At the time of writing, Google lists over 3.1 billion pages for the phrase social media, 14 billion for twitter and 19 billion for Facebook.
That’s a lot of stuff to get through. But most of it is about building an audience on your Facebook page, or on your Twitter account. Much less of it covers getting visitors from the social networks to your website.
Here’s a no-fluff guide to Social Media Marketing. These are golden tips you should be following for each social network you’re on.
10 Ways to Connect With Users and Draw Them to Your Site
1. Use a custom profile picture
Never use the default icon. It’s unfriendly and makes your account look like a fake, or spam. Even if you’re representing a company, it’s better to use a human face than a logo or icon as your profile picture – people like to see who they’re talking to.
2. Add your website address to your profile
Check the link actually works. It’s too important a thing to risk a typo sneaking in.
3. Make users want to visit your site
What’s written in your bio or about text is important. Make it short, snappy and give at least one reason why someone should visit your website. It may not be as obvious as you think to someone who’s never heard of you.
4. Don’t buy followers or fans to make the numbers “look good”
You’ll get no interaction – visits, revenue or otherwise – from these accounts. More importantly, Facebook and Twitter, in particular, are clamping down on this kind of spam account.
5. Don’t just post about yourself or your company
Only sending updates about your latest blog post or “exciting” company news tends to be a user turn-off. Share links from others and join in conversations where you can.
6. Check your account regularly for comments and replies
It looks bad if you’re asked a question which goes unanswered.
7. Be pleasant, courteous and helpful at all times
Even if the other person seems unbelievably awful or awkward, you need to keep friendly and professional – because your response could be online for a long time.
8. Double-check everything you write before posting
As well as checking spelling and grammar, look for hidden meanings. Without accompanying body language or facial cues, you might accidentally post something that could be read with (or without) a layer of sarcasm or irony that wasn’t (or was) intended.
9. Be interesting
No one likes visiting a dullard. Before you post anything, ask why would my followers / fans want to know this? If you can’t think of a reason, drop it or change it.
10. Don’t be afraid to repost your best content
Very few people check their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts all day every day, so reshare your most popular posts. Older readers may have missed them and newer readers won’t have seen them before.
Bonus Tip: Track how you’re doing
Keeping your eye on Traffic Sources > Social in Google Analytics will give you a good overview of which networks send you the most visitors and to which page. Use Goals to track more specific things like the rate of mailing list sign-ups or sales conversions.
Specific tips for each network: How to get more traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Google and Pinterest
Here are some key ways to generate traffic from each of the main networks.
Post updates with pictures
Studies show that updates with pictures – especially featuring animals, babies and other cute things – get clicked on more than updates with no pictures.
Investigate using Facebook Apps and Custom Tabs
Many apps are free and they’ll help you promote your content and links back to your site in more interesting ways that just a simple text update.
Repeat your tweets
Twitter is fast-moving. When a tweet is more than an hour or two old, it’s pretty much off the radar and not likely to get you any more traffic.
Given that, there’s no harm in repeating tweets at different times of the day, to catch followers with different working times. One of the easiest ways to do that is with Hoot Suite which lets you schedule your tweets in advance (major time-saver).
Connect your Twitter account to your Facebook profile
Once connected, tweets and links you publish will also appear on your Facebook page. To activate, go to Settings > Profile in Twitter.
Especially if your website has a strong visual aspect to it, Pinterest can be a major traffic generator.
Make it easy to Pin your images
Use the Pinterest Pin It button to make it easier to share your images. This button also makes sure the correct image attribution link is generated, so you’ll always get a link back to your site.
Comment on other people’s pins and repins
Check to see who’s pinning your images by going to http://pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com/ (replacing yoursite.com with your own website). Then thank them for sharing your content and add a link to another, related page on your site.
The Next Step
Social media marketing is important but it’s not the only way to get more traffic to your website. In many cases, other traffic generation methods will get you better results because you’re finding and addressing people in your niche market, rather than speaking to the world at large via general social networks.