Two reports (sources below) came out almost on the same day; one stating that nine in ten marketers use social media and one suggesting that less than one percent of website visits come from social media.
If social media is “the” growing potent force for interacting with customers, why doesn’t it result in more people coming to your website? If true, why engage in Twitter or Facebook or other social media sites at all?
First, anyone who keeps track of website traffic knows that the majority of page requests comes from Google and the other search engines.
The other observation (and it’s only a guess on my part) is people engaged in Facebook and other social media sites want to stay there unless they have a very compelling reason to leave.
I’ve worked with websites that had thousands of friends on Facebook and Twitter but few visitors from these sites. The bulk of page requests were search traffic. Most site visits will always be search based.
Look, social media is essentially an interaction between friends and connected professional’s interested in a particular topic. You join a social media site to do two things, interact or market.
So if you are engaged in a wonderful discussion of Aunt Martha’s views of Italian cooking with Aunt Martha and the rest of the family on Facebook, my message announcing this article is not going to persuade anyone to leave. Quite frankly, they don’t care.
So why do social media? Most people are interacting for entertainment, but they will know and go to your site “when” there is a reason “if” you post often enough and “if” you create great material.
My experience is at odds with the research
I believe that the premise of the cited article is correct; the vast majority of website traffic will come from Google and other search engines. But social media does send traffic.
Please note that how much traffic you get from social media sites depends on who you are trying to reach. Internet savvy audiences (generally younger) who like to exchange information (i.e., politics, tech, religion, gaming) are going to be easier to reach than cops and plumbers and salespeople.
There are sites where a couple of good postings on StumbleUpon and Facebook and Twitter could make up 25 percent of traffic for a week. Some tell me that the bulk of their traffic comes from social media sites.
But if there’s a strategy that precedes all others, its search and links back to your site. That strategy should drive the bulk of your promotional efforts.
Social media is a powerful way of growing your traffic and reputation. Just keep things in balance with your need to appeal to search engines.
Final consideration; e-mail marketing is still the best way to market to some key demographics and professions.
It all depends on who you’re trying to reach.