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Traffic Technique 5: Social Media

We all agree that social media networks offer a number of benefits to bloggers. We can build a following on these sites, make new friends and connections, and share, collaborate, and interact in real time.

Social media: a tug of war

Image courtesy stock.xchng tam_oliver

This is great—and there’s no doubting that sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and SoundCloud offer us a real opportunity to connect.

Yet in terms of traffic, many of us struggle.

Getting traffic through social media might seem like it’s about getting users to share your content. But that challenge in itself raises all kinds of issues:

  • titles, images, calls to action, and presentation
  • targeting
  • how you respond to social network visitors
  • what social search could, to should, mean to you
  • your involvement and presence on these networks.
    • We’ve discussed many of these issues in detail on the blog, so today I’m interested in going a bit deeper with the discussion and looking at social media at a more fundamental level.

      Where will you share?

      We all know about shiny object syndrome, and have felt the temptation to join the latest social network simply because everyone else seems to be getting on board. This is definitely a case of reactionary blogging—simply doing something because we don’t want to be left behind the mainstream. It’s usually not the best way to go.

      Thinking about your audiences—that is, your current audience and your desired audience—and where they hang out online is the best way to choose the social networks where you’ll have a presence. But that’s not the only thing to look at.

      We also need to consider where we can best dedicate our time and how much we can take on. It’s all too easy to be overwhelmed, but I know that the more I focus my efforts, the better off I am.

      So before you launch yourself onto the nest social media platform, consider whether you’ll reach your target audiences in that space. If not, it might be best to hold off until you feel it’s worth your while.

      What will you share?

      This seems like a fairly basic question. What will you share? Well, your content, right?

      That might be fine in most cases, but if you find your audience on a particular network represents a particular subsegment of your desires readership, perhaps you’ll shape your updates—and the content you share—specifically to them.

      The idea of a social network being a mass communication medium through which we update our followers on everything we blog may change as the shape of social networking changes from mass networks to niche networks.

      So perhaps we should be prepared—by experimenting and trialling this for ourselves, starting now—to shape the information you share specifically to your following on a given network.

      This will likely affect the traffic our social media updates generate in and of themselves, as well as the traffic they generate through resharing.

      How will you share it?

      There’s good old, tried and tested, low-budget organic social sharing: creating an update (text, images, and/or video) and sharing it through the social networks of your choice.

      But now we’re seeing a bounty of other sharing options flood onto the market:

      These tactics can of course be used individually, but if you have a strong following and presence on a particular network, you might look at using them together, in a sort of campaign-style approach to gaining traffic.

      In any case, it’s safe to say that you no longer have to slog it out updating your status with lonely links: there are plenty of tools that can help you get more bang for your buck when it comes to sharing—and gain more traffic and, ultimately, build your audience as a result.

      That said, since they began, social networks have been important points of connection—so sharing all the time, rather than balancing those efforts with other forms of engagement (like responding to the work of others, curating broader information for your followers, making genuine connections and helping others out, and so on), is a fast track to failure.

      In this way, social media really does mirror real life. While social networks are great places to share, if your sharing is to be effective, it must be tempered by true engagement and a genuine interest in others.

      How will you manage the traffic?

      So, let’s say your social media efforts have been successful and your latest update is sending masses of traffic to your site. This is great news! If, that is, you’re prepared.

      Momekh recently pointed out the benefits that can be gained by building targeted landing pages for your social network visitors. He did this through the his network bio, but if you target your content—and share it—to certain specific networks (rather than blanketing all networks with the same update), you can take his advice a step further.

      This can be a great way to build upon the engagement you’ve established through your persona on a given network, and use that to make people feel at home on your blog. Why not create an article targeted right at your Pinterest followers—something that speaks to them directly, and includes a call to action for them to join or subscribe to your site? Then, share it on that network, with a targeted, specifically Pinterest-y update, and see what happens.

      The results of this kind of targeted communication might just surprise you.

      Of course, there are other techniques you can try. As you may have seen, sometimes I’ll include hashtags in posts and their titles, to encourage and frame a discussion about them on Twitter. I’ve found this a really great way to help readers to connect off the site, in a different forum.

      If those posts are shared, they can also help people who are new to ProBlogger get a feel for our community in a forum with which they’re familiar and comfortable. And once they start to feel an affinity with my brand, they’re probably more likely to at least follow the ProBlogger Twitter account, if not bookmark the blog or subscribe to the RSS feed.

      Do you track the results of your social media efforts? I’m intrigued to hear how you’re handling the task of generating traffic through social media—and what you do with it once it gets to your blog. Share your expertise with us below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Rob Metras says:

    Thanks Darren. Always appreciate a re-iteration of the basics that help in online visibility.You contribute so much to this space. Thanks

  2. Tina says:

    Loved the article. Social media is probably the best platform for building a true presence online. True in the sense that it builds real and lasting relationships.
    Ive recently built a landing page devoted to helping people learn to play the guitar, mostly for beginners.
    Will see how it goes

    Thanks for the article

  3. Ben Troy says:

    Thanks for sharing such an informative post.I have never heard about su.pr before.Also thanks for mentioning which category works well on which networking site.Now i am thinking to change my strategies. From my own experience, reddit.com is the better site out of digg, stumbleupon, delicious and others. My site is clearly visible on second, third and fourth levels on reddit.com in most categories. Whereas on high traffic sites such as digg and delicious, it gets lost quickly.

    • Mjames says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Excellent post. I am just starting to think about blogging – I’m not ready yet – but I’m definitely more convinced that it’s the way to go. And with these techniques at least somebody will be reading them! I pity my future audience already…

      • Ben troy says:

        yes,social networking and blogging can provide better platform to the users and many website users can invite people like family and friends to attract the website.

        These are the greatest manners that you are able to attract the traffic to the social networking website. Some other ways like email marketing and publishing news, reviews and press releases and posting articles on the free article directory are also important. It is also important for you to return your traffic by adding some hot topics and invite to chat or submit in the blogs.

  4. Daniel says:

    Some great pointers Darren. When I first started my blog over a year ago I came across many of these sore spots. I too found that with the constant new social media sites that it is very easy to get overwhelmed trying to keep up with them all. I found too the best solution to stick with one or two and build from there. A couple ideas I have had also relates to the point you made about posting different content to different sites. I couldn’t agree more. I think this is crucial to maintaining followers what I post on tumblr is very different than on Blogger. When I first began blogging I had facebook linked to twitter, twitter linked to flickr etc.. I think for people using blogs it would be a good idea to not use automatic posting authorizations as it puts too much faith in hoping people will click on a link. On twitter for instance all you see sometimes is a link or maybe even a post title. I am getting in the habit of actually taking the opening line from the blog entry and posting the link beside it so people can see what you’re writing about. A teaser if you will. Same thing if I link it on facebook etc.. Just a few thoughts of mine anyhow. Thanks again for sharing your insight look forward to reading more tips on your experiences. Cheers

  5. Mjames says:

    I have just started thinking about blogging so this was a really interesting insight. I am probably not ready to committ to a blog, but I am certainly moving towards that direction. This is very helpful info for when I get to the stage that I actually have an audience to communicate with… I pity them already!

  6. Your insights in the article are very valuable and I bookmarked this webpage.

    I am relatively new in blogging. To be honest, I am still in content creation phase and have no short-term plans to invest in social media. My first priority is to build epic content. Of course, one has to balance all traffic generation methods to maximize the return, but it is the epic content that will convert them.

    Social media is addictive. If one doesn’t have a good plan, it could be waste of resources. Is there any good course or tutorial to build a loyal following through social media?

  7. Jon Rhodes says:

    I have just started randomly posting the title and link of old blog posts to Twitter and Facebook. I try to write timeless content, so my traffic has gone up by reviving these archives. It’s well worth setting up!

  8. Good info! Cant say that i have got lots of traffic from social media but i have a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account and now and then a few customers come through these channels. I monitor my Facebook Insights and i try to monitor what type of posts that reaches the largest audience. Besides that i mostly use social media for backlinks.

  9. Saskia Bader says:

    Thanks for this helpful article. I too experienced the good effects that social media can have on website traffic. I received a nice amount of additional visitors through twitter retweets. This post showed me that I should focus on social media a bit stronger in my traffic strategy.

  10. Just goes to show how important it is to have many different ways of generating traffic, rather than just relying on Google.

    Bloody hard work keeping up with all this social media though! It does my head in a bit, but it has to be done I suppose.

  11. Wes says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thinking about your audiences—that is, your current audience and your desired audience—and where they hang out online is the best way to choose the social networks where you’ll have a presence.

    I definitely think this is important. I’ve noticed a huge difference in network usage depending on the audience.

    I haven’t been a huge user of social media, but I am beginning to step it up a bit and am thinking about your idea of different landing pages for different networks to help track network performance and help people feel at home on my sites.

    Do you primarily focus on a one social network for engaging the problogger audience or use several of them similarly?

  12. Mike Arrow says:

    I think it’s becoming more and more difficult to attract social media traffic to your website because people are so flooded with contents. The “good old, tried and tested” way as you put it still works of course, but building an audience on social media sites takes a lot of time and effort. I think that’s why so many people are opting for the social media contests and competitions. I’ve been seeing the trend on Facebook and although the results are not all good, it can potentially have an immediate impact on your traffic. Anyways, you gave me some plenty more things to study. Thanks for sharing these great tips.

  13. Nikole Hahn says:

    I try to respond personally on any and all of my social networks where possible, and then try to take a personal interest in my twitter followers. My whole goal is to be genuine since people have enough sales tactics thrown at them. Since my blog is built on living transparently as a Christian, its only natural to make it as personal as possible.

  14. I am only getting a handful of visitors from social sites, mainly Twitter and YouTube. It’s definitely a work-in-progress and I notice it growing every week, so that’s a good sign.

    I notice a big increase in results when I actually talk with others especially on Twitter. I gain more followers and get more visitors the more I interact. Oddly enough, at least through Google Analytics I am getting more subscribers through YouTube with hardly any interaction.

    Thanks a bunch,
    -Gabe

  15. I’m not always the best at tracking. I should get better. But I get measured results. Due to my activity Blogtrepreneur & Circle of moms gave me a pretty killer awards, I’ve been featured on radio, and due to another blog I had written I just landed a reality show audition LOL.

    So social media has been very good to me thus far. But honestly sometimes it is exhausting as well. I’d like Klout to go away ;) Only because if you don’t K+ or whatever it drops and unless you play the game there is not much you can do. I don’t enjoy that aspect. I have a friend that has some software not sure if that does tracking or not.

    I do try to answer people on Twitter especially when they ask for help. I work on posting encouraging words to others also. Sometimes I post political topics and that pushes buttons but I’m not trying to push buttons I’m just passionate about my beliefs. But I’ve found some of those tweets get the most RT and shares ironically.

    I use RT’s a lot on Twitter.
    Infographics on FB ( that I enjoy)
    Empire Avenue- all types of things to do there.
    G+ I always try to share other people’s posts I enjoy before posting my own.

  16. Very good post as usual. For me, Twitter is the best network to get trafic, but also to have interaction. I have quitted Facebook and i rarely use Google Plus. Point is to focusing on one network. Even i’m not in Facebook, i see sometime a huge trafic because one of my readers has shared my post. If content is good enough, your readers will work for you.

  17. Ayaz says:

    HI Darren!

    Using social media channel to get the traffic for me is really hard work and can be achieved good results by doing it with proper strategy and sharing content only from your blog is not enough. I think if you shared and organized the great and wealthy knowledge to your readers, that’s how you can create your online authority.

    Thanks for sharing nice information. :-)

  18. Pauline R says:

    I am a big Social media fan. It has a big impact on my online business already. I also believe it has to be used smartly to see more effective results.

  19. i always said that SM’splay a vitalrole in bringing traffic

  20. Raj says:

    the way social media looks and influences people has been changed significantly in last few years and I can term that one of the best thing to get spot light which a blogger needs and infact it is the best thing that every wish to have on..

  21. Good efforts Darren, now these days Social Media became a part of life. whatever we do just share and because of their popularity, Most of online business moving their marketing campaign to social media platform and it helps too.
    Now it because a great place to get lots of traffic but we need to get better strategy, awesome explanation by Darren.

  22. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Hi Darren,

    It has been 4 months for me I’m active in Social media and trying to increase the engagement on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Pinterest etc, but I’ve found that many social media sites are just wastage of time and It isn’t possible to get good traffic from there. One of the example is Reddit.

  23. Social media and bookmarking sites is one of my top traffic source. Thanks for for pointing these things out Darren.

  24. Building specific landing pages for your different media sites is a great idea and one I’m going to give a try. Guest blogging is also a great way to get people to your site, through links and an introduction to a new audience.

    Thanks for the blog!

  25. I guess it all goes back to continually updating your blog and lot’s of original content. Also the more engaging you can make it with online discussion, videos and interesting photo’s will draw traffic to your site.

    Great work on this blog.

  26. I think Facebook and Twitter are still the best to use for social media. I joined Google plus simply because its “google”. Bloggers basically want readers to keep coming back and stay in touch be it in social media or by subscribing. I think the website simply has to be well structured.

    I love your articles! Keep writing..

  27. Jan Bierens says:

    ‘Advertising’ your blog in the melee of Social Sharing sites can be a hard job. And you’re always balancing between being a spammer and a blogger promoting his or her site. It’s a very thin line.
    As bloggers are human too, they sometimes tend to ‘overdo’ their promoting a little and are looked upon as spammers, although they have not the intention to be one. Over – enthusiasm can backfire on you. Use it with caution.
    What a I try to do is get fellow bloggers to promote my goodies for me. I return the favor and it’s working for everyone involved.
    I have yet to meet a blogger who does not use Social Media networks for promoting their blogs…

  28. Geoff says:

    Love the information in your post. Especially the bit about separate landing pages. Keep up the good work.

  29. Jessica says:

    I think after facebook and twitter, pinterest will get the huge hit. So it is good to get ourself promoted on pinterest too.