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January 22, 2010

The Simple Secret to Getting Traffic from Sites LIke StumbleUpon

Some people get social media right away, but can’t really articulate why. Other people will never get it no matter how clearly it’s spelled out to them. In discovering why this is, I realized an important point.

There is one major, simple secret to driving traffic via social media, from which all the other strategies, tactics and secrets originate.

Everyone knows this reason on the surface, but few truly and deeply comprehend it. And yet having a real understanding of this is the key to more partnerships, visitors and engagement.

The secret to benefiting from social media is simple. Social media is about relationships.

Not necessarily friendships.

Not always community.


From how the content relates to the person reading it, to how the information gets spread from person to person, why people vote for some stories and not others. Relationships to people, relationships between you and the content you read. Not just the fact that those relationships build community but how.

Every problem with social media has a solution that is based in fixing or forming a relationship.

Take a site like StumbleUpon. Why are some people hostile to one submission, but thrilled by another, on the same topic, sometimes even about the same issue? You’ll probably find the answer in

  • Whether or not the submitter has found a niche community within the site and is respected/liked within it
  • The connection or lack of, that the story has to the group that’s reading it
  • The relationship of the submitter to the site being submitted (sometimes it’s considered okay to submit your own stories, sometimes not), or
  • The relationship of that site to the story or the StumbleUpon community at large

You could go on forever, but if you go deep enough, you’ll find a relationship that needs to be fixed, formed, featured, or forgotten.

That’s not to say that if you don’t build a relationship, you won’t get traffic from the popular high traffic sections on a social news site. On the contrary, your first submission may get voted right into the popular section and stay there, for all I know. But on some level it will get there or stay there based not necessarily on just your content, or your network, though these are major factors.

So much of it will depend on relationships we mentioned – not just between people, but between content, even between people and the content they read. By that I mean that attempting to force technology information on people who are interested primarily in classical literature is never effective.

It seems like this goes without saying, but how often do you come across people who try to market their business to everyone on Facebook?

I like to think of social media web sites as a club where I’m not on the VIP list. Depending on that club, I might have to stand on a line and wait to see if I’ll have the privilege of joining, or if I seem cool enough, I might be let in.

It’s partially on that basis that I chose the clubs I go to, when I dress the part of a jazz vocalist, no matter how much I like metal, I won’t seem like I will relate to the crowd inside.

Yeah, it’s about relationships. Not just friendships – your friends may not be enough to keep you popular in StumbleUpon if your content sucks. If you can understand how relationships work, between people, between people and what they do, and why they relate to some stories and not others, you’ll likely do well, better than anyone who tries to figure out how to game the system.

Kind of like in business.

Tinu is a website promotion specialist who teaches traffic generation to entrepreneurs and builds custom traffic systems for larger companies. You can currently get a free chapter of Social Media Success Strategies without entering your email address.