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.
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?