Social media offers web publishers and online marketers a new and potentially highly effective way to drive traffic. However, many online marketers and website owners continue to either ignore social media or spend little effort on it. It is important that all publishers bake in a social media plan into their online marketing efforts – here are seven reasons why:
1) Diversification of Traffic Sources
When Google rolled out its Farmer Update at the end of February, many website owners saw an enormous drop in traffic referred from Google. Google has been and will remain the number one referral source of traffic for most publishers. However, Google continues to implement strategies to make it difficult for marketers to impact Google’s results – so often time spent trying to improve Google rankings can be time wasted. More importantly, it is important to not have all of your eggs in one basket. Google is going to continue to innovate and make changes, so as a marketer – you need to put energy into other marketing outlets so that any changes Google makes in the future will have less of an impact. Social media offers diversification – as it is a completely new traffic source which will be separate from any traffic referred by Google or other search engines.
2) Growing Audience
Social media is growing, as highlighted by the fact that users are actually spending more overall time on Facebook then they are on Google. So as social media continues to grow – so too will the opportunity to drive additional traffic from social media. It is clear that there is opportunity to market your website on Facebook and Twitter – and with the social networking audiences growing – the traffic opportunity will grow right alongside with it.
3) New Audience
Not all users are equal – and while many users continue to take advantage of search engines to find information, products, and services online – other users navigate the web via other methods. An increasing proportion of internet users are finding out about new sites directly from social media and bypassing search engines all together. So, a website that has never participated in social media could have access to an entirely new audience which previously had no way to find out about the given website.
4) Future SEO Benefit
As we all know, the currency of the organic search economy is links. Google has developed a page rank technology which counts links like a vote. And when a prominent website links to your site – it is considered a powerful vote which can boost SEO. It is likely that social media will begin to take a more prominent role in how search engines rank web pages for a given keyword. In the past, a website linking to you was a vote that Google valued. Moving forward, while these links will continue to have importance, so too will Tweets of your link from a high authority Twitter account or Likes of your page by a popular Facebook user.
5) Repeat Visits More Likely From Referrals
In today’s social networking landscape, users are visiting websites because their friend made a suggestion. These visits have a greater chance to turn into repeat visits as the given website has already been recommended by a friend. When you get to a website from a search engine, you have less connection with that site as you found out about it through a simple search request. On the other hand, when a friend tells you to check something out, you are more likely to give yourself a chance to form a deeper connection with the webpage that you land on.
6) Social Media Marketing is Free
They say nothing is free – but when it comes to some forms of online marketing this is not the case. Hard work it will take for sure – but money does not have to directly come out of your pocket to succeed within social media marketing. A lot of webmasters drive targeted PPC traffic from Google via an Adwords campaign. While this traffic has proven to be effective, it is also very expensive. Social media grants all web publishers and online marketers the chance to interact, communicate, and market a given website for free. Strategy of course is important and it must be executed effectively, but the underlying fact remains that traffic can be driven via social media with no money being spent on the traffic acquisition costs.
7) Continued Connection with Users
Perhaps the most important aspect of social media marketing is that it allows for a continued connection with your users. When you have users following your website on Twitter or users Liking your Fan Page on Facebook; you are able to get the word out to your users about whatever you want whenever you want. This is crucial, not only because it allows you to implement a targeted marketing campaign at the time which it will be most effective, but it also stabilizes your marketing efforts because you have the ability to re-market to your users indefinitely. When a user comes to your site from a search engine, they may enjoy your content – but if your Google ranking drops – the next time the user is looking for something similar they may end up on your competitor’s website. However, social media allows you to have the ongoing dialogue with your users and it stabilizes your audience because you have control over how to market yourself to these users in the future.