You’re probably utilising social media marketing for a number of reasons. Whilst generating more Facebook likes and Twitter followers is great, you’ll also have goals more closely related to tangibly growing your brand and business.
Generating positive return on investment from social media is certainly achievable and, depending on the nature of the business, much of this might come down to generating more web traffic. We know that social media contributes indirectly to SEO, but it can also have an immediate and marked impact on your web traffic.
Social media traffic-hacking
So, “traffic-hacking” is the phrase used to describe effort designed to increase the amount of traffic to your website. There are, of course, dozens of ways you can increase traffic to your website; from literally asking people to check out your site or spending £5k every month to rank prominently on Google. Social media for traffic-hacking is actually one of the most simple, cost-effective, methods of driving the kind web traffic that will be of benefit virtually every business.
Top 9 ways to use social media to increase web traffic
1. Link your site in all of your social profiles
This one’s a real no-brainer. It’s a permanent link in a prominent position on a web page that should receive hundreds, if not, thousands of views each month. Make it easy for people to navigate from social media to your website – this is as much about providing good user experience as it is about web traffic.
2. Use enticing headlines in your posts to gain clicks
We’re not talking about pure clickbait here (that can be dangerous!) but at least a headline that attracts interest and makes someone want to find out more. Look at virtually any headline on Buzzfeed to see the extreme of this tactic. Your post, whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter, needs to capture the imagination and make a compelling case for someone to click – it’s all about the hook and, often, the image used.
3. Use a scheduling tool to ensure more of your audience is seeing your posts
This is something that a lot of social marketers steer away from but there’s no reason to. The shelf-life of a tweet is all of a few minutes so unless it gets retweeted heavily, that tweet will be seen by a very small proportion of your audience. This issue is most problematic on Twitter, not only due to the speed of the platform but because people are less likely to view your Twitter profile than your Facebook page, for example.
4. Post new blog content regularly
This one is a no-brainer. It’s good for SEO anyway (provided they’re well-written and of a decent length) and it gives you something new to shout about. Each new piece of content will create new headlines you can use and you never know which one will appeal to a brand new audience. Share throughout your social networks and make sure to schedule it multiple times (especially on Twitter, especially if it is timeless content).
It should go without saying but this content should be high quality. By this we mean original content, something full of value to the reader and media rich. The better the content, the more likely it is to be shared over social channels and, therefore, generate more web traffic.
Here’s one that even great websites fail at:
5. Make it easy to share blogs on social media
This is another no brainer and will take ten minutes of a programmer’s time if you can’t sort it yourself. If you’ve just read a great post and you think it will add value to your audience, you’ll think about sharing it. As the author of the blog, you need to make actioning this as easy as possible – don’t make them open another window for Facebook or Twitter, copy and paste the URL and have to come up with their own tweet for it. Make sure the social share buttons are prominently displayed and construct a reasonable tweet or post if someone chooses to click it.
If you’ve taken the time to create a great piece of original content, make sure you’re leveraging it to the max in terms of web traffic. Let your readers and their social media do all the hard work.
6. Utilise YouTube
YouTube is a bit of a secret weapon. Too many businesses dismiss this social network because ‘they don’t have any videos’ or because their ‘audience isn’t on there’. These are stupid excuses. Everyone who has a Google account has, by default, a YouTube account. It’s also the third largest search engine in the world and YouTube videos rank incredibly highly in Google searches. They’re also very sharable bits of content and they’re a lot easier to make even if your ‘business doesn’t have any videos’!
All you have to do is upload a Prezi, a slide show with a voice over or simply read one of your blogs to camera with some ad-libbed elements, maybe some graphics etc. Easy!
7. Try sponsored Facebook posts
Well-crafted and targeted Facebook posts that link to your website can be a great way to get clicks from your target audience. Yes, it would be nice to be able to achieve this without paying Facebook but organic reach is at an all time low for company pages and for just a few quid you could send dozens of prospects to your site.
Here’s a post on why you need to consider using paid-for Facebook marketing.
8. Set up and use a Google+ account
Really? You bet! We actually wrote a post on why your business needs to start using Google+. In short, Google holds a lot of power over the internet and their social network is a powerful one, particularly in terms of search marketing. Optimise your profile, add people to your circles and get sharing. See, even we’re on it!
9. Follow and like other accounts
This isn’t as counter-intuitive as it seems. Following the Twitter accounts of industry influencers and of potential clients and collaborators is a great way to stimulate web traffic – the same goes for liking their Facebook pages with your company page. It’s a simple, no barrier, time-effective way of getting your brand in front of people you want in a completely non-salesey way (if anything, it’s a compliment).
This aside, you can also look to liking and commenting on their posts (you can do this across virtually every platform). Again, it gets your brand in front of them and they’re likely to follow you back and either check out your site there and then or at a later date.
What’s the bottom line?
Social media for traffic-hacking
Social media has both a direct and indirect impact on search engine marketing. However, if used effectively, social media activity should have a very direct impact on web traffic. As an e-commerce business or any business that generates its business through its website, increasing web traffic should be a key concern and therefore, should see social media as a vital element of their marketing strategy.
It’s not all that difficult to get started, even if you haven’t created you social profiles yet. Optimising your profiles with copy and graphics goes a long way to creating a professional presence and begin to direct people to your site. Creating and sharing good content will then help build an audience and start directing them to your site and indicates how important it is to build and engage a following that actually represents your target audience.