Social Media Spotlight is designed to introduce you to the benefits of social media for your business, with specific examples tailored to the graphic arts industry. This month we’re exploring Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon.
Why join for business?
All of these sites (Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon) have a similar purpose – they aggregate trending topics on the web into one place. They are discovery engines for new content relating to specific areas of interest, as chosen by the user. While you don’t specifically sign up for a business account or create a business “page” on any of these sites, using them to learn the latest news based on your interests can be very helpful. The old saying “information is power” still holds true, but in today’s world “up-to-the-second information is real power”. These sites accomplish just that for the user, so here’s some information about all three platforms and what makes them unique from one another.
Digg is a social sharing platform with the tagline “What the Internet is talking about. Right now.” Digg was launched in 2004 and has evolved since then, becoming a much more simplified version of its former self. Users can “digg” (like) a news item and save or share content. Users can also sort through current top stories, popular stories (the most shared stories on Digg in the preceding 18 hours) and upcoming stories (the newest stories on Digg). Additionally, Digg has recently added a feature called Digg Reader, which is an RSS aggregator (information collector). Through Digg Reader, users can bring together content from specific blogs, news sites and other RSS feeds for a customized, up-to-the-minute source for news. Digg Reader inherited many users from the popular, yet ill-fated, Google Reader platform when it was disbanded by Google in July 2013
What’s black and white and ‘reddit’ all over? A trending Internet news story, of course! Reddit was created in 2006 and is “a source for what’s new and popular on the web”. It’s different from Digg because it not only includes trending news articles already on the web, but users can also upload their own content. All of this content is either voted “up” or “down” by the Reddit community to decide what’s trending and therefore moves onto the front page. Additionally, the content on Reddit’s site is organized into categories by subject area, called “subreddits”.
StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site that one user calls “a map to an adventure you wouldn’t otherwise have found out about.” It was created in 2001 by Canadian graduate students and of the three sites discussed here, this one offers the most opportunity for businesses to engage their customers. By creating an account, StumbleUpon asks you to identify your interests from a list of topics. The platform then aggregates everything on the web tagged with these keywords and assembles a constant feed in one place. As you continue to click the “Stumble” button on the top of the page, new content appears, all of which is related to your interests. You can “less like” or “more like” a story to improve the way StumbleUpon aggregates content for you in the future. The more you use the platform, the more it customizes the stories to your likes. You can recommend articles, comment, create lists, as well as see what’s trending right now on the web in the form of videos, articles and websites.
Tips for Engaging Prospects & Customers
1. Add Badges to Your Webpages
The social media logos found on a webpage are referred to as “badges”. The most popular badges are for Twitter and Facebook (to “Tweet” or “Like” content), but there are also badges for Digg and StumbleUpon. These badges allow web users to quickly and easily share the content on these platforms.
2. Create Content
Create remarkable, free content and lots of it. Create content that’s relevant to your users through a blog including text, audio, photos, video or a combination thereof. Also aim to create new content continuously (ideally, at least once a week) to establish a stream of users interested in hearing what you have to say, providing you with credibility and increasing the likelihood that they will become customers one day. You can have various contributors, with varying post lengths and different posting styles so the content creation process doesn’t have to be a long and arduous task for one individual.
3. Be Active and Engage in a Community of Users
Participating as a regular member of an online social community (by liking, sharing, digging, creating lists, etc.) is an important way to establish your credibility on these platforms. Additionally, as a member of the StumbleUpon community, you can “Add a Page” to the StumbleUpon site and tag it with specific keywords (a blog post, for example). For users who have identified a specific topic of interest that relates to your content, there is an increased likelihood that they will StumbleUpon your page, driving traffic to your site (they may have otherwise never found you). If users find your content interesting, they can like it and/or share it, which will increase the likelihood that another user will StumbleUpon it. As a reminder (and as with any other social media site), this is not the place to push your products or services. Instead, it’s a place to share remarkable content with a community of users.
4. Paid Advertising
It’s important to note that there are ways to increase the likelihood that someone will StumbleUpon your page. The StumbleUpon platform has “Paid Discovery” (a paid advertising feature). StumbleUpon allows you to upload your URL and then select the demographics you wish to target with your content. There is no minimum cost for the advertising and your business only pays for the unique visitors to your site who have arrived via StumbleUpon.
A Company Who’s Got It Right
It’s true that businesses can’t guarantee that their content will end up on one of these social sharing sites, however there are ways to increase the likelihood of your site being found organically (not through paid advertising) by creating captivating, relevant and engaging content.
For example, Pazazz Printing created their viral video “Printing’s Alive” five years ago, which has received over 250,000 views since then (www.youtube.com/user/pazazzprinting). Also, Sappi Paper created a nine-part video mini-series called “Off-Register” which is a parody of the (parody) show “The Office”, receiving over 180,000 total views for the series since it was first uploaded two years ago (www.youtube.com/user/offregister). This is not to say that video is the only type of content shared among users, but it has proven to be a captivating medium on the web.
Harmony Printing is an example of a company who has blogged fairly consistently since 2008 on a diverse variety of topics such as variable data printing, QR codes and the environment, to name a few (www.harmonyprinting.com/blog). By blogging about topics and content that are most relevant to their prospective and current customers, Harmony is helping drive web traffic to their site, which can be amplified through any one of these three social discovery engines.
Digg: A social sharing button that allows users to endorse a news item (equivalent to a Facebook ‘Like’).
RSS: Rich Site Summary (sometimes called Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed format that allows users to subscribe to content so that it is sent directly to them (a blog post or news feed, for example). Digg Reader collects all the RSS feeds that an individual subscribes to and manages them all in one place.
Subreddit: A category or community surrounding a specific topic on Reddit. This allows users to follow very specific areas of interest.
Stumbling: Clicking the “Stumble” button to discover new content based on your interests.
Paid Discovery: StumbleUpon’s paid advertising feature that drives users to your content for a fee.
Links to Further Resources
Digg – www.digg.com
Digg Reader – www.digg.com/reader
Reddit – www.reddit.com
StumbleUpon – www.stumbleupon.com
StumbleUpon Paid Discovery – www.stumbleupon.com/pd