What good is social media if you can’t share your content with your followers and friends—and get them to retweet your messages or click links back to your site? Here’s the way to use social media to drive traffic to your site.
Build Your Platform, Not Your Profile
Facebook, Twitter, and the other three dozen social media companies you use all want people to build profiles on their platform so they can serve ads and sell private data for profit.
But you have your own platform—a platform which makes you money. The more time you spend building your platform, the better you’ll make money. So spend less time trying to build your social media profile and more time trying to build your website.
But don’t ignore social media either—it’s a great way to get a little extra traffic to your site. (Or, in some rare cases, a whole lot of extra traffic.) Here are some of the top ways your 37 social media accounts can drive extra traffic to your site:
• You can find followers and friends who won’t follow you using better methods. Getting someone to subscribe to your mailing list gives you a better opportunity to market to them (because you control your mailing list) but some people who are not yet ready to subscribe to your list will happily follow or friend you. You can use the opportunity to market to them and get them to join your mailing list later.
• Some friends and followers will use social media to refer you to their friends. This is the golden opportunity of social media, but very few businesses outside of the party niche ever get their followers to do much promotion.
• Social proof. What makes you stand out from the dozens or hundreds of other people doing the same thing as you? It could be your social media profiles. If you have a lot of followers, friends, or circles—and you display that on your website—strangers to your niche will quickly see you as an authority, and so they’ll pay more attention to you and your marketing.
• Social media gives you feedback, although most of it—let’s be honest—isn’t worth much. But sometimes a tweet or comment will reveal a problem which you can quickly fix.
Social Media Doesn’t Want You To Share Your Content
Have you noticed the one thing most social media accounts have in common? They enforce brevity. People who use Facebook and Twitter and other social media accounts want to digest lots of information in very small chunks.
That can be bad for you because your website probably usually features detailed articles, so sharing your regular content will be hard. You have two basic options:
1. Make your detailed content so attractive to your social media followers that they will read it even though it isn’t short.
2. Create special content for your website which is short and easy to absorb.
The optimal strategy is a little bit of both, but I find that the second method works the best. Here are a few ways you can create short content for social media which will help drive traffic back to your blog:
1. Images—anything from photos to infographics. An image may be worth a thousand words, but social media users are much more likely to view an image than a 1,000-word blog post.
To get the most out of images, I recommend including a follow-up short link (such as a bit.ly link) on the image itself which promises to provide more details about it. For example, a picture of a glorious sunrise could say at the bottom: “See where I took this photo… http://bit.ly/example”
2. Videos—especially videos which claim to be short, such as “30 Second Summary of Star Wars.” If possible, link to the video on your site and include links to other useful and relevant parts of your site below the video.
3. Topical information—is the Twittersphere all talking about something? Do you have something related to it on your website (or can you write something quickly)? This is the best time to post a link.
Notice that some trends can be predicted, such as those revolving around holidays or regular cycles (such as elections, seasons, and Apple product announcements). You can also make some broad assumptions—old famous people will eventually die, Facebook will sell out its users a little bit more sooner or later, and Google will release a new search engine update which will shock half of all webmasters. See if you can prepare for events to take advantage of them at their peak.
4. ‘One weird trick to get extra traffic…’ Who are the masters of getting people to click short bits of text? It’s the AdSense advertisers. If you want to learn how to write effective social media posts which get people to visit your site, start stealing ideas from the advertisements you see around the Web.
Train Your Friends And Followers
Although your goal is to share your content, you have to be careful. If you post every bit of content from your active website, most people will stop clicking most links.
People prefer to click extraordinary links, but if you post a link to your site every day, your links will become ordinary. There are two easy ways to deal with link fatigue:
1. Only post links of the highest quality from your site. You want to give people a huge reward for visiting your site. If they associate your site with happiness (and not boredom), then they will be more likely to do the things on your site you want them to do—such as sign up for your mailing list.
2. Only post links to other sites on the Web which give people a huge reward. Once again, you want people to associate links that you post on social media with huge benefits so that they never hesitate to click on one of your links.
I recommend that you use both strategies, and to ensure that you’re effective at both, I recommend that you use a link shortening service which tracks clicks (such as bit.ly). If you see your click rate drop off, you know you’re starting to post ineffective links. Get that click rate back up.
Social media click rates should be 1% to 10% of followers. The exact rate varies by social media platform and follower freshness (new followers or friends tend to be more active, while some of your older followers or friends may no longer use their accounts).
Customize Your Content For Your Audience
Before you share your content, consider how well different types of content work on different platforms. Twitter was designed for short text, but Facebook works better if you attach a picture to each post. And Google+ makes it extra easy to share a recorded Google Hangout.
Different types of content will work better or worse on different platforms, so I recommend that you avoid linking together disparate accounts.
For example, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ should not be linked. But Twitter and Identica, which are basically the same thing, can be linked.
Doesn’t that create extra work for you? Maybe, but it’s only a little extra work if you do it right.
Figure out the optimum content for different social networks. You’ll find that they don’t overlap much, so now you can send your witty tweets to Twitter, your rocking images to Facebook, and your Google Hangout interviews to Google+. You probably would’ve created all of the content anyway, but now your Twitter followers are much more likely to read your messages, your Facebook friends are more likely to click your images, and your Google+ circles are more likely to view your recorded hangouts—increasing the effectiveness of the content you share.
Image source: Lets Build Websites