Hate to break it to you guys but SEO is not the only means of traffic generation out there, and if you’re focusing solely on search traffic, you’re missing out. Social media has evolved from an engagement medium and is now a major source of website traffic, and we all know that more traffic equals more opportunities.
But how do I know which platform to focus on, you ask? The obvious ones are the leaders (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter), however, the social platform that can help you drive the most traffic to your website depends on the type of business you have and the type of customers you’re after.
This is exactly why businesses need to understand which sites are driving traffic, and how social media management can be leveraged to increase referral traffic to your website.
At this point in the game, it’s clear that those major platforms have a role in driving traffic, but you MUST keep them primed with engaging posts and content for it to work!
Feed the Social Machine to Drive Social Media Traffic
Your social media profiles will be pretty boring if you don’t have much to share with your users. To keep people interested and give them a reason to visit your social profiles regularly, you need to feed your profiles with interesting, engaging, and relevant content – something you also need to do if you want to turn social media fans into bonafide conversions.
Here are 3 key ways to increase website traffic with social media marketing:
#1 – Include a link to your website in all your social profiles. Seems obvious, but many companies forget to do it. Also, include links in your company bio, images and posts. Guy Kawasaki definitely makes great use of the limited space you have on your Twitter profile:
#2 – If you don’t have one already, start a blog. You need fresh content to keep people interested, and the best way to keep your social feed fed is to share blog content. HubSpot is one of the best at keeping their Facebook page filled with fresh content from their website:
#3 – Try social media ads. Social media ads are a great way to drive traffic to your website. Ads can be targeted to specific users and can link back to landing pages from your site. HootSuite provides an example of how to drive social media traffic to your website using a social media ad:
How to Drive Traffic from the Leaders
Every company’s social media management strategy is different. Some focus on 1 or 2 social media platforms, while others use every platform under the sun. Regardless of how narrow or broad your strategy is, it’s really important to maximize your use of social media to get more people sniffinf around your website. Let’s dig into some of the top social media platforms and explore ways for you to drive more traffic to your website:
Facebook is far and away the leader in social media traffic referrals. So, if you are looking for a place to generate more traffic, this is the one to start with.
From 2011 to 2014, Facebook’s sharing traffic grew 277.26% (from 6.53% to 24.63%). However, according to Facebook, the average brand post only reaches 16% of fans. If your posts are not reaching your fans, how do you expect to turn them into website visitors?
Get visual: “Facebook considers posts with photos or videos more valuable than posts with plain text or links. This type of visual content will rank higher in the newsfeed,” says Galen Mooney on Socialmouths.
Facebook posts with images significantly outperform posts without strong visuals. In fact, account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook:
Don’t forget the call to action: Too many companies put their social media management on autopilot. They simply add a link to their Facebook feed, use the title of a blog post as their text, and post. A strong call to action can vastly increase the number of clicks your post gets – driving more people to your website.
“People won’t take action unless you tell them to, and it doesn’t take much to be convincing. You just need to be specific. Don’t simply copy and paste the title of your article into a Facebook post. Craft a message that calls out the value you are offering and why they need to read it now,” states Mooney.
You can now add a call to action button on your Facebook page. Dollar Shave Club provide a great example of this:
Avoid being self-serving and diversify your content: Mooney suggests following the Rule of Thirds: “Following the “Rule of Thirds” will help you maintain a balance by making sure that ⅓ of your content is promoting yourself and your business, ⅓ of your content is engaging and builds relationships with your audience, and ⅓ of your content is amplification of outside resources and information.”
Even though Pinterest is the second best source for social media traffic, many companies have yet to jump on board. Considering that Pinterest’s share grew 684.86% (from 0.65% to 5.06%) between 2011 and 2014, it’s worth exploring as a source of website traffic, and ultimately, conversions.
Here’s how to leverage Pinterest to drive more traffic:
Add your website URL to your brand page: While this is obvious, to get more clicks, make sure you verify your website address. Check out this Pinterest Marketing Video Tutorial to learn how to do it.
“Pinterest is BuzzFeed’s second largest social network referrer. It also has a much longer lifecycle than other social networks, often driving traffic to posts months after publication. In fact, more than half of BuzzFeed’s traffic from Pinterest goes to posts published more than 2 months ago,” says Dao Nguyen, Vice President of Growth and Data to Pinterest. BrightEdge found that websites with share buttons get seven times more shares than those without.
- Add your website URL to pin descriptions: Just do it. This is where the trust comes in.
- Add a “Pin It” button to your website: Using social sharing buttons allows users to more easily share your website content, creating greater visibility for your website.
Even though social media traffic referrals have dropped off somewhat, Twitter is still the third most effective social platform for driving traffic to your website. Great images and effective use of hashtags is the key to driving that traffic.
- Get Visual: Twitter has become very much a visual medium, and you need to include images with your tweets if you want to get noticed and drive more traffic to your website. Just how important are images? Tweets with image links get 2x the engagement rate of those without. Using an example from our good friend Guy Kawasaki again, you can clearly see that his tweet with an image received more engagement than a tweet without an image. Because, science.
- Use (a couple) hashtags: Tweets with hashtags get 2 times more engagement as well. Using 1 or two hashtags will get you 21% more engagement than if you use 3 or more.
Other tips to improve engagement include:
- Retweet content that is important to your audience
- Use short and provocative tweets to spark interest
- Use statistics and quotes
- Tweet about your blog content
- Include a blog and website link in your bio
- Promote important tweets if your budget permits
Strong visuals are very important to get people’s attention online. “Instagram has a constantly updating feed of images that is viewed by over 100 million monthly users. Sharing your main blog image, overlaid with the post title, is a great way to drive organic traffic to your blog. You can leverage the sheer volume of Instagram traffic by using the same blog post image that you shared to Pinterest,” says Kimberly Reynolds on Social Media Examiner. You can use this strategy for every image you create for your website, blog, and other social media accounts. Plus, you can use hashtags to expand the reach of your image even further.
Instagram is particularly effective for online retailers, as it allows them to post images of products. Here is an example from retailer Nordstrom:
All users have to do is click an image to shop on the retailer’s website.
LinkedIn is proving to be more valuable for personal brands and professionals to drive traffic. It can be an effective source of traffic for freelancers, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, bloggers, artists and photographers. Basically if you have a job, it can work in your favor.
To maximize LinkedIn as a traffic source:
- Complete your profile
- Build out your network
- Update your status regularly
- Use the “Publish a Post” feature to add original content
- Add work samples to your profile – host these samples on your website to drive traffic
Again, Kawasaki shows us how to do it:
- Customize the links in your profile – this will encourage users to click through to your website and other social media profiles. Even Matt Cutts from Google hasn’t optimized this feature:
The right way to do it:
What we’re trying to say is…
Social media management is becoming about much more than posting content and increasing engagement. It’s also about using it as a source of traffic which will ultimately result in more conversions. Social media now accounts for a third of all website traffic, and this number is only going to grow. Basically, it’s time to get social if you really want to drive more traffic to your website.
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