According to eBizMBA, StumbleUpon is the 5th largest social bookmarking site. It is one of the most well known and many people would say the most fun to use social bookmarking sites. What makes StumbleUpon so much fun is the StumbleUpon toolbar. What is so amazing about this toolbar is the ability to truly surf the web. Once installed you can set your preferences and interest and surf the web getting recommendations based on your interest. If your interested in “Higher Education” and “Internet Marketing” then you will be more likely to get these sorts of sites shown to you. By rating the sites that you like and don’t like using the toolbars “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” options the system learns your preferences and narrows down the sites that it sends you too.
Here are two great articles that can explain StumbleUpon much better than me trying to rewrite something that someone has already done better:
- A Quick Guide to Using StumbleUpon
- How to Write Posts That Set StumbleUpon on Fire - This article can easily be translated to content on any site
The Stumble Effect
Because of it’s unique approach you will always generate some traffic for anything URL that has been stumbled. Also because of it’s unique nature the traffic that you generate will also be targeted to your audience. If your audience is prospective students then it is possible to generate that sort of traffic just as if you were interested in college sports.
To give an example StumbleUpon has far and away been this blogs greatest source of traffic. I’ve gotten more than 1,000 visits from StumbleUpon over the last month which accounts for almost half of my traffic sources not counting direct traffic.
What type of Higher Ed pages will do best with StumbleUpon?
I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I think college sections geared towards prospective students using video, virtual tours, and interactive features will do best on StumbleUpon. I posted Wofford’s Arboretum website to StumbleUpon and we have actually gained some traffic, although I’ll admit it hasn’t been huge. The Arboretum is a site where individuals can download audio and maps and walk around campus enjoying the arboretum on a printed out PDF and each plants explanation on their mp3 player.
What is the best way for Higher Education to use StumbleUpon?
Because StumbleUpon, like any other social network, relies on the support of the masses it takes more than one person to get the ball rolling. Take a look at your college’s website and find 2-5 pages that really stand out as a great representation of your institution and get 4-5 people to submit it making sure that you all use the same tags. Then forget about it and check your traffic statistics in a month. Don’t get your hopes up that you will generate thousands of hits, but you will bring steady, targeted traffic to you best sections which hopefully builds up more long term name recognition and relationships.
DO NOT attempt to submit everything, simply your best and hope that the stumbler finds enough on the landing page that they surf more around your site. Keep in mind that this audience probably knows little to none about your school so having links like a fast facts page easily viewable are definitely recommended. One of the most difficult things to do with Stumble traffic is to complete the conversion. Just because they come to your site and enjoy your campus tour doesn’t necessarily mean that they will ever come back. This sort of traffic usually doesn’t stay very long so make sure that you make it as easy as possible to convert them by offering email signups, RSS feeds, and such. Keep your most important information and what you want them to see on the screen without having to scroll.
Photo provided by xiaojuntong
Stumbling is so much fun and is definitely one of the easiest sites to suck your time. Using your best content it is possible to take advantage of others stumble addiction to expose new individuals to your institution and brand. You shouldn’t expect amazing results, but StumbleUpon is an area of Internet marketing and exposure that should not be overlooked by anyone. It is very quick and easy to submit your site and you can realistically expect a steady flow of targeted traffic. Submitting sites to StumbleUpon also works best if you can get multiple people to submit and tag a piece of content. Don’t count on StumbleUpon to be your only traffic source, but it definitely provides a nice supplementary role.
In closing, out of all the Social Bookmarking sites I’ve written and haven’t written about, StumbleUpon presents the best social marketing possibilities for Higher Education.
Next week we’ll look at Del.icio.us.