Extracting maximum traffic from social media calls for both – being socially active and having a strategic campaign with clear objectives. Most often, the reasons solopreneurs don’t see enough traffic and traction on the social media may be either because they have no set plan – or they have a plan, but they get sidetracked by the social interactions flow. They get caught in the melee instead of being able to control it.
No matter how small your business, or how obscure your niche, there is an audience out there on some social media platform that’s just right for you. You can extract the maximum traffic from social media channels if you aim at a specific small targets, one by one, and learn how to lead and direct the ebb and flow of social conversations towards your messaging. This is impossible to learn if you cast your net far and wide on the social media and try to get too much done in too short a time. The beauty of targeting small but specific segments on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels is that you’ll also get deeper insights about your target audiences and their behaviors by interacting with them intensively rather than showing up as an “at-large” presence..
Understanding the 7 top social channels and their traffic profiles
Before you target the social media channels for traffic, it helps to know which social channels will be generally more productive of traffic – and what the characteristics of their distinct audiences are. The seven crucial channels that almost all solopreneurs gravitate towards are: Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. There are a number of other channels too like Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat, Meerkat and so on, but the Big Seven would be the ones I’ve mentioned.
Image courtesy: Likeable Media
Another very interesting couple of graphics that show you the subtle difference in the audiences’ behavior on various social channels are these one below. They are aptly called “Social Meowdia Explained” and “Social Medogia Explained”. They try to imagine what a cat or dog owner would behave like on each of these social channels, to “fit in with the crowds there”. Enjoy these!
Image courtesy: Avalaunch Media
Understanding social channels traffic and separating their different engagement levels
After you gauge the distinctive cultures of each of these social media and their typical inhabitants, it’s a good idea to zero in on the level of engagement that people generally exhibit on the social media – whichever social channels they belong to. Some people like to watch from a distance and see what’s going on, some like to actively share and socialize, some others thirst for a debate to join in (or even sometimes come to pick a fight), and yet some others like to be stars who attract others and impress them. According to SmartInsights, there can be 6 different types of social-citizens depending on their level and taste for engagement of different kinds.
- The No Shows (41%)– these are people least involved with social media, if at all; they also infrequently engage in online socializing.
- The Newcomers (15%) – passive users of a single social media network such as Facebook, primarily to enhance relationships that they have offline.
- The Onlookers (16%) – are active only in the sense that they watch others via social channels on a regular basis, but share almost no personal information.
- The Cliquers (6%) – active users of one network; they tend to be influential among their small group of friends and family.
- The Mix-n-Minglers (19%) – those who regularly share and interact with a diverse group of connections via diverse social media.
- The Sparks (3%) – most active and deeply engaged users of social media; will serve as enthusiastic online ambassadors for their favorite brands.
As a content-marketer looking at the social channels as a traffic source, you can decide to target the social channels you prefer, and also target the kinds of engaged audiences you prefer from these channels. This is one of the biggest advantages you have in trying to get traffic from the social media. The ability for granular targeting of traffic by engagement-readiness levels is a terrific plus-point.
Some basics for building your brand and driving traffic from social channels
It isn’t enough, of course, to merely be present on the social channels you desire, you have to consciously build your brand on these channels, and project the brand qualities you want people to be aware of. There are four basic factors you have to be extremely careful about, because these reflect directly on your brand, and must convey the right brand credibility for you to be able to attract the kind of audiences you want. Just as you want to choose your audiences with care, audiences would like to be choosy about the brands that best reflect the qualities they respond to.
1. Be selective with choosing social platforms. Not every social platform, however popular is right for every brand. If, say, you want to maintain a very “official” presence, Twitter, LinkedIn and maybe Facebook Pages would be a great choice. If your brand is more involved with the arts or fashion, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube (more visual social channels) may be right for you. If your target audience is largely women, Pinterest is hands-down the winner. Pinterest is just overflowing with women audiences. If your brand authority is built on your smart thinking and sharp one-liners, you could use Twitter to broadcast your opinions on a host of topics related to your niche, while you also intermingle with other authoritative voices.
A good idea would be to frequent most of these big social channels for a bit, and see where you may have the best chances to give your brand a high polish, while also engaging in the type of conversation with audiences who like exchanging notes with a brand like yours. Social media selection has no hard and fast rules. It’s a listening-cum-intuition thing. It’s like knowing, at a party, which gathering of friends you are best likely to “vibe with” and gravitating towards them.
2. Make your profiles across channels “on brand” and consistent. The profile section of your accounts on these social channels are of paramount importance. When people come across any of your social updates they are tempted to see who you are, what you do, which site you own, and what values you stand for. Make your picture look genuine and authentic and credible. Look straight into the camera, with just a hint of sideways profile. This gives the best combination of sincerity-plus-confidence. Make your bio crisp, and don’t be tempted to cram it with hashtags to the point of meaninglessness. Highlight your expertise, and provide links to your best website. Give both your professional interests and a hint of your other interests – so you come through as a 360-degree human being. Look at the bios of the biggest social influencers in your niche. Your profile must sound like it could belong in that crowd!
3. Post your updates when the channel audience is active. Every social channel has its own peak hours when it is flooded with people. Twitter is invariably the haunt of the round-the-clock types, but if your audience is in the US, you must make sure you are tweeting your updates during the US waking hours – and not when the US is asleep and Indonesia is awake. Likewise, there are times of day researched to be the best times for posting social updates to the different social channels. See the graphic below which gives social channels and their best posting times.
Image courtesy: 9GAG.com
Look at these suggestions as guides, because many people tend to give you their own research of best times. As you become a more aware social user, you will know what timings get the best traffic for you from the social channels.
4. Connect with influencers more than the audiences. Many marketers don’t get this concept. On the social media they try to woo their audiences. On the contrary, you have to woo the influencers who hold sway over the audiences you want. One word from the influencers, recommending a visit to your site, will bring traffic in droves. Whereas, if you are targeting individuals with small peer-followings, you’ll get barely any traffic. On the social media, it’s all a game of “capturing the fort on the hilltop to capture the surrounding territory”. Go for the influencers. Warm them up with tweets and social updates applauding their latest books. Comment openly on their latest blog posts you loved. Retweet their tweets. Like their updates. Make it known to them that you are a raving fan. And then, when things look like they are going swimmingly well between you and the influencer, shoot an update to them asking for feedback on your site, your blog post or your brand. They’ll reply if they feel you’ve become valuable as a fan – and if they just say the word, their gazillions of followers will visit your site too. Watch this magic, and you’ll get thoroughly convinced that the only real way to traffic from social media is via influencers.
How to get the most traffic out of social channels with the right kinds of content
What kind of content you share on the social media also has a direct bearing on the kinds and quantity of traffic you attract. How many sad brands have we seen posting inane or blah content, and expecting excited traffic to rush to their sites! Using the social media, as one expert put it, is exactly like using a cocktail party to showcase yourself. For a party, you’d go appropriately dressed to impress. You’d aim to mix with those who have the greatest power among others.
You’d try to get noticed by being witty, or sensible or authentic – depending on the crowd, and what you aim to be seen as. Most importantly, you’d want your words and behavior to communicate things about you, subliminally, beyond the literal things you say. It’s the absolute same with social media. It’s one big party, and what you say also says a lot about you. Here are four tips that you should keep in mind about your posting content.
1. Share interesting content, share updates of old and new blog posts cyclically, and share the content of your blog and others’ blogs 50-50. Being seen as over-promoting yourself is a no-no. But at the same time you do have to share updates of your own blog posts. The best thing to do is to share some 50% of updates on your own blog posts, and about 50% of your updates should be of interesting blog posts from others in your niche. Show that you are a niche-centric authority, and not self-centric person. Share your old and new blog posts via cyclical social updates that air your entire library of blog posts on your site. And take a lot of care to see that every single update has the ability to project your brand at its best. Don’t share carelessly, just to push out a quantity of updates a day.
2. Vary your types of shared updates … use different kinds of ideas. Try tactics such as asking questions, showcasing great quotes by great men and women, calling for participants for spot polls on interesting topics, engaging people with debate points, encouraging impromptu or scheduled social chats, injecting humor or cartoons to make your point … the ideas are endless. Be daring, be different, be innovative – but as you do all this also always be “on brand”.
3. Use a lot of visual support for updates – and be careful with hashtags. Visual content like images, videos, slidedecks and infographics have great traffic-pulling power. People don’t come to the social media only to be serious about work. They like being entertained (which accounts for why these cat videos are so viral). Do use visuals with all your social updates, because chunks of pure text will just go unnoticed in crowded social streams.
Another very important thing: use the right hashtags with your social updates. It’s been researched that three hashtags is the minimum and maximum an update should have – did you know that? It’s a good idea to make one hashtag the topic of your update, make another hashtag of your brand name, and make the third hashtag of your audience type (e.g. #contentmarketing #solohacksacademy #solopreneurs). That way anyone searching for content socially will either see what’s exclusive for him, or his topic of interest – and over time, you will also promote your brand as a hashtag. Be extremely cautious about hashtags though. Because they tend to be single words they can mean something totally different when you think you’ve strung crucial words together beautifully … like when Susan Boyle wanted to promote her music album launch her hashtag went haywire … it was #susanalbumparty!
4. Let every social update have some call to action. It’s the unspoken rule of all marketing communication – any kind of marketing communication – that a message must always be followed by a “call-to-action”. It’s the same for any social update. Give people your message, share a blog post, share a quote – but then tell people what you need them to do next. What action would you need them to take? Visit your site? Click on a link that leads to a blog post? Sign up for something you’re offering? That’s why you also have to think before you create a social update because you have to ask yourself: “By putting out this update, what actions can I tease someone into taking?”.
Even if all that your social update contains is a quote by some great person, it should be a quote, for instance, that underscores the point you are making in a blog post. Let’s take an example. Let’s say you are making a social update of a quote by Henry Ford. By all means put his quote in words, or in the picture, and add your call to action: “See how Henry Ford’s idea can help your business today” … and provide your link to your relevant blog post. If you think of “calls to action” as intrinsic to every social update, you will be extremely careful to make the kind of updates that will bring the traffic in.
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content For Social Media”:
- Find Instagram Influencers In Your Niche: Right Picks For Solopreneurs!
- 10 Systematic Ways To Convert Social Hashtags Into Brand Assets!