I keep on reminding Claire that she should get into Stumbleupon as another extension of her social media networking strategy... and she keeps on telling me that she will once I explain to her how it all works. There's nothing like a challenge to get my creative juices flowing, so I decided to combine an illustration of three approaches to stumbling with my first attempt at creating a video tutorial to show as well as tell you how it works. (Note from Claire: Yeah, in fact, I did sign up for an account a while back, prompted by 2 fab clients - Emma Bird and Claire Chapman - who both 'friended' me or something, but even after joining, I found the whole thing a bit confusing. Having said that, seeing that traffic to this blog usually triples if a post is Stumbled is sufficient motivation to learn more! So, back to Joanna...)
Now when I first stumbled across StumbleUpon it was as a way of finding new sites. I think it must have been in a quiet period when I was looking for new material and discovered that you could jump to new sites in the blink of an eye just by hitting the "Stumble!" button over and over again. And yes some of the sites were relevant and interesting (you set it up by indicating what kind of material you're looking for) - but after a while you find yourself hitting the refresh button over and over with hardly a glance at the sites you're reading, and start to wonder if it isn't time to switch off your PC set and do something more interesting instead.
But that's only one dimension of stumbling. There are loads of other ways that you can use it to make connections, to learn from your readers, to extend your blogging network and develop your online brand.
You can use it to:
- Give a thumbs up to a post you've enjoyed
- Write a short review of what you liked about it - helping other stumblers to learn about you as well as the post
- Connect with other people who like similar things
- Say thanks to someone who's submitted a review of something you've posted
- Bookmark posts that you've given the thumbs up
- Create a micro-blog - a record of sites you like and your commentary on them
- Meet some of your readers - not always the same people as those who leave comments
- Find out what your readers like - by following their stumble recommendations
- Get detailed feedback on your blog - I've had some valuable feedback on technical elements of my blog (like page load time, or an issue with the commenting set up) that I'd never have picked up otherwise
- Discover new posts and blogs - based on the recommendations of your friends, fans and like-minded stumblers
I'm sure this is only the tip of the iceberg on ways that you can make creative use of StumbleUpon. There are lots (and lots) of articles on stumbling to develop your blogging/social media strategy, and I'll include some links at the end for those of you that want to take it to the next level.
If you're getting into Stumbleupon for the first time, or are just finding your way, I've created this video tutorial on stumbling (7 mins long), showing you three of the most useful things you can do:
- Give a thumbs up to a piece that you like, and write a short review of it
- Read the reviews of a piece of your own that's been stumbled
- Manage your micro-blog, including your recommendations, reviews and what other people are stumbling
Just click the link (or the image above) to access the video, then press the large arrow in the centre of the video to start playing. Fingers crossed it works okay (even though not up to Claire's quality) but do let me know if there are any technical problems, as this is an experimental first for me.
The video doesn't cover the signing up and getting started phase - but we might just have something from Claire on this next week as she tests the StumbleUpon waters...
If you've any stumbling tips of your own to share, do please let us know in the comment box below - and if you've liked this piece, maybe you could give it a stumble? :-)
If you want to dig deeper into the potential of StumbleUpon here are some links that might help:
Targeting StumbleUpon Users - Daily Blog Tips
Building your blog with StumbleUpon - SkellieWag writing at Problogger
65 Must Read articles on StumbleUpon - from Newest on the Net (yes, that's 65 articles...)
To get a better idea of what a StumbleUpon microblog looks like you can check out my Stumble page here.
Joanna Young, for the Business Blog Angel Team.