The Most Important Thing on StumbleUpon: Do Not Pose as, Be a Legit User

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cc: Whiskeygonebad.

The “Social Media Insider” over at the Invesp Blog recently wrote a post about StumbleUpon called “StumbleUpon: 3 Most Important Things To Keep In Mind” about promotion on SU. I found it on Sphinn and while I was eager to read it my face quickly turned grim when I read the posting.

Then I checked it at StumbleUpon and noticed that it was huge there. The Invesp blog is a legit source for good marketing information so I was the more disappointed to find such flawed advice. I don’t say that it’s bogus but it’s wrong on many levels and people who follow it might even get banned from SU.

Most importantly though the post is the outcome of the wrong mindset, a mindset I call the SEO 1.0 mindset where people exploit social media instead of actively contributing to it in a positive manner.

Now who I am to teach a “Social Media Insider”? Some would perhaps refer to me as “power stumbler” as I have more than 11.000 pages “liked” and ca. 700 fans on StumbleUpon after more than a year active participation there.

So now I will debunk the myths spread in this post. While it attempts to sound legitimate between the lines there is the “SEO 1.0 mindset” shining through. He states for example:

SU’s algorithm is a very smart one so you have to make it look what you are doing is pretty legit.

Do Not Pose as, Be a Legit User

This above sentence is a fundamental mistake. When you attempt to pose as a legit user you’ll never be one. It’s about being a legit user though what makes you successful. I never had to pose as a real user because I was from day one. How you can accomplish that?

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Stumble what you really like not what you think others will like.
  3. Do not stumble only work stuff like business and marketing, stumble arts, photography, science pages as people on SU are mostly there to discover such stuff not for business reasons.
  4. Express yourself.
  5. Do not stumble for numbers but for quality.

Now this is obviously a SEO blog so you probably wonder where the promotion comes in. In SEO 2.0 we don’t do obvious, sneaky or posing self promotion. SEO 2.0 is not about exploiting social sites, it’s about using them to the max in accordance with the rules and to please the community.
Do Not Promote Yourself to Promote Yourself

While SEO 1.0 is about aggressive self promotion SEO 2.0 relies on human nature.

Those who give the most are the most popular. Ever wondered why presidential candidates promise tax cuts before each election?

The more accepted you get on StumbleUpon the more people will trust and follow you and the more you’ll get stumbled. Often I’m amazed at how even the least SU compatible posts at SEO 2.0 get submitted and gain some traction. Also sometimes I get submitted even before I can fix my typos. A while ago I made the mistake of adding an image after publishing a post so that I was submitted without the image on the preview thumbnail.

I don’t have to “rotate my network” or something. The only thing I have to do from time to time is telling my most eager readers and fans to NOT stumble me anymore as 3 or more stumbles in a row rather hurt me than help. This is no joke. Also some people who ask me for a stumble feel obliged to stumble me back and then I always say “only if you really like it”. I don’t need vote exchange or anything like this.

Also I never actively send instant messages to a group of people to stumble me. This is crap advice as SU of course notices that someone enters the site from outside instead of just stumbling naturally via the toolbar and discounts such votes. It only works when the fans of the people who reviewed it like it too. You will sometimes see a post with 10 or more reviews and less than 20 thumbs up due to lack of real popularity. A post with one or even zero reviews but lots of real thumb ups can get much more popular in terms of traffic. You have to find a topic that most people are interested in. Such topics are of course:

  • StumbleUpon
  • Humor
  • Internet
  • Internet tools

Some of my most popular stumble success stories with more than 10k page views covered those topics. The Internet lies post took me just an hour to write but was viewed more than 10k times with most people coming via StumbleUpon. It combined both Internet and humor. My social media friends largely ignored it btw.

Finally there are 2 pieces of advice in this article that are really true but are often abused by people too eager to promote themselves:

Reviewing other stumblers and sending messages to those sharing interests with you.

I recently get more “targeted” messages like “Hey You, I see you like aviation too, check out my [insert sales pitch here]!”. In case it’s a sales pitch or it sucks for other reasons I won’t stumble it. I might even report you as spam like the guy who wrote me “I see you like Digg” just because I used the tag a few times. I hate Digg!

So now for the heroic reader I will disclose my mind boggling secret StumbleUpon promotion tricks!

There are of course some methods I use sometimes to speed up or enhance the process of being stumbled. They are very low key and are in no way directly self promotional but they work.

  • Often I will announce a new post on Twitter to my 300 hundred followers. I rarely ask for a stumble but I almost always get discovered minutes after the announcement.
  • I will submit my postings sometimes to Sphinn and then people will notice it ans stumble it too.
  • After getting submitted I will tag myself. Tags and categories are the most important factor of success on SU. Most submitters fail to use them correctly though. So I will tag and categorize my posts without thumbing myself up or reviewing my post. Especially users new to SU will submit everything to science or Internet where nobody cares for it unless it’s really about science or the Internet (like the Internet lies post mentioned above).

The key for success on StumbleUpon is being known as a legit social media user throughout several platforms and of course SU itself plus being able to cover topics everbody cares about. Any artificial way of posing as someone else or feigning interest in other people will hurt you in the long run.

So don’t pose as a legit user, be one!