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By: Elizabeth Able
Building a Social Media profile can be a lot like working a room at a face-to-face networking opportunity. You have to show up, be seen, and be up for a little interaction: the eye contact, the firm handshake, a little humor, low on marketing-speak but high on availability, wearing your identity up front and personal where people can see.
There is a tendency to treat building a Social Media profile like Search marketing. Analyze the system, make a plan, do some experimentation, keep records, you know, like a SEO tweaking keyword placement for rankings. I've been guilty of that myself, and originally this post was going to be a guide to how to get lots of followers ("fans") on StumbleUpon. I had a system that worked, sometimes very, very well, but I had trouble staying engaged.
Getting lots of Social Media "fans" is an empty goal in itself. Gathering up followers is a side effect. The heart of the matter is public relations, heavy on the relations, using smart networking practices that can yield V.A.S.T. benefits.
To get those vast benefits, be that V.A.S.T. person.
Here's my guide to being V.A.S.T. on StumbleUpon.
Get an easily recognizable avatar to use in all your profiles, and get it seen. I'm partial to avatars that are faces, because they help me identify with the person behind the Stumbles. I'm especially partial to my avatar, because looking at it takes me back to smiling at my daughter as she took the picture. I enjoy sharing that bit of information, which then becomes part of how people remember me.
There. Did you notice what I just did? I gave you a reason to remember me, while building on your association of my brand with my avatar and my personality - or, I shook your hand and shared a smile.
To get your avatar seen on StumbleUpon, use StumbleUpon.
- "Discover" posts, and get a mini-profile in the upper right corner of that post's review page.
- Show up on the lower right of a Stumbler's profile, as someone they are a "fan of," by giving something a thumbs-up or a review. Currently online and active "friends" and "people she is a fan of" show up at the top of "People she is a fan of."
- Show up under a Stumbler's "Recent visitors," by going to a Stumbler's profile page - let them see that you were there.
- Move to the top of the list on your fans "friends" tab by being online and browsing StumbleUpon
- Avoid marathon SU sessions. Really! A few short sessions may get you more avatar visibility, as well as keep StumbleUpon from soaking up too many hours of your week.
Make it easy for people to find you, and find out about you.
- If you want people to click through to your web site, write a clickable hyperlink into your profile. True, users could go to "About Her" to check for a web site link, but why make them think? Be available, and make it easy.
- Got a good "About" page on your site? Consider linking to it from your SU profile.
- List your other Social Media profiles - getting these into my sidebar is high on my to-do list. I can't count the number of times I've been reading a blog and wondered what kinds of things the writer would Stumble, and vice versa.
- Don't disable user's ability to contact you through SU
Being social is like an assertive version of availability. Every interaction is a chance to show your character and share your expertise. Avoid marketing speak in Social Media settings, as it may come off like spammy pickup lines. Social Media is not a sales opportunity or a singles bar. It is, however, a great, interlaced heap of opportunities for pre-sales networking and branding, and friendly support.
Sociability can be implied by tone of voice, in communication that may or may not be directed at a specific person. If it connects on a personal, social level, it will have a spark of personal, social exchange, even, potentially, among lurkers who have not yet commented or introduced themselves.
- StumbleUpon reviews can be interesting. Adding a succinct touch of your personality to StumbleUpon reviews makes them worth reading, while inviting readers to see themselves in conversation over the page that is reviewed.
- A nice private message can make someone's day. Once in a while, send out a little short fan mail. Thank someone for their posts or reviews. Don't get in a huff if they don't respond, and don't push - that would be antisocial. If they do respond, follow through.
Trust is all about character. Online, trust is often a reflection of an impression of character.
- Don't vanish. Participate regularly.
- If you don't check your messages, don't enable personal messages.
- Stay focused. A tight focus is not necessary, though some reflection of your target audience's interests is essential.
- Check spelling and grammar. Viewers may assume that bad spellers are less intelligent, and bad grammar looks sloppy.
- Trust can be fed by an impression of maturity. Before getting into personal debates in blog comments, ask yourself if what you want to say is useful, helpful and kind. There are many ways to get the job done.
- Don't be divisive. Ranting about issues is different than ranting at human beings.
- If it wouldn't work at a social conversation over coffee with a prospective client, it may not work on your public bookmarks and web site reviews. You may want to adopt a delicate approach on the classic "not at the family table" topics, such as sex, politics, religion, gratuitous bug squishing, poop jokes or name-calling.
I like to say that StumbleUpon is like RSS with playmates.
In short, have yourself some good, clean, professional fun.
I'm Elizabeth Able, owner of ablereach.com, and I love to Stumble, blog, analyze, understand and invent. Show me a puzzle and I'll keep turning it over until I have a practical working model of how it works and what it's good for, be it the secrets of making a crack-free white chocolate cheesecake, or what motivates web site visitors to stay on a site. Motivation fascinates me, and I am honored when I am a part of inspiring others.