How to be a success in online networking part 2, Stumbleupon

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 A restaurant whose menu is out of date.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.

14 thoughts on “How to be a success in online networking part 2, Stumbleupon”

  1. A humouros post and some very good tips. *stumbles*

    Your idea to make your avatar red was a clever one. As Rob pointed out at Yack Yack, you are a farmiliar face to stumblers. When I stumbled your site I used the review ‘The unoffical face of StumbleUpon’ because I can be guarenteed to see your face at least once a day; either garishly grabbing my eye from someones blog log or hogging the space in the ‘People Who Like Seo Sites’ section.

  2. Alas, I haven’t made much use of SU monsieur Lyndon …. I shall see what I can do since ye have me motivated…. ?.. see what fun can be had!!

    I have seen some folks that stumble all kinds of stuff from related, to pictures and so on… I try to only hit reasonably related pages… I hate stumbling into strange/useless crap.

    How much time do you spend on the SU activity? I am always obsessed with ROI for time spent… :0(

    O.. I gave ya ‘I Like It’ for this post of course… :0) …. L8TR M8

  3. Some good advice. I have the same goals with SU as you do, but I probably haven’t been quite as active. I’ve started doing more reviews rather than just giving it a thumbs up. I noticed that I paid more attention to who reviewed my pages/posts, so I’m thinking others do too.

  4. I think the crucial phrase is: “if it?s only your friends that stumble a web page, not much happens.”
    Basically I made the error of befriending too many people and now I do not get any traffic anymore because most people who stumbled me before do not count anymore.
    In this way you hurt yourself and your friends by befriending them. It’s paradox but it’s the way it is.

  5. I did a test the other day where I sent a page to everyone on my list, I then monitored who thumbed back and how much traffic it sent. Luckily no non friends thumbed so it gave me a good sample. I got teeny tiny traffic from stumble, whereas another post, The list of social bookmarking site was left to its own devices and got huge traffic.

    Looking at the people who thumbed it was 80% non friends, so yeah. Non friends are the people you want to stumble your stuff, which presents a dilemma.

    The reason I like my friends is I get sent cool stumbles through the friend feed, if I unfriended them I lose that.

    But a thought occurs, Stumble does not know this is my blog. So it does not know the people who stumble it are friends or not of the owner of the blog. So perhaps it is the “Send to” function that negates the stumble.

    Hmmmm, I think more tests are needed.

  6. I find SU to be really confusing. It is my single biggest source of traffic to my blog and yet there seems to be no pattern to it. There have been posts that have had several thumbs up and received no traffic – perhaps that it because they were stumbled by friends.

    I thought it was the ‘right thing to do’ to befriend people who stumble my stuff but perhaps that’s not the way to go about it. I’m trying to get into the habit of using more but I often forget as I tend to read a lot of good posts in my feed reader which is an offline application.

    One thing I have started doing though is Stumbling with the ‘friends’ option selected – this tends to give me a lot of highly relevant stuff that I like.

  7. SU is a little confusing but it looks like its worth investing your time into. I actually found you through it and can now keep up with your blogging 🙂

    I wrote a similar article to this recently. Mostly about how to get traffic by stumbling places where you’re mentioned.

    Your advice is right on with the rest of it. I need to spend much more time playing with SU.

  8. SU, just like WOM (Word of mouth) gets mileage but like the same phenomenon it has positive as well as a negative result to it. The negative is that repeat visits decline.

  9. Hi,
    Its a informative post.Actually i am a newest member(Sabelina) to stumble upon.You had cleared all my doubts.I know StumbleUpon drives a lot of traffic, and the traffic, and as DoshDosh reports, StumbleUpon traffic is generally focused and of great quality.You have bring all good points.Thanks for your valuable and precious information.
    Good Luck!

  10. Basically I made the error of befriending too many people and now I do not get any traffic anymore because most people who stumbled me before do not count anymore.

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