How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Through Social Media
You've likely heard social media is a popular way for businesses to engage with their target audiences. You might even post on Facebook or respond to a few tweets. What’s the big deal?
92% of small business owners who use social media consider it important for their business. Why?
For starters, social media can help you build brand recognition, foster a community around your business, and grow your bottom line.
And, with the number of global social media users expected to hit 2.5 billion this year, there’s never been a better way to find and connect with your ideal audience.
So how can you use social media to help your business? You can start by driving traffic to your website. Below I'll share eight simple and effective tips to help you do just that!
Getting Started with Social Media for Business
If you’re just entering the world of social media for business, you might assume the only options you have are the giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
These are fantastic options (and essential!) for any type of business, but there are other options worth looking into as well. For example:
- Pinterest – to share visual content, like images and infographics from your blog
- Reddit – to prove your knowledge in an industry, and engage with a dedicated community
- Tumblr – to create a multimedia diary to support your main website
- Google+ – to share content on Google’s own platform (and boost SEO!)
- Snapchat – to document behind-the-scenes of your business through video
But with so many platforms, each offering different things, how do you decide which to focus on?
Follow your customers.
Research the demographics for each platform (data for several are in point #2 of this Key Statistics page).
Who tends to use that platform most? Do these demographics fit within your buyer personas? If so, add it to your list and get to work!
The Importance of Targets
Like any marketing campaign, the basis of your social media activity should be goals and metrics (or Key Performance Indicators, if we’re getting fancy).
This is how you’ll measure success, and determine whether the platform you’re working on is actually effective. There’s not much point in investing time into Pinterest, for example, when your ideal customer isn’t active there, right?
Goals could be anything from growing your number of followers X% in six months to increasing social referral traffic by [50%].
Whatever you decide your goal is, stick to it and refer back to it regularly. Don’t let it become another never-again visited document that slips to the bottom of your Google Drive.
For the rest of this post, I'm going to focus on one goal: driving traffic. Here's how you can do it!
How to Drive Website Traffic Through Social Media
1. Fill in your profile.
What’s the first thing people see when they click your social media page?
Whether it’s your Twitter bio, Facebook About section or LinkedIn company page, your profile shows visitors information about your business.
That makes it the perfect spot to tell everyone a little about your business, and drop a link to your website.
Social media now drives 31% of all referral traffic. You can get a slice of that action by adding these backlinks to your site.
If people are interested in the type of content you’re sharing and discussing, they’ll likely be interested in finding out where they can get more.
Not only does this backlink give readers a chance to click-through to see what you’re all about, but you’ll have generated another visitor to your site, just like that!
Action Step: Make sure there’s a link to your website’s homepage on all of your social media profiles.
2. Promote your blog content.
You put tons of effort into writing content for your blog, and want the world to see your latest masterpiece. But before you know it, two months have passed and only few people have feasted their eyes on it.
What point is there for creating great content if people aren’t going to read it? You can fix this by promoting your posts on social media.
It’s been found that brands who create 15 blog posts per month (and share that content through social media) average 1,200 new leads per month – proving it’s not impossible to get your content seen by ideal customers.
Of course, you don’t have to create 15 blog posts per month before you can share your content on social media and start seeing tangible results. You can start promoting at any point, with any piece of content.
After all, you’re always building your profile, and recent followers might’ve missed content you published weeks ago.
You can also repurpose your blog posts to get more use out of them. Options include:
- Quoting different snippets of your article
- Asking your target audience questions that are relevant to the post
- Varying your choice of images
- Changing the headline of your article every 2-3 months
Promoting your blog content with a variety of messages will keep your feed fresh and attract your target audience to your website.
Action Step: For each blog post on your site, create a document with an additional 5-10 blog post titles. Add these to your social scheduling tool, along with the URL of your article, to drive traffic back to old blog content.
3. Make your content easy to share.
What’s better than knowing people are reading your blog content? Seeing that they’ve shared it with their friends and coworkers!
Chances are you’ve spent part of your lunch break or evening browsing Facebook. You’ve seen a friend share an interesting link or video, and you’ve clicked-through to learn more.
That’s the same degree of sharing you should be fostering for your content.
Allow – and encourage – existing site visitors to share content hosted on your blog by embedding a social sharing tool. Some will even show the number of shares earned by each post, like this example on Social Media Examiner:
Over 41% of people measure the social influence of a blog by the number of shares it gets. If you’re making this information available to your site visitors, it could build trust and lead to higher conversion rates later in the buying cycle.
You could also include Click to Tweet buttons so readers can quickly share interesting facts or snippets with their own followers (and link back to your content, as well).
This option doesn’t display the share count, but it gives visitors an incentive to share. Not everybody has time to craft copy for their social update, so why not provide them with it to take that stress away?
Action Step: Install a plugin that displays social shares on your website, such as Cresta's Social Share Counter or AddThis. Viewers will be able to share your content with the world with the click of a button.
4. Post when your audience is active.
What good is posting on social media if your target audience isn’t online to see it? Sure, you might get some hits, but are they likely to care what you have to say? Or will they only contribute to your ever-increasing bounce rate?
The best time to post on social media is when your target audience is most active – their “peak time.”
When initially building your social strategy, follow these general guidelines for when it’s best to post on social media:
Once you're more established, start testing the waters to see what times drive the most engagements and click-throughs.
Followerwonk is a fantastic (free!) tool that can help with this step. It determines what time of day your audience is most active, allowing you to tailor your posting schedule around their daily routines.
Simply hit the Analyze tab, enter your Twitter handle and select “Analyze their followers”.
Here are the results for my Twitter profile:
Once you’ve collected this data, optimize your posting schedule around your followers' activity! Schedule posts that appeal to your audience most during these blocks of time, and try and be active when your audience is online.
Action Step: Use the Followerwonk tool to analyze when your audience are most active. Then build your promotion strategy around it.
5. Focus on sharing visual content.
It’s easy to scroll endlessly through a social media feed and miss content that might be interesting or otherwise helpful. Stop potential site visitors from doing the same by sharing visual content that stands out.
Did you know that visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content?
In addition, tweets with images received 150% more retweets than those without. So, if you’re using visual graphics on Twitter, you could position your content (and website links!) in front of more ideal customers.
Add elements like:
These will make your audience more likely to click your social update, and share it themselves!
Here’s a fantastic example of Fieldboom using visuals in their social posts, which link to blog posts to drive website traffic:
But, you could also benefit from sharing links to your site, along with your fancy graphics, on visual content sharing platforms such as Visual.ly, Flickr, and Pinterest. If each post includes your website’s URL, you’re set to see a surge in social traffic.
Action Step: Use Canva to create a graphic for each main social channel you’re looking to drive traffic from. You can edit a template that’s already optimized for each platform, or build one from scratch.
6. Engage with your audience (consistently).
It’s easy to overlook the social aspect of social media, but that’s not a mistake you want to make. Social media is unique in that you can engage directly with your target audience. You can answer questions and obtain feedback in real-time, and improve the experience people have with your brand.
Engaging with your audience is also an effective way to drive traffic to your website – and improve your audience’s opinion of your company.
Only 11% of people receive replies from brands, so you can really stand out with a few personal comments. Here are a few ways how:
Participate in Twitter chats.
Look for topics and chats relevant to your niche by searching: [NICHE + “twitter chats”].
Here’s what I find when searching for marketing chats:
You can also go to Twitter and search a topic to see if there are any good conversations happening. Once you’ve found chats to participate in, answer relevant questions, help people solve problems, and generally contribute to the conversation.
People will be interested in what you have to say and impressed by your authority, and will likely click-through to your profile to learn more about your business.
Respond to tweets and comments mentioning you and your business.
This one should go without saying, but all too often businesses miss the mark. When someone tweets to or otherwise engages with your business, engage back!
Their interest creates the perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate your business’s value. In so doing, you may even generate a click to your website or a conversion to a sale.
Don’t ignore your notifications and mentions!
Search for relevant hashtags and spark conversations.
If you’re an authority in an industry or niche, pay special attention to hashtags and discussions. Use relevant hashtags when sharing your own content, and spark up conversations with people who include them in their social media posts.
Hashtagify is an awesome tool to find hashtags you may not have spotted.
Each of these hashtags may create opportunities to link to a resource on your website, but it’s important that your conversations and interactions are genuine.
People will appreciate a relevant link far more than one that seems too much like an advertisement.
Contribute to relevant forums.
Forums are online communities that ask questions, offer knowledge and share links to content that’s relevant to their niche.
The people engaging in these forums are dedicating their time to it. They want to learn more, and talk about the subject with other like-minded people.
Why not position your content in front of these people to drive traffic back to your site?
Action Step: Create a list of Twitter chats you’d like to participate in, and add them to your calendar. While you’re there, schedule in 15-30 minutes to engage with your followers on social media every day.
7. Optimize your calls-to-action.
Ever write the perfect tweet, only to check back and see how little engagement it actually received?
It’s disappointing, I know.
You can increase how many clicks your social media shares receive by using calls-to-action in your post.
Calls-to-action tell a user exactly what you want them to do. We use them in blog content and landing pages all the time, but they’re also great for convincing your audience to click-through to your website on social media!
Add phrases like:
- “Click Here”
- “Read More”
- or “Visit Our Site”
They’ll persuade readers to actually click on the content you’re sharing, driving up your referral traffic from each platform.
Not convinced? What if I told you CTAs on your Facebook page can increase click-through rate by 285%? (I bet you'd click that link!)
Make sure, however, that you’re only adding CTAs to content that will benefit your audience. We don’t want it to look like you’re sharing clickbait, after all.
Action Step: Jot down a list of calls-to-action you can test on your social profiles. Use each one at least 5 times, and record metrics (such as engagement, link clicks, and profile visits) for each variation. This will show you which works best for your audience.
8. Test paid social advertising.
Social advertising is an effective way to reach new people who haven’t yet heard of your brand or website.
But what if you’re struggling with driving traffic to your website through social media?
If you have the marketing budget, social advertising is worth experimenting with. That’s because you don’t need to break the bank with a Facebook campaign, where the average cost-per-click (CPC) ranges from $0.45 to $0.70 per click.
When trialing Facebook ads, create a Saved Audience of people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Optimize your campaign for Link Clicks, and gear your social advertising towards your ideal customer’s stage in the buying journey.
It makes much more sense to promote a link to your blog posts to cold leads, rather than a product they’ve never heard of.
By using calls-to-action in your copy and ensuring your links are relevant to what your audience is looking for, Facebook ads could soon be your business’ biggest source of referral traffic.
Action Step: Begin to build audiences in Facebook, depending on their interests. For each one, make a note of a blog post that is most-relevant to their interest, and assign a budget depending on the audience size.
What to Expect
Now that you’re armed with these social media tips, implement them into your social media strategy and watch the traffic flow through to your website.
With a full, fresh social media profile, your content is sure to be read - and shared - by a whole new subset of your audience!