How Does a Business Generate Traffic from Social Media?

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Websites live and die by the amount of traffic that they get. Until recently SEO seemed the only way a business could get traffic and the SEO company that could get a front page listing for a highly competitive term could write their own paycheck.

Until now. We are now in the social media era and traffic can be highly targeted and driven back to our websites, that’s highly relevant and interested customers dropping by and sharing our offers.

Sound interesting? So how does a business generate traffic from social media and use it to their advantage?

Build your following

A business should first start with one social media tool at a time and build your following in order to generate traffic. Search down your target market and the people that influence your target market. Follow them, see what they are sharing, see what interests them and see how they interact with each other. By observing and following your target market you get to know them better and know what they really want.

Some companies use social enticements such as samples and discounts to encourage following, others create competitions. But unless you are involved directly with your target market, both can fall flat on their face.

Look at your existing customer base and see if you can entice them into joining you on Twitter or Facebook. Work with what you have already and grow it.

Listening

Businesses that use social media tools to listen and interact have the advantage over every other business – especially their competition.

What does listening mean?

  • Listening means having searches for mentions of the company name and responding to them in a timely fashion.
  • Listening means looking out for ways to assist the customer as well as the prospective customer.
  • Listening means having a presence that is approachable.
  • Listening means developing a thick skin

The first three are self-explanatory,  but the 4th option, developing a thick skin needs more explanation. Sometimes we hear things that are not nice and they are upsetting. It may be a product we’ve sold has developed a fault, it may be a product not living up to expectation it may just be a person who is unhappy. It’s not negativity when a person who is not your target market buys something and doesn’t like it. It’s a mismatch and it happens. Getting snotty or ignoring the person isn’t going to do you any favours so let the person sound off. Handle it diplomatically and remember this has always happened but now you have the opportunity to deal with it. Before social media you really had to upset a customer before they would make a complaint in writing and the word of mouth may not have reached you. Listening means you can show that you care and you engage and the act of showing this will drive people back to your site.

Building your following and listening are just the first stages.

Engaging with your followers

Some companies think that ReTweeting or sharing something from a follower is an endorsement from their business. Perhaps it is. But if you don’t ReTweet and share your followers why would they look at your content and share your stuff? If you want to get the attention of your followers it means throwing out the old school marketing methods and looking at what’s important to your ideal customer.

Let’s say you have a baby business.  If you’re ideal customer is a mom, and she has a blog then RT’ing one or two of her better posts isn’t going to kill you and it puts you at the front of her mind. She probably has your target audience following her and some positive interaction will encourage her to reciprocate and share your great content.

That’s all relevant traffic going back to your website and if you capture their data you can start to build an ongoing relationship.

We touch on sharing above, let’s look a little deeper.

Customers love it when you talk to them and you are interested in them as a human being. If you are eyeing them up hungrily and the ker-ching signs are appearing above their head then the more observant of your prospects will run a mile. Being human and building relationships cannot be rushed and it can’t be faked. Sharing great stuff with your prospects is more than shoving them head first into the sales funnel. If you only share sales-y stuff you will have people stop listening to you, and then you wander into the zone of the corporate spammer. Nobody and I mean nobody wants to be the corporate spammer. They are the laughing stock of social media sites and the butt of many “here’s how they are doing it wrong” case studies. And that’s the sort of thing that will get shared.

Streams of social traffic start to appear when you move your social media activity to another platform and replicate the good work from the first platform. If you plan your social media strategy carefully then it will be easy to replicate, if you think “all hail the conquering hero” then you are in trouble before you start.

Social media traffic is highly relevant and it’s something your business needs to look at right now.

What other advice would you add for a business to generate traffic from social media?

Lilach Bullock
This monthly Social Media Traffic Generation column is contributed by Lilach Bullock. Lilach is highly regarded on the world speaker circuit and has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street with her presence. In a nutshell, she’s a hugely connected and highly influential serial entrepreneur – the embodiment of Digital Intelligence. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market, she actively leverages ethical online marketing for her clients and for Comms Axis. A business owner, social media consultant, internet mentor and genuine digital guru, Lilach is consulted by journalists and regularly quoted in newspapers, business publications and marketing magazines. +Lilach Bullock
Lilach Bullock

@lilachbullock

Co-Founder of @CommsAxis with @danpurvis. #Digital #marketing, #socialmedia & #content agency. Get in touch today! Proud mum. #Zumba Tweets are mine
Our #casestudy where we sparked 10.000+ engagements for a #startup with no #advertising http://t.co/pKDwn8SzU3 #socialmedia - 35 mins ago
Lilach Bullock
OptinMonster

Comments

  1. says

    I’d say think of quality over quantity. I know many people out there wanting to get traffic to their websites are only interested in engaging with people with (for example) high amounts of Twitter followers or Facebook likes. While this may seem like a good strategy on the face of it, it’s of no use if all of those followers are bots or don’t build their own followers, or those likers never interact or click.

    Interacting with one person who has (say) 500 followers on Twitter could still give you the reach you want, if each of his / her followers have 1000, than interacting with people who have thousands of followers that aren’t engaged, or even in some cases, real

    • says

      Thanks Nikki, appreciate your comment:)

      Quality is always better but it is also about getting the balance right.  

      As you say for best results you want to be engaging and building relationships – after all isn’t that what social media is all about?

  2. says

    Generating traffic from social media is only half the battle; you may be getting thousands of visits, but if they’re not *relevant* visitors and they’re not converting (or sharing or engaging or whatever), then it’s hard to call your efforts successful. 

    The points in this article are a good place to start the process of engaging followers and converting them. Thanks for sharing, Lilach!

    • says

      Thanks Amy:)  Spot on, it’s not just about getting the traffic but converting them which is why it’s so important that you target your social media and of course engage/build relationships:)

  3. says

    Great post Lilach!

    I would add is that it is up to the user to know how to use the social tools they choose. All too often people will dive into social media without truly understanding how to use that they choose, and like visiting a foreign country – there are customs and unique communication customs.

    Also, reading and commenting on blogs are important. So many will comment on Facebook or Twitter, but never actually leave a comment on the blog itself.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

    • says

      Thanks Danielle:)

      There are so many different social media tools out there… it can be overwhelming for many.  I think the key is to experiment and use one before using all of them at once, that way you can really get to learn how to use it to get the best results plus of course measure what’s working/what’s not and how to improve.

      I agree about commenting on blogs, I’m always surprised by how many people read blogs and yet don’t comment – I wrote a blog about it (its achieved just over 200 comments and continues to get comments:) http://www.socialable.co.uk/how-to-get-more-blog-comments-on-your-blog/

  4. says

    Thanks for the outstanding post Lilach! Yeah, it’s all about building a rapport and relationship with your followers and friends. Aside from these, feeding them compelling, beneficial and shareable contents is the effective way to get their attentions.  

    In addition, it is a must that you target the right people whom you would like working on the future. In this case, efforts you can assure yourself that all the efforts you exerted will not be put into waste. 
    Thanks again :)

    • says

      Thanks Julie, appreciate your great comment:)

      I of course agree, social media fundamentally is about building relationships and engaging with people.

      I must admit I can be a little anal about telling people to try and ensure your social media is targeted… it’s not a numbers game and the more targeted the better results you will ultimately get:)

  5. says

    Hi Lilach, social media not only can build us traffic, but it can build our own virtual community to support our website or online business. Using the right content to engage them, build a virtual community, when comes to social media disaster, our virtual community will protect us! :)

    That means content is a great tool to build strong relationship.

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