Many people are very quick to dismiss social media as a viable source of website traffic. There are lots of debates among marketers and business owners alike regarding the success of social media from this point of view. But social media works. It’s just a matter of doing it right and having the right content.
What does social media do for businesses?
Social media is not just about driving traffic to your website/blog, it has many other benefits: it builds your brands’ awareness (and reputation), it’s a great customer service management tool and it’s one of the easiest ways to engage with your customers. But lots of businesses, small or large, are mostly interested in traffic and some of them can’t always get it using social media.
So why are you not seeing significant boosts in traffic from your social networks?
Some people expect to see results instantly, but that is not what social media does. Social networking is a long-term endeavor, that brings results over time and with constant use – but once it does start bringing in traffic, it will do it on a constant basis. Your business will then be able to rely on social media as a constant source of traffic, so long as the other parameters involved are not changing, i.e. quality of content, frequency of engagement and other factors that are making your social networking successful.
One aspect of social media that people often disregard is the amount of time that it takes to build up a targeted list of followers and friends on their accounts. The key word here is targeted: building up large numbers of followers on Twitter, for example, is not very hard and can be done relatively quickly. But unless these followers are actually interested in your business and your content, they will not bring you in the traffic that you want and they will probably not turn into any strong leads, which after all is the goal of every business. It’s better to have 1000 followers that are genuinely interested in your business, than 15,000 “vanity” followers that don’t care about what you have to offer, and are only interested in raising their own numbers. There are so many Twitter users that have thousands of followers and that are following thousands in return, yet they have never tweeted at all! It’s very important to steer clear of these types of users, as they will not help you get better results. When people are interested, they will not only visit your website more often, but also engage more with you, ask you more questions and share your posts more often.
Content is king and consistency queen
Success on social media is all about content. Unless you are a constant provider of great content, you will not see any significant boosts in traffic from social networks. Great content can be anything – images, video or text, so long as it is interesting, relevant and preferably educational. There is so much content on the Internet, on any given subject, that without some stand-out content it is very hard to capture people’s imaginations and stand out from the crowd.
But the hardest part is that you have to produce great content on a constant basis – and quite often, because people can move on very quickly. Some choose to produce as much content as they possibly can, often disregarding the quality. But this isn’t the best strategy - people will eventually catch on to the fact that you are not a constant source of relevant and interesting information. And they can very easily find someone else and stop checking your website altogether. Just like in classic marketing, in content marketing retaining a customer is better for business then looking for a new one.
How do you know your content is not really working?
- Your posts get very few comments, or even none at all
- Your posts only get few shares and retweets
- You don’t get any messages from your readers saying how much they enjoyed your posts
- It takes you a long time to come up with new blog post ideas
- You look at others for inspiration, and find it hard to come up with original ideas.
So how can this be remedied?
- Start by doing some market research, and find out what your audience really wants to learn more about. Not just what you think they might be interested in, but what they really want.
- Make a content calendar. Write down the future dates when you want your posts to be up and think about possible blog post ideas and titles. This can be a real time saver!
- Include calls-to-action and questions for your readers in every blog post. You can ask them politely to comment and share their opinions. This will help you get more comments on your blog, and this in turn brings in more traffic!
- Look at other similar websites to see what type of content they have to get some inspiration, but don’t copy. Your readers will want to hear your voice and your opinions!
Have you made it easy for your readers?
An easy way to be more successful on social media and get more traffic is to install social sharing buttons for all the major social networks on every page of your blog. It’s very easy to do and requires minimal effort on your part – yet it can yield great results.
Make sure you install them on every page of your website, as well as for every blog post, image or video so that people can follow and friend you and share your content on their profiles with the click of a button.
Are you paying enough attention to your website’s analytics?
Monitoring your website’s analytics can be a very powerful asset. With careful monitoring, you can find out what social network brings in the most traffic to your website, what content is most successful among your readers and generally learn more about your audience. With this information, you will then know what type of content your readers enjoy the most and what social network you should spend more time engaging on.
You can also take a look at your competition to see what is working best for them. Since you are sharing mainly the same audience, you will be able to find out more about their readers and what they like and then apply that knowledge to your own social media strategies.
Have you encountered difficulties with getting social media traffic to your website? If so, how did you overcome them? Please do leave a comment and share.