Anyone who tells you they haven’t wasted time while browsing the internet is lying. You know it, I know it, they know it. As I sit here beginning to write this post, I’m reminded that just 20 minutes ago I opened up my laptop with great purpose – “Time to write!”- and subsequently spent those first 20 minutes I could have been vigorously typing my thoughts away cruising through my Facebook, answering emails and somehow even found myself reading an article on “8 Things You Won’t Believe Plants Do When No One’s Looking” (and believe it or not 0ver 700,000 other people have read this article since it was posted on October 6, 2011!). The internet has become like a grocery store: You go in with a purpose, and 10 minutes in you’ve already forgotten what you’ve come in to buy. My all-time favorite time-waster is and always will be StumbleUpon.com. But is StumbleUpon truly a “time-waste”? or is StumbleUpon an underutilized social media tool primed to help your brand grow? Take, for instance, this enjoyable comic. This internet stereotype couldn’t be truer. I can’t remember a time when I’ve been “stumbling” and someone hasn’t asked me, “So what are you supposed to be doing?” This got me thinking- at SocialNicole one of our core services is to assist businesses with establishing branded online presences. Could StumbleUpon possibly be advantageous? Turns out, IT IS. Not only does StumbleUpon account more more than 50 percent of all referral traffic among the top social media sites, but it has also surpassed Facebook as a top source of social media traffic!
But how? The entire purpose behind StumbleUpon is rife with advantages for businesses that decide to take the time to learn the “science” behind it. By “stumbling” the user is able to find new websites unique to their personal profile interests – sites that have been recommended by other users. And by giving ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ you personally affect whether or not more similar websites will be linked to you and if the website gets referred to other “stumblers.” This means highly personalized traffic for the user and the website! Woah slow down, how do I even get started? I’ll take it back a few steps. StumbleUpon.com is free to use, and if you’ve ever signed up for any service on the Internet, it should be a breeze for you to click on their website and follow the prompts to sign up. Once you’re all set up you’ll be asked to fill out a personal profile to help you with your “stumbling.” This includes clicking on interests that range from cooking to self-improvement. You can choose as many as you’d like. Clicking on these interests is one of the most important parts of the service, as it becomes the groundwork for StumbleUpon to work off of as it links you new websites. After you’ve finished fleshing out your personal interest profile, you’re set to start “stumbling.” What now? The way I see it, the first and easiest way to take advantage of Stumble Upon’s features is by simply just beginning to stumble. Let’s take a peek, shall we? In the upper-left hand corner of your new Home Page on the website, you’ll see a button that says, “Stumble Your Interests.” Point, click, bam. If you like the website and want to see more, a top left “thumbs up” button in your tool bar (see below) is available to click. By clicking the button, more sites similar to that one are added to your StumbleUpon“mix,” and subsequently if you choose “thumbs down” StumbleUpon will be sure to limit similar sites to being linked to you. Similarly, as a site is given more “thumbs up” it is linked to increased amounts of other users (you can guess what “thumbs down” does). What’s truly nifty about StumbleUpon is that it evolves with every “thumb” you give it. For instance, if you “thumbs up” more sites pertaining to muffin recipes, StumbleUpon will take the hint and give you increased amounts of muffin/baking recipes. How is this useful for your business? It is what you make of it: Curiosity about information or facts related to your field, networking with other similar businesses, weeding out the competition, etc. Just make sure you have the time to spare. It takes awhile for StumbleUpon to truly get to “know” you and evolve. Don’t expect to sit down the first day and find something exactly what you’re looking for. The name says it all: you are simply “stumbling” around. But the more you use it, the more it’ll help you out! Not to mention, the service allows you to make some truly personalized relationships through a community of like-minded stumblers that YOU personally create- we’ll talk more about that soon. Stayed Tuned for the next installment in this Stumble Upon series, which focuses on a more in-depth way to use the service- and build yourself a stumbling community!