about. It also means it will show up in your feed even if you are not the first one to stumble. This means your fans and friends will be able to to see the stumble and consider stumbling themselves. Doing this makes you a valuable resource to other people in your space who are looking for new sources of information.
I only add people when I think they will send me interesting information in their stumble feed. Fortunately there are a lot of active seo and smo stumblers with which to share info.
If I read an article I like which came from a source other than Stumble, then I will Stumble it. It’s one of those things where the more you use it the stronger it gets.
The “send to” button which is located in your toolbar you can use this to ask other Stumblers to do an initial story or to add their stumble. I have been experimenting with the amount of people to invite and found that if it’s only your friends stumbling a web page, not much happens. But if it’s someone you do not know the traffic starts to pour in.
So the advice is invite two or three people and hope other unconnected stumblers will notice and pile on.
Only stumble quality content, if you stumble low grade stuff people will judge you to be an information source of dubious quality.
I used to be in the habit of stumbling my submissions at other social bookmarking sites. This is a no no, it’s highly irritating and you will be seen a someone who takes short cuts.
Don’t stumble everything your friends ask you, judge each piece of content on its merit.
Stumble often, each time you perform an action on SU your avatar will rise to the top on a fans list of people they have friended. As you accumulate more friends and fans it becomes a bigger lever.
Leave reviews on other Stumblers pages, don’t be stingy, spread the love around. Each time you do your avatar gets left there and you give another way for people to find your blog.
I am not sure about this, but I don’t think there is such a thing as a power stumbler. In that it doesn’t matter how many fans or reviews you have when you stumble something. The stumble is judged on the content and not of the stumble, which is how it should be. I am not completely certain of this, but a more than a few people have come to me and said their puny stumble account with 13 fans set 100’s a traffic.
I only notice the hot page when it shows up in my log. What’s the point? It’s just a big time waster and you don’t need your avatar to appear there.
Include a link to your SU page from your blog.
The best way to make connections is to stumble them and to keep stumbling. It’s amazing how many people are nice to you after you send them a few thousand visitors.
OK, that’s it for now. I am sure there is more, but I have to go find the girlfriends cat.