How good exactly is social media at generating referral traffic? Let’s look at the facts.

As of 2019, there are 4.39 billion Internet users in the world. Facebook, the social media giant, has 2.32 billion — over half of that. There are five more platforms with over a billion users (YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Instagram).

While Google is still the best at directing visitors to sites, you can’t look at those numbers without being impressed. Turning to social media for extra traffic is a very worthy investment — if you play your cards right.

Arguably, it’s easier than trying to rank in Google since you’ve already done most of your work elsewhere — namely, on your own website. That doesn’t mean it’s a total walk in the park, especially if you aren’t already a big and famous brand. But if others do it, and you want to do it too, why run from the challenge?

So let’s go through the hows of getting as much social media traffic as humanly possible.

Stage 1: Prepare your social media pages

Obviously, you need to exist in social media before you can start using it as your traffic machine. Less obvious are the details of it. These are the elements that will lay the foundation of your social stronghold.

Your personal pages

Which would you prefer:

A.Talking to a person;

B. Or talking to a brand with a logo for its face?

Most people will choose option A 100% of the time. It makes interactions more personal and instills trust much better.

Once you’ve chosen which social platforms you are going to use, set up your personal accounts there – with your name and face. (If you already have them, great!) Be your own representative. Encourage others on your team to do the same, as well.

Personal pages are also needed to build and expand your network, but we’ll get there later.

Your business pages

The personal factor makes it easier to drive users to your site from your own pages. Facebook influencers in particular often forego the whole business page part and just post everything under their own name. You probably aren’t there yet, so you’ll want to dedicate separate pages for the site you are promoting.

Set them up and fill them out with as much information as you can.

First impressions often last forever. Here’s what your pages need to make your first impression count:

Unique name Unique logo URL with your site’s name Cover image What your site is and what it does (usually in an “About” section) Contact information Link to your site Pictures that capture the essence of your site in the gallery

Remember to share the business pages’ updates on your own pages and ask your associates to do the same!

Platforms you’ll be using

Everyone can name several big social media platforms without thinking: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Quora and others. It’s safe to choose any one of them for promoting your website. In fact, there’s no reason not to choose all of them, as long as your content is a good match.

Some platforms may need a more delicate approach than others, though. For instance:

Reddit users are wary of advertisements. Brand-promoting threads get downvoted and hidden. Twitter is notorious for its character limit. Quora is a Q&A platform where sponsored articles can be disguised as questions. Updates you’ll be posting

There are billions of users in the world, but your target audience will be only a fraction of that. Design your updates to click with the people you want to bring to your site.

Do you know your audience well? What kind of content would they like the most? There will likely be more than one answer, and it can range anywhere between “funny” and “professional.” You might want to experiment with several different moods to see which work the best.

The only two traits that apply universally to all users are “caters to their interests” and “attention-grabbing.” Only you will know what the rest are.

Stage 2: Prepare your site and content

Let’s remember rule number one of the Internet: content is king. Excellent content on your site is a must in social media promotion, too — even if you don’t directly post it there.

Imagine this scenario. Users visit your social media page and click on a link in one of your updates. It takes them to your site, they see your content and… it’s bad. What do you think will happen next? You guessed it: users will bounce and never click on another of your links in social media.

And we can’t have that.

Driving traffic is about both attracting new users and keeping your old users. For the latter, it’s even more important to watch the quality of your content. If it changes, it must only change for the better.

Stage 3: Direct users from social media to your site

Okay, the preparations have been made. Time to start doing what you came here for — generating traffic. The more of it, the better.

Post often.

Users get tons of updates from many different sources in their feed. The more of those updates are yours, the greater your chances of getting more clicks. Post on your page at least several times a week; if you can make multiple updates in a single day, that’s even better.

Post different types of content.

It’s more interesting when you can present more than just text and images. Most platforms support many more formats, such as videos, polls, slideshows. You can even get creative with the usual “boring” types of content and turn them into something more fun, like a game.

Share other people’s content.

Not only will these content writers appreciate what you did, they’ll also receive a notification and be introduced to your brand.

Repost your own content.

This works surprisingly well, since users often miss updates in social media. Of course, it’s best not to take any risks and update the reposted content beforehand, so that the users who’ve seen it before will have a reason to click on it again.

Ask users to engage with your updates.

Even something as simple as “subscribe for more updates” works, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to put more thought into it. YouTubers can get particularly creative with the calls-to-action in their videos.

Participate in discussions.

The more people are talking about what you post, the better, and you are certainly allowed to voice your opinion. Besides, users may have questions that only you can answer.

Reply to users quickly.

A quick answer is a sign of caring. Of course, you can’t be there 24/7 to reply to everyone, so it helps to use a chatbot.

Expand your social network.

In social media, who you know matters as much as what you know. Keep getting new friends and followers and never stop. You can find them on your pages, but there will be countless more on others. How many new people have you talked to today?

Do as your competitors do.

Someone is bound to be receiving more user engagement in social media than you. And while high engagement isn’t a ranking factor, it often correlates with high rankings in Google. Find those people with the help of WebCEO’s Dangerous Competitors tool.

Check which sites are in the same niche as you, then add the most competitive of them in another tool – Competitor Social Citations.

This will show you which ones get more social media engagement than you.

Now you can check out their pages and figure out what makes them work. Is it the updates they post? Is it how often they post them? Or maybe they’ve built a better network of followers and contacts than you? Only one way to find out.

Design your updates to maximize click-through rates.

Users love updates with great visuals and short, but engaging and descriptive texts like the one below. Emotion-evoking power words that fit the mood of your content can make a huge difference.

Another thing that catches the users’ attention is already having likes and shares under the update. They are signs of quality that motivate users to give your content a try. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends and coworkers to engage with your updates as soon as you post them. Their attention will be noticed by others.

Invest in paid promotions.

Can’t avoid mentioning those in the context of generating social media traffic. When all else fails (and even when it doesn’t), allot a budget for paid ads.

Afterword

Social media’s main purpose is communication between people on equal terms. There’s no better place for reaching out to your target audience. The more users you have and the better your relationship with them, the more traffic you will get.

So it all boils down to building a rapport with the people you want to invite to your site. Be an active element in your users’ experience with your site — not only through your content, but also through good old human interaction.

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