Social media has become the best source of referral traffic to websites, according to a report from Shareaholic.
It has supplanted search engines as the channel that drives the most traffic to your site, with over 31% of traffic from December 2014 coming from social media – 10% up from the previous year.
Facebook and Pinterest lead the pack of referring channels, with Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn contributing to the total figure.
The effectiveness of social media in referring traffic encourages website owners to use Facebook and Pinterest in order to gain more audience to their sites.
But traffic is never an indicator of success of a website.
It is best used as means to reach your online goals, one of which is turn visitors into clients by getting them to purchase products and services sold in your site.
In this post, you will learn the step-by-step process that you should follow to grow your referral traffic using social media and convert your visitors into customers.
Form An Effective Social Media Strategy
Your social media strategy covers the goals and objectives you wish to achieve from the social media sites you will use, research for your target audience and buyer persona, and contacts of influencers that are following you, as well as those who aren’t (your goal will be to encourage them to follow you).
Arguably, the most important part of forming a strategy is to identify which sites you will tap into for referral traffic.
Facebook and Pinterest are obvious choices, although both don’t come without issues.
Facebook has decreased organic reach of Pages last year from 1-2% – for every 100 fans you have, only 1-2 people will see your updates from their News Feeds.
The algorithm update enforces site owners to pay for Facebook Advertising in order to increase their reach. Unless you have funds to spend for advertisements, you won’t be able to build as much fans as you want.
It is possible, but it will take some time to reach the number of likes you wish for your Page.
Unless you know how to create visual content, then Pinterest will be no use for you.
But if you’re set on using this social media site to drive more referral traffic, you need to learn how to create and edit images on the go using online tools like Canva and PicMonkey.
Infographics are also one of the most shared content on Pinterest, so you may want to get your hands on infographic creators to build informative content.
If you have developed great content for Pinterest, expect people to share them and follow your profile in the process. Also take time to do the same – re-post and like great images within your industry and follow relevant profiles.
As far as other social media sites go, you will find yourself using Twitter a lot for promoting and reaching out to your target audience.
Following users is easy if you use Followerwonk and BuzzSumo to find influencers within your industry. Make sure to also send out tweets at optimum times, which you can find out using Tweriod.
Google+ has become unstable with internal changes that have been taking place throughout the years.
Nonetheless, Google+ Communities are one of the best places to get in touch and interact with people within your niche (so you can build your authority) and get referral traffic at the same time.
The same thing goes with LinkedIn Groups.
It is ideal that each of your social media sites must be distinct from each other. This can be achieved by assigning different goals for each (one for building relationships, one for getting the most likes or retweets, etc.).
This way, you give each of your social media sites a distinguishable personality that your target audience can relate to. This also prevents you from posting the same content for all your social media.
Social media management
When it comes to publishing posts on your social media sites, you may need to hire someone who can dedicate their time in not only crafting post for each site, but also use them as outreach tools to build relationships with others and encourage them to follow you.
But once do you hire someone, that person will need to observe employee advocacy to ensure that messages from your social media are consistent with your brand.
Don’t always plug your products and services in all your social media posts. This will only annoy your target audience and gives them a reason to stop following you.
In this case, mix up your posts by doing the following:
- Ask questions – increase engagement
- Post memes – fun way to interact with fans, but only if applicable to your business voice
- Share content from other sites or content made by your followers – prevents over-promotion of your content, also provides informative articles that you haven’t written to your audience
- Celebrate company milestones – humanize your brand and build trust
- Launch contests – reward fans and followers
While none of the post-types above are promotional, they help build trust towards your business.
The more trustworthy your business is through social media, the more reason people will adhere to your brand, if not purchase products from you!
To help you perform all these tasks efficiently, you will need a social media management tool. This will allow you to view all your updates in a single dashboard.
More importantly, this tool allows you to schedule your posts ahead of time, see mentions or new followers that you may want to greet or acknowledge, and others.
Track And Analyze Performance
Once you have implemented all the steps above, you should also spend time in analyzing how each of your tactics have performed over a period of time.
Aside from referring to data collected by the social media management tool, which collects numbers of clicks for the links you sent out, you can refer data from your Google Analytics..
To get the best results from this analytic tool, you need to use a URL tracking tool so you can track specific campaigns and see which ones are drawing you the most traffic.
Most importantly, Google Analytics help you track your conversion rate and make the necessary improvements based off the data collected.
From here, you can refine your conversion funnel and analyze how your social media can play a better role in converting traffic into customers.
For instance, instead of linking directly to your sales page from social media, you can try linking to content pieces (to provide them with information) or direct them to your autoresponders (to turn them into leads first).
Turning social media traffic into customers is not as easy as it seems. But by following the tips and advice featured here, you will have a better idea on how to organize your social media campaign for the purpose of increasing your sales and customer count.