May 10, 2017 | Kayla Hollatz
Do you feel like your social media posts are getting lost in the shuffle?
You’re not alone. It’s downright noisy out there in the wild, wild west of social media.
In the noisy world of social media sharing, is it possible to increase your website traffic without link spamming, icky sales pitches, and automated bots?
Even though more businesses have caught on to how powerful social media can be in attracting new customers (and retaining the ones they already have), there’s still room for you to make an impact with high-quality brand content that doesn’t add to the noise.
While social media is a great tool for connecting and communicating with your ideal audience, it can also generate website traffic and qualified leads when it’s strategically utilized.
Before we dig into the best 8 tips we’ve discovered in increasing our website traffic with social media, here are some tips that didn’t make the list because it’s 2017 and they should be no-brainers:
- Writing a social media bio that tells visitors who you are and what you do
- Adding your website URL to your social media profiles
- Including your logo or your professional headshot as your profile picture
Once you have the foundation of your social media profiles set, now it’s time for some advanced strategies to help you prioritize driving quality traffic to your website.
1) Share your own educational blog posts on social media
Along with sharing educational resources, you’ll also want to use your social media presence to drive traffic by sharing your own blog posts. Try to get comfortable with self-promotion on social media as early as possible. It’s okay to promote your work as long as it’s not the only thing you post.
Many people consider the 80/20 rule, which refers to sharing 80% outside content and 20% original content, the optimal social media marketing strategy. The exact percentages for your business may shift a bit in either direction but it’s a good rule of thumb to follow.
Once you’ve looked into what blog posts have performed the best, you can prioritize those blog posts for re-sharing. Keep tweaking the copy of your social media posts to see which get the highest engagement, too.
2) Optimize post publishing schedule to your ideal audience
If you search “best times to share on social media” on Pinterest, you’ll see a wide array of infographics claiming to know the exact time you should publish your posts on any platform. The problem with following these common practices is that they don’t specify what’s right for your specific audience.
If you’re using Facebook to target millennials, your optimal time to post will be much different than if you were trying to attract Gen X professionals.
To help you understand your ideal audience, you can start by asking yourself a few questions:
- When does my ideal audience check into the social media platform?
- How many times do they check in throughout the day?
- How long are they active on the social media platform?
- Where do they spend most of their time on social media?
Of course, we always want to back up our predictions by gathering data. Otherwise we’re just making an educated guess, which is what most infographics are doing.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest allow you to create Business pages with the ability to check your analytics to see when your audience is interacting with your posts. Compare your top performing posts month-to-month to see if there’s a consistent time of day or day of the week that ranks highest.
When we looked into our Twitter analytics, we found that our tweets performed best during regular work hours during the week. This may not be too surprising, but we didn’t stop there. We found that between 9 AM – 11 AM and 2 PM – 3 PM, our tweets reached maximum engagement. Now we use this as a guide when we want to announce our newly published blog posts and any company news.
If you haven’t found an obvious trend, keep testing different post times to see which perform best. Keep testing and tweaking, too. The trend may change over time.
3) Participate in Twitter chats, Facebook groups, and other communities
We are BIG fans of online marketing, SEO, and web design Twitter chats. Not only do they give you the chance to connect with other brands and professionals in similar industries, but the relationships built during a one-hour Twitter chat can lead to increased website traffic from your Twitter profile. We put together a list of our favorite Twitter chats and always seem to find new ones to add every few months.
Participating in other social media communities on Facebook and LinkedIn can also help you increase your brand visibility and brand awareness. To find communities in your own industry, connect with your network to see what groups they love being a part of or see what groups they’re regularly participating in.
Just make sure you genuinely engage in the social media communities you join rather than using it as a place to constantly pitch yourself. Social media is meant to be social. Your educational information and insightful conversations will entice people to learn more about you, no spammy links required.
4) Optimize your social media copy for each platform
You only have 140 characters to make an impact on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean that same copy should be used on Facebook or LinkedIn. Each social media platform has its own best practices so they require optimized copy for posts to reach their full potential.
- Twitter: Like we mentioned earlier, Twitter has a 140-character limit which now excludes photos and links (thankfully!). Write concise, clear copy to introduce blog posts and updates. Use a URL-shortener (like bit.ly or your sharing platform) to shorten and customize your links. Personality is always appreciated on Twitter as it’s more casual and quick.
- Instagram: Understand your goals for Instagram before writing your caption copy (ex: increased comments, bio link clicks, etc.) From witty one-liners to short-form stories, Instagram gives you wiggle room to experiment with copy length. Do keep in mind that you have less than 140 characters in the home feed preview before the “See More” label which prompts visitors to click it in order to view the rest of your caption. Use your beginning characters wisely!
- Facebook: Facebook gives you more real estate to draft effective social media copy at various lengths. Videos and photos perform best with relatively short copy. Use copy as a short teaser to direct traffic with a clear call-to-action (CTA).
- Pinterest: Pinterest is its own search engine. Nearly all attention is on the visuals so use your pin description to add SEO-optimized keywords. Keep it short since the maximum description on Pinterest is 500 characters.
- LinkedIn: Buffer says the optimal length for a LinkedIn post is around 25 words. Because LinkedIn is commonly used in the workplace, the tone of social media copy leans more professional than other social media platforms.
- YouTube: When writing for YouTube, it’s best to keep your titles within 70 characters. In your description, you have 5,000 characters to play with but only 157 show up as a snippet in search so you’ll want to make the most of those beginning characters like you do in Instagram. Add important links and a clear CTA.
5) Include high-quality photos and graphics in your social media posts
Our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text. Because our attention spans are only getting shorter, social media platforms give special priority to posts with engaging photos and visuals.
Don’t believe us? Here are a few stats that prove it:
- Facebook posts with images attract 39% more engagement.
- On LinkedIn, image-based posts attract 98% more comments.
- Tweets that include images and videos get 200% more engagement than plain text tweets.
Now, does this mean you should always add an image? Not necessarily. Having no photo is better than including a graphic that adds no value to the post. If you create a social media post promoting your most recent blog post, you’ll want to choose a photo you’ve taken or a relevant stock photo that relates to the topic.
6) Add relevant industry hashtags to your social media posts
Hashtags are especially relevant on Instagram and Twitter. We recommend using a max of 2-3 useful, active hashtags in a single tweet on Twitter. Hashtags can also be dedicated to Twitter chat communities but no one can “own” any hashtag. Before using a hashtag, search to see what kind of content is populating the hashtag so you avoid any sticky situations.
On a single Instagram post, you can use up to 30 hashtags. Be wary of using overly popular hashtags like #happy or #excited (which aren’t relevant to your business anyway) because you could find yourself shadow banned by Instagram.
7) Include social sharing buttons within your blog
Remember the old days when you had to copy a blog post’s URL and manually publish your social media posts? *dramatic faint* With social media buttons on your blog, you eliminate the extra steps it takes for blog visitors to share your content with their audience.
With a simple click, social media buttons automatically generate the web page link and title of the article so visitors can quickly customize it and publish.
Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: floating social share bars. To use or not to use, that is the question. As you’ll see in our in-depth social share bar blog post, we have mixed opinions.
We’ve seen far too many floating social share bars lead to awful user experiences. It’s hard to believe web developers wouldn’t test how these floating bars looks on multiple devices, but I digress…
You’ve probably noticed on our blog that we don’t have a floating social share bar. This is because the plug-in we were previously using was slowing down our site load time…no bueno! Obviously website speed is very important to SEO, so we couldn’t have that.
(P.S. We’re currently searching for a new plug-in, have any suggestions?)
And there you have it: 7 tips for increasing website traffic with social media!
The key here is to never stop experimenting. There’s always a new marketing tactic to test and try out for yourself. So what social media tip are you putting into action to increase your website traffic? Tell us in the comment section!