StumbleUpon is one of my fave social media platforms.
Or at least it used to be.
Before I launched DesignUntapped I have been a user of StumbleUpon, but I must admit, I had missed the social aspect, I was unaware of adding pages and getting followers.
But once I realised that you could add pages, I mean it's obvious, someone was discovering the content that you stumble upon, someone was having to share it, then I started to think of it in a whole new light.
However I have fallen foul of the platform. My account is now ghost blocked as a result of my attempts at self promotion. In this post i want to help you make sure you don't make the same mistake I have.
Please share this (probably not on stumbleupon) to help raise awareness in the blogging community.
So What Did I Do Wrong
Well I have committed a StumbleUpon sin, I used it for self promotion. Initially I added one of my posts about making an about me page. I added it as a trial to see whether StumbleUpon could actually generate the traffic that a lot of other bloggers have been saying.
Well the result was outstanding, not only for that post but also the follow on affects of people reading other posts on my site. I was generating more comments and more sign ups to my mailing list.
I thought I had cracked it.
However I had not read the T&Cs, and who can honestly say they have. StumbleUpon forbids self promotion, however because this was my first share, how would they know it was me.
So the next few posts I did I would promote on my Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Stumble Upon platforms.
Suddenly, there was no more referrals coming from StumbleUpon, was it the quality of my post, was it my writing style, well "it's not you, it's me", this was the start of StumbleUpon kicking me to the kerb.
What is a Ghost Ban?
StumbleUpon don't admit to ghost banning, but they do say that they impose restrictions if you are caught going against their T&Cs or end user agreements. Which I had innavertantly done.
However a Ghost Ban is the equivilent of a girlfriend carrying on with you as usual but you don't get anything in return. You can text her, send her presents, flowers, love letters but you don't get to go out and you certainly don't get any lovin. StumbleUpon lets you continue to use the platform as usual, you can still see all the user content, you can still add pages and you can still like and comment on pages. However nobody else can see your activity.
You are left in limbo bimbo, shining your mirror balls for all eternity. (Mighty Boosh Reference for ya there).
So What Can You Do About It?
This I currently do not know.
At the moment I haven't contacted StumbleUpon, i am still using it, but just for research and for boredom and will continue to do so, just because I like the platform.
Now that they have launched their paid advertising, I am unsure that if I do this, will this result in a release from my ghost ban?
How can You Avoid a Ban?
Abide by the rules sucker. Don't self promote.
If you do wanna risk it. Don't get greedy. Share more of other people's pages than your own. I have read elsewhere to keep a ratio of 20-1, 10-1, 5-1, no-one really knows what makes StumbleUpons Algorithm notice you. So my advice would be to be cautious.
So What Does It Mean for the Beginner Blogger
Exposure is one of the most difficult things I am struggling with. It's the catch 22 that you need exposure to be seen, yet you need to be seen to get exposure. Social Media algorithms are increasingly becoming more and more driven to make people pay for advertising. The quality of content is suffering as a result as the larger the marketing budget the more exposure. Those that can afford it will continue to grow exponentially. Us new bloggers must continue to chip away and work harder and harder to gain a readership.
What can I do?
I'm going to continue to write and continue to focus on developing my quality and my enjoyment for my readers. However It's becoming more obvious to me that I will have to invest more and more into advertising to build a base readership.
What can you do?
Spread the word, share this blog using the side buttons, it's just one click.
Help build a community and go and share 3 blogs today on 3 of your fave platforms.
We all need to help each other.
You don't think this is worthy of sharing, that's cool too, but help me develop, let me know how I can improve. What would you like to see and what would make you share? Comment below.