Today competition for traffic is fierce. Every day new bloggers join the flow of information competing to be found. Even if you have the advantage of already enjoying lots of visitors and page views, it is a brave web site owner that assumes that the success of yesterday will be automatically replayed forward into tomorrow. Audiences are smarter, and demand new, exciting insightful information in return for their attention. Since the ultimate goal is to secure their loyalty and custom a single visit can never be enough. To get a real return on your online investment in traffic generation you need to see increased sales or at the very least, lower bounce rates and a higher percentage of repeat visitors.
Fortunately, social media unlike SEO offers the versatility you need to keep your engagement fresh and alluring. However, it is important not to fall into the trap of believing that having a presence on social media is all that is required. To effectively use social media to drive traffic to your website it is important to consider the following:
If your online presence includes a website it is important that it provides a facility for capturing your users experiences. You will be surprised how many websites I come across that do not include the facility to leave comments. Perhaps the site owners are too scared of what might be said. Apart from the fact that you can moderate comments before they appear, even controversial comments are helpful as they will encourage others to leave their own opinions. If you are using WordPress, make the most of the available plugins where you can send an email notification to people who have registered with your site if they leave comments, thus encouraging them to come back. You can optimise this by using plugins that show alternative content on your site below comments so that your visitors will have the opportunity to explore more of your website, stay longer and get to know you better.
2. Expand your reach
Whilst it is important to be clear about which social media networks you have a presence on and why; you should also ensure that you do not unnecessarily limit your engagement to Facebook and Twitter. There are hundreds of social media networks leaving aside the big five (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and Google+). If your audience is online, expanding your footprint to include more social media networks means that you can use your community to amplify your reach. However many social media platforms you decide to use, to get optimum traffic benefits they should be linked together. That is your community should be able to share your content between social media networks without leaving the platform they are on.
3. Be active and engaged
The operative word in the term social media is social. If you want to get people interested in you enough to visit your main online real estate, ie your website, you have to be first interested in them! The one thing that most business owners using social media don’t do is listen. When you listen you get insights into what your community’s concerns and worries are. You understand their problems better, which means you can be extremely accurate when it comes to providing the sort of information that will engage them and build strong lasting relationships. Remember you don’t want briefing encounters – i.e. a quick trip to your website and then off. You want long love affairs so that your community becomes your voice in the places where they are and you are not. That is they are amplifying your message and like the Pied Piper, they bring new followers back to your lair to share the experience.
4. Make Influential links
In the same way building solid relationships with your community members turns them into raving fans; building good mutually beneficial relationships with influential people helps convert them into your advocates. Everyone likes to be admired and complimented on their good work. Often we make the assumption that this is either not true of more influential, high profile people or that they hear it so often that they are unlikely to be interested in any feedback from you. In my experience this is not the case. Therefore identify a list of key influential people in your industry and engage with them. If you are genuine in your praise they will naturally want to find out about you too. Once you have built a relationship don’t be afraid to ask them to share your content with their community. They are unlikely to refuse if you have built genuine bonds and extra exposure will have a significant impact on your traffic.
5. Social media tools
There are a plethora of social media tools designed to make the job or spreading your content, connecting to the right people and driving traffic to your website easier. The one I want to mention at present is the RSS feed because it is often overlooked. RSS is a “set it and forget it way” to keep your community informed. Given that you have to be reasonably active online to sign up for a RSS feed, providing this facility on your website and using your social media to encourage your community to subscribe to it means that you can drive your more active users to your website whenever you have new information. Your more active community members are more likely to share your content.
Social media is a two way street. Traffic will only come to you if you first provide something of incredible value to your audience. Therefore create great content that has the viral effect and gets shared. Be creative and have a mixture of images/videos/podcasts/blogs etc. so that you appeal to a wider spectrum of tastes. Evidence shows that if you provide information that is useful, creates value and share your knowledge/expertise your audience are more likely to connect with you. However, above all be yourself and be likable and that way people will be attracted to you like a magnet.
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