The importance of regular social sharing seems to be at an all-time high. It's how we bloggers promote our blogs and other events we're hosting. It's how we network and "pay it forward" to others. It even matters in the eyes of Google and Bing whether or not someone has tweeted or Facebook "Liked" our posts.
And as if Twitter and Facebook weren't enough, we now have been hit with the one-two punch known as Google+ and Pinterest.
Adding to that dizzying list is a slightly different element of getting social: social bookmarking sites. These are sites like StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit.
But where do we draw the line as to what sites we're going to put effort into? And, really, what sites are the best to focus our efforts on?
In my opinion, it's StumbleUpon. In fact, StumbleUpon is now considered the #1 traffic referrer, outpacing even Facebook.
Getting started on StumbleUpon is much like getting started on any other social site. You need to create an account, choose a username and sift through your other social media and email contacts to find and connect with followers. Then after doing so, I highly recommend downloading the StumbleUpon toolbar to your browser.
StumbleUpon is basically a giant database that houses articles that have been given the thumbs up by someone else. The act of clicking the "I Like It!" button is how a particular article is added to its database.
You can peruse "liked" articles by clicking the "Stumble" button seen in the photo above. But if you are a blogger, you'll probably use StumbleUpon in a different manner: to drive traffic to your own site.
If you have a post you'd love stumbled, you can use the "Share" button on the toolbar as a way to notify your followers that you'd like for them to thumb it up. Your post link is then sent to those you've shared with, and they can view your article and decided whether or not to "like" it.
The more "likes" it receives, the higher the chance that article will be presented to others who are stumbling through the database using the "Stumble" button.
Basically, more "likes" means a great chance at exposure, which greatly increases your pageviews.
While we all want our content to hit it big on StumbleUpon, it's important that we give numerous thumb ups to others' articles and photos from around the web. A good rule of thumb is to thumb up your own post 1 out of every 10 "likes" you give.
Once you get accustomed to doing so, you'll find that clicking that "I Like It!" button becomes second nature to you. And if you connect with a good group of stumblers, you'll find that many will gladly reciprocate the thumbing up you're doing for them.
Do you use StumbleUpon? Come find me at BelleBeanDog.
Liz is a 30-something marketer and mom to 2 girls and a dog. She writes about parenting, marriage & life in general at a belle, a bean & a chicago dog, tweets from @BelleBeanDog and helps small businesses & bloggers use social media at Eli Rose Social Media.