Over the next several days we are going to be talking about some of the different social networking sites out there and how we might be able to effectively use them to promote our businesses.

Today we are going to be exploring one of my favorites

StumbleUpon

The first social networking site I’d recommend for just about any blogger is StumbleUpon.

The way this site works is that you open a free account with them and then download their tool bar for your browser. They’ve got versions for both FireFox and Internet Explorer. This tool bar has a “Stumble” button which will take you to a “random” site of interest.
StumbleUpon Logo
I put random in quotes because the sites StumbleUpon will show you are based on your own interest. One critical step in the process is to fill out your profile as completely as possible. That way their system knows what kind of sites you’d like to see.

Then whenever you see a good web page (or a good blog post) you can click their thumbs up button to vote the page up. If you especially don’t like a site you can give it a thumbs down.

Over time StumbleUpon learns what you like and don’t like and shows you more of what you like.

StumbleUpon friends also play an important role in what you see and don’t see. By selecting someone as a friend you are saying that you’d like to see the web pages they think are good. When they select you as a friend they will see the pages you like.

The beauty of the system is that you can just be yourself, express your interests honestly. With over 2 million folks in their network Stumbling around the internet you are bound to find some who share your interests.

Advantages

Interest Driven – One of the biggest advantages to SumbleUpon is that it is interest driven. Therefore there is no guilt associated with promoting your own stuff.

Because you’ve already laid out your interests with keywords in your profile, and you are networking with folks with similar interests they will be inherently much more likely to respond positively to what you submit.

I’ve seen a good amount of traffic from StumbleUpon. And because because it is interest based, I suspect it is “stickier” traffic than you would see from other sites, although I haven’t yet figured out a way to document that.

Advertising – Another thing to think about with StumbleUpon is that you can also purchase StumbleUpon advertising. With their program you pay for the number of people your web page is shown to. I believe it runs about 5 cents a view.

And the beauty is that because their system is interest driven, you can tailor your ad campaign to folks who will be genuinely interested in your product or service. So in theory you should see a bigger bang for your advertising buck. As an example, for $50 you can get 1,000 people who are highly likely to be interested in what your are offering to actually see your site.

Gotchas

Be sure to tag your submissions honestly with relevant tags. In the same vein, fill out your user profile honestly too.

If you let people know what they are getting into, you will likely find much higher value traffic heading to your site.

And I don’t think there is much that will generate lots of thumbs down votes faster than tricking people into visiting your site. Remember it only takes a mouse click or two to un-friend someone.

StumbleUpon does allow adult content, just so you know. But you can go into your profile and set it up to filter it out so you don’t have to see all that junk.

And if you’d like, once you get your account set up, feel free to add me as your friend. I’m there as, well as me, Chris Cree.

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