So you have content you want to share, and everyone says Facebook and Twitter are the ways to go. But what else? Are there any other sites out there worth signing up with to share your content? Of course, there are probably hundreds, but most aren’t worth your time. Below are three fantastic online communities worth getting to know.
They offer blogs so easy to set up that the site has become known for single-serving blogs: timely sites that revolve around a very specific joke. People read tumblogs the way they read things on Facebook and Twitter, in a chronological stream that includes all the people they follow. But unlike those site, the content is large and upfront, rather than hidden behind a thumbnail and a link. Instead of commenting, most followers will re-blog the whole post onto their tumblog and add their comment there.
A Tumblr Tip
Shorter posts are more popular on Tumblr. Rather than posting a whole list at once, maybe do one number from the list each day (this is very easy because Tumblr allows you to queue posts). Or pull a few memorable quotes and post each quote as a colorful image with a link back to the longer article. Just remember it’s essential to tag your posts so they can be found in search.
Why Should You Join Tumblr?
Tumblr is the 25th most popular site in the US and the 45th most popular site in the world. The community is not only huge, it’s dedicated and eager to find and post new content. If you are posting quality content that fits with the Tumblr community, it is likely you will get “likes” and “reblogs” and gain followers quickly. Also, Tumblr slants to the younger demographic. If you are mostly writing about marketing, business, or another category that will leave the under-25 set clueless, you may want to look elsewhere.
StumbleUpon bridges the gap between bookmarking service and boredom killer. Give the sites you visit a “thumbs up” and Stumble Upon will use that data to show the most popular sites to those with similar interests. They do this whenever a user hits their “Stumble” button. Unlike sites like Facebook and Twitter, StumbleUpon most users don’t look at a list of stories and decide what to click on. They hit the Stumble button, and the next recommended page is loaded. This puts the emphasis on speed.
A StumbleUpon Tip
You can use StumbleUpon to run searches. For example, if I search google for “Digital DJ,” I will get a lot of product sites. If I run the same search on StumbleUpon, I will get the coolest sites and articles on that subject. Of course, one must take the time to tag their page “Digital DJ” to get discovered in that search.
Why Should You Join StumbleUpon?
According to their own research, 50% of traffic generated by social media is coming from Stumble Upon. This may sound incredible, but it makes sense in that people who use StumbleUpon are quick to decide if they like something, sometimes giving it a thumbs-up as a way to bookmark it for later. Many go through a hundred sites in an hour, stumbling the night away.
When you post something to Facebook or Twitter, there’s no way to insure that anyone is going to see it. When you promote your own content on StumbleUpon, your thumbs-up insures that at least one random person will see it. If this person likes it, several more will see it, and so on. Thus StumbleUpon is like a viral marketing machine; put good content in and watch it take off.
The downside of both Tumblr and StumbleUpon is that while they have strong, engaged communities, both encourage shallow interaction with the content itself. Tumblr because posts tend to be short and StumbleUpon because it encourages hastily moving from site to site without reflecting on the content. Reddit is the remedy. Reddit is nothing new, but since many people abandoned their rival Digg, the news aggregator has continued to grow in popularity. The concept may be familiar to you: everyone can post; what’s popular rises to the top. Reddit does this as well with the comments within each post, so you can look at the most popular posts and read only the wittiest reflections on it. Puns are heartily up-voted.
A Reddit Tip
When getting involved in Reddit, I found it helpful to take the time to subscribe to your favorite subreddits (i.e. categories). Each subreddit acts as its own community. Find the subreddit for whatever it is that you write about, and before posting your own content take some time to browse what’s already there. You want to post in a category that’s specific, but not so specific that it has few followers. For example, even though there is a reddit for Occupy, it may be more useful to post a political story about the Occupy movement under the larger category of /r/politics because more people follow the latter.
Why Should You Join Reddit?
Reddit is another intensely devoted community. They have their own lingo (OP = “original poster” TotT = “Tip of the Tongue,” AMA= “Ask Me Anything,” TIL= “Today I learned). It is common to see users joke about spending too much time there, or for threads to turn into lengthy discussions. If you post something to the proper reddit, it is likely to get some kind of a response, even if it doesn’t get voted to the front page.
How Do You Get Your Content Noticed on Tumblr, StumbleUpon and Reddit?
If you go on these sites and just post your own links, you will fail. I know. I had 20,000 posts on Tumblr before I ever got a single comment! What?! It’s because I was automatically sending songs played on my radio stream to a Tumblr account I’d never used. But the first time I posted a real blog with useful content and tagged it so it could be found, I got noticed. My Bay is Better tumblog was only around for a few months by the time I posted something that was reposted more than a hundred times. Similarly, I had a Reddit account for many years just to occasionally share my links there. But since I’ve actually started using the site, I have a better understanding of how it works and thus how to engage the community.
It sounds like idle preaching, but the truth is that to be successful the key is to get involved. Spend your down time searching these sites for other people posting content similar to your own. Share their content with your audience and comment. These are communities, and the surest way to gain new fans is to first be a fan.