The definitive StumbleUpon primer – B2B marketing edition

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Your company might already be active on the big three social networks of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but don’t overlook StumbleUpon. It’s reminiscent of the Digg-Myspace era, but it hasn’t faded away; in fact, this link-sharing network can prove incredibly valuable to B2B marketers.

In case you aren’t familiar with StumbleUpon, it was founded in 2001 by Gareth Camp in Calgary, and currently has more than 30 million users.  It works as a search engine and bookmarking site rolled into one. On its main site or app, users click on a “stumble” button, and it brings them to web pages based on their selected interests or specific topics. The more you skip or stay on certain content, the more StumbleUpon intuitively learns about the sites it’ll recommend to you later.

Users can get lost on StumbleUpon for hours, browsing, sharing, liking, and bookmarking content on almost any vertical.

In 2007, eBay bought Stumbleupon for $75 million, but the founders and several investors bought it back in 2009. It has remained an independent company with offices in San Francisco and New York City.

You might have heard that in 2011, StumbleUpon accounted for about 43 percent of the U.S. social media traffic on a given day, Jan.1, while Facebook accounted for about 38 percent. More recent figures have not been released, and SU’s social power may have waned, but its simplicity of use and legacy is still appealing to marketers.

So how can your business harness this content recommendation engine?

A Huge User Base For your Content

According to its Alexa ranking, in September and October StumbleUpon saw a significant dip in its ranking, but momentum now seems to be on the upswing and it presently sits at the top 204th  site in the world. It’s the kind of recommendation site you might not hear about publicly, but your friends might have been Stumbling casually the past few years. You can give your business content a longer shelf-life by driving traffic via StumbleUpon buttons/widgets on all your posts. SU creates a longer tail for compelling content, so you’ll want to ensure your content marketing initiatives stress quality. Don’t forget: Evergreen content can be rediscovered much more frequently on SU than news content.

Look into adding a StumbleUpon widget to your website so visitors can recommend your company’s content to the network.

Discover the Competition

StumbleUpon allows you to search within specific niches, so use this tool to track other companies in your field. Once you “stumble upon” their content, check them out and see how they stack up to your business. Maybe they employ unique strategies or have fine-tuned a business model worth reviewing. You can use SU as a powerful research weapon to help you stay ahead of the competition.

Paid Discovery Program

StumbleUpon has a policy against spam for those who use it as a promotional platform, so you will likely be kicked off if you try to astro-turf your content on the network. However, over 100,000 brands, publishers, and marketers have used the Paid Discovery program to promote their businesses with various ads. You will definitely want to consider this option when using StumbleUpon to promote your company.

Find Experts and Influencers

For the same reason that StumbleUpon helps you find new sources of competition, it can also help you find influencers and experts in your field. Stumble around in your business niche to find the trending articles/posts and connect with specialists you may want to learn from or even hire.

See What’s Trending

Under the Categories tab you can search by media type, and you can also find out what’s trending right now. Stumbling through the “trending” category will direct you to content generating the most buzz. Your business can insert itself into trending conversations only if it feels natural and never forced.

Find Other Content to Share

Like on Twitter, if you give a hat-tip to a non-competitor on social, you might enjoy their admiration and acknowledgement down the road. Recommend strong content you find in B2B niches. Giving public kudos will endear you to influencers who appreciate your sincerity. After all, the value of SU is the mountain of viral content you can find within minutes, thanks to how quickly you can shuttle between posts.

StumbleUpon can be addictive, so if you aren’t careful it can turn into a time sink. Strategize how SU can fit in your social strategy and allocate resources smartly. It’s no Facebook or Twitter, of course. But it shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you want to give your B2B marketing an edge many competitors may have ignored.

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B2BNN Newsdesk

B2BNN Newsdesk

We marry disciplined research methodology and extensive field experience with a publishing network that spans globally in order to create a totally new type of publishing environment designed specifically for B2B sales people, marketers, technologists and entrepreneurs.
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