Almost 2 years ago, a small website with only 12 million users managed to surpass Facebook, the social media king that had 600 million users at the time, as the number one traffic generating social media network. In the meantime, Facebook got a billion users and with this incredible rise it also regained its place as the number 1 traffic generator. Yet StumbleUpon is keeping strong at number 2, even though it only has a little over 25 million users (StatCounter). So how does this happen? And how can you use it to your advantage?
First things first, how does such a small website, compared to Facebook and Twitter, bring in so much traffic to so many blogs and businesses all over the world? The main reason is that StumbleUpon is probably the only website in the world wide web that is specifically designed to send you to other websites, rather than their own. While all other social networks (or just any website in general, really) are trying their best to keep users on their websites for as much as possible, StumbleUpon does the opposite: it refers people to other websites.
This doesn’t mean that if you use StumbleUpon you will get lots and lots of traffic to your website without you needing to use any other platforms. Rather, StumbleUpon works best when paired with other social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter. I personally believe that StumbleUpon and Twitter is a match made in heaven for traffic generation, and I use the two all the time for my blog and my clients.
One of the best features that StumbleUpon has to offer (in my opinion) is their URL shortner, su.pr. Apart from all the regular features that a URL shortner provides – i.e. shortning the link and tracking – what is best about su.pr is that whenever someone clicks on the link, the link also becomes available to the StumbleUpon community (which, as I mentioned earlier, has over 25 million users). So whenever you post a link in one of your tweets, use the su.pr shortner. This way, you will reach even more people and will get more traffic.
But there’s a lot more that you should do if you want to take full advantage of the possibilities StumbleUpon has to offer. The first thing that you should do is to create a complete profile and include a list of all your interests. By doing this, you are making it easier for other StumbleUpon users to find you and decide if they want to connect with you or not. Once you are done with that, it’s time to start “stumbling upon” content! It is very important that you don’t just stumble your own content, which will only make you look like a spammer whose only interest is to sell to the StumbleUpon community. Rather, why not try to make new friends and build upon existing relationships by stumbling other users’ content? By doing this, you will look like a friendly person/business that wants to connect and that isn’t focused only on his/her own interests and on selling. Not to mention, they might be more inclined to stumble your content, and therefore drive more traffic to your website.
If you want to see results very fast, and don’t have the time to wait for organic stumbles, there is a solution: StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery. Unlike other ads, with Paid Discovery you are getting targeted traffic directly to your website. And because your traffic is targeted, there is a much better chance that people will stick around for longer. Not only that, but you only pay per unique and engaged visitor, on a budget that you control and with no minimum spend.
You can also add the StumbleUpon sharing button on your own blog, next to the Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn buttons – this way you will allow your readers to easily stumble your articles for you. You can also install the StumbleUpon extension to make it easier for yourself to stumble other people’s content, as well.
Overall, StumbleUpon is one of the best traffic generating social media platforms out there, while at the same time one of the most under appreciated and overlooked by businesses. It doesn’t have a lot of users, compared to other social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, and yet it generates a staggering amount of traffic. But the fact that StumbleUpon is so overlooked can work to your advantage – you might just be one of the first few of your competitors to use StumbleUpon and their URL shortner, which could really give you an advantage.