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.
If you’re doing all of the above and you’re NOT generating traffic from social media, what might the reasons be?
Why You’re Not Getting Traffic From Social Media
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.