By social commerce agency, Digital Visitor
Today social media is now an integral part of the modern marketing mix – but it wasn’t always so.
Many organisations encountered initial struggles determining its place within them, what resources to assign to social activity and the tangible benefits to business. But as channels such as Facebook and Twitter introduced more ways to analyse and measure activity on their networks, and became more aware of the need to consider not just personal users but business users as well, the path to determining ROI of social activity became a little clearer.
The main metrics many businesses use to measure social success are;
a) Community growth – the number of people liking or following them on a channel,
b) Community engagement – the level to which that community is involved in what they have to say, and
c) Referral traffic – the amount of traffic social channels refer to their own website.
In this article, we look at the latter – how social media can help drive traffic to your own website, and how you can improve your social output to maximise this effect.
Increase organic traffic through social activity
1) Expand your social footprint
Ongoing changes to search engine algorithms are placing more and more importance on social activity. Your business’s social profiles and pages, and the activity that takes place on them, now has an effect on your placement in search engine rankings. And the higher your placement, the more traffic you can expect to your site.
This shift towards social signals not only the growing importance of social media as a whole, but also underlines the fact that social activity is being seen as particularly ‘trustworthy’ by Google in a landscape where paid link-building has proven popular in the past.
The first step to taking advantage of this new focus is to create a presence on all the social channels relevant to your business – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. And don’t forget about Google+. Many marketers may have mixed feelings about Google’s challenger to Facebook, but considering Google is the largest search engine in the world, it’s essential to have a presence on its social offering.
Remember to link up your different social accounts, and include a business bio and link back to your website on each channel.
2) Be socially active
Taking an active role on these social channels will further boost your organic search traffic. On a basic level, the more content and conversation around your business, the more credibility and relevancy Google can assign to your brand, and your products and services.
Create a posting plan for each of your social channels – ensuring you create a regular flow of content, and take time to respond to questions and comments from your followers/fans.
If you don’t have a dedicated social media manager, consider incorporating social updates into the duties of your marketing team, or outsourcing channel set-up and management to a specialised agency. Learn more about our social media management services.
3) Keep up the content
It can be time-consuming to continually create fresh and relevant content. A great way to boost your output is to let your customers and clients help. A reviews system on your website can capture comments, photos and videos, and this content will not only boost your site content but can be shared across your social channels.
Our award-winning reviews and ratings system can create an XML feed of content which is then automatically fed out to your social channels, with a link back to your site. Our system also includes share links to all the major social channels, so those who leave reviews can also quickly and easily share them across multiple networks, exposing your brand to huge new audiences.
Learn more about our reviews & rating solution here.
Turn social sites into referring channels
4) Encourage action
Besides boosting your organic traffic, once your social communities start to grow, you can keep driving those people back to your site.
The key to this is, again, content. Firstly, make sure everything you post – a photo, a comment, a video – includes a link back to your website.
If you want people to take an action (e.g. click on a link), be clear about what you want them to do and why they should do it. Tell them the benefit of clicking – to find out more, to see more content, to claim an offer.
If you’re short on space (for example, you’re limited by Twitter’s 140 character limit), use a url shortener like bit.ly or goo.gl to turn unwieldy links into something more manageable. The added benefit of using one of these services is that you can also track how many people click on each link – enabling you to measure what content is driving the most traffic.
5) Focus on engagement
Over time you will learn what content elicits the most engagement – the most clicks and shares.
If you’re a travel company, it may be beautiful photography; if you’re a retailer it may be exclusive offers; if you’re a media source it might be breaking news or a debate-driving comment.
Trial different types of posts on your social channels and measure what types of content your audience clicks on. Also, trial posting on different days of the week or times of the day, again seeing where the most engagement occurs. It’s worth bearing in mind the location and time zone of your audience – and also the patterns of the working week.
And remember – every time someone shares a piece of your content on one of their social networks, it has the opportunity to be seen by their community of friends and family – introducing your content to a whole new audience and driving traffic back to your website.
Photos, videos and anything involving humour are highly shareable – so gear your social media posts around these and you will be on your way to creating interesting, sharable content that expands your audience reach.