When comparing social media traffic to other forms of traffic, such as search engine, the numbers typically are going to look rather bleak. While you’ll hopefully see a spike in number of visitors and pageviews, that will often be accompanied by higher bounce rates, lower pageviews per visitor, and a lower average time on the site. With stats like this many bloggers wonder if social media traffic is even worth the time and effort.
Despite the tendency of many social media visitors to quickly exit your site and move on to the next one, there are still some very convincing reasons why you should care about social media and why it is worth your time.
1. It’s Free
Unless you’re paying for a consultant or a link bait specialist (both can be good options), marketing your website with social media is free. It will cost you some time, but that pales in comparison to the value of the traffic that you can get in return. There are countless ways to market a website or blog. Just about all of them involve spending money (which isn’t a bad thing), and of the ones that don’t involve money, the vast majority of them are a complete waste of time. I’ve never tried any other type of free marketing that brought even 1% of the results I’ve gotten with social media at my primary blog. Most bloggers are on a tight, or non-existent, budget when it comes to marketing. If this is the case, social media is for you.
2. Quick Results
Building a successful website takes a considerable amount of time and effort. Search engine rankings, for instance, can take years to build in a competitive niche. On the other hand, with social media you can develop content and be seen by thousands of visitors within the same day. For this reason, social media is a great option for getting a new website or blog noticed right away .
3. It’s Flexible
There are so many different social media websites that just about every imaginable niche is covered in one way or another. There are social news sites, bookmarking sites, and general networking sites. Whatever your needs and your audience, there should be an option to use social media for your benefit.
Also, you’re not stuck to using the same social media sites over and over. If you’re not getting results in one place there’s usually other options that you can try out.
4. It Gets Easier with Time
If you’re new to blogging and social media and you feel like everyone else is getting traffic but you, understand that it takes some time and effort, but it will get easier. Once you have established a bit of a reader base and you’ve hopefully attracted some social media users to your blog, it will be much easier for you to get votes and ultimately get more exposure. The more you use social media the more you will understand about how it works and how users will respond.
5. It Will Lead to Other Valuable Sources of Traffic
Although visitors from social media sites may be less responsive than other types of visitors, success with social media will likely increase the number of inbound links you receive. Links will boost your search engine rankings and they’ll also drive click-through traffic your way. Both are generally high quality traffic sources.
6. Building Links with Social Media is Safer than Buying Links
If you plan to cut out the need for social media by purchasing links from other sites, you’re running the risk of being penalized or banned by Google. For some, this is a risk worth taking, but in most cases I would strongly discourage taking this chance. Personally, I focus on building links for my primary blog through the combination of content and social media.
7. Social Media Users are Predictable
The whole concept or link bait or Digg bait wouldn’t even be possible if social media users were unpredictable. But the truth is you can usually have a good idea of what is likely to draw a response and what is not. This will come with time, and of course there is no 100% guarantee. However, once you know a social media audience pretty well, you can cater content to their preferences with a pretty high success rate. What you learn about social media can easily be duplicated to your other blogs or to serving clients.
8. It Doesn’t Require as Much Time as You Might Think
Personally, I use social media every day, but on a very limited basis. If you think that you have to spend all day on Digg or Stumbling pages to get some results of your own, you may be surprised. With the right approach you can get fantastic results with just a few hours per week on social media sites. To be a top Digg user you’ll need more time than that, but being a top Digg user isn’t necessary to draw social media traffic.
9. Branding Through Social Media is Possible
One of the great benefits to the exposure that you can get through social media is the result it has on the branding of your blog. Branding is key to building a success blog in the long-term, and social media is an excellent, free option for helping visitors to see your blog in a particular light. (For more, see my post at ProBlogger A Blogger’s Guide to Branding with Social Media.)
10. Links Can Help Your Search Engine Rankings Rise Quickly
Earlier I mentioned to social media can provide instant results. Well, in addition to sending loads of traffic directly, the links that result from social media success can get your new posts ranking very well with search engines almost immediately. It’s not uncommon for me to see a very respectable number of visitors from Google searches to a brand new post that just drew a lot of links through social media. While it will take a while to build search engine rankings as a whole, it is possible to create specific posts to rank well right away.
11. It Allows You to Leverage Your Existing Traffic
Do you already have a solid blog with a steady flow of traffic? If so, chances are you could leverage that traffic to draw even more visitors with social media. You may want to use voting buttons on your posts or ask some of your readers and friends to give you a vote occasionally.
12. Some Visitors Will Be Targeted
The biggest knock on social media traffic is that it’s not targeted, and that is typically true. However, visitors from niche social media sites can be very highly targeted, and on top of that, a portion of visitors from general news sites will be targeted as well. For example, if you get 25,000 visitors from a post on the Digg front page, maybe only 5,000 of them will have much of an interest in your site. Still, that’s a quick 5,000 visitors that you wouldn’t have had without social media. Just because a smaller percentage of the visitors will stick doesn’t mean that they are irrelevant.
13. The Future of the Internet is Social
Social media and social networking aren’t going away any time soon. The major players and the types of social sites may change of the course of time, but this is a trend that online marketers need to adjust to. Without finding ways to build a website or blog through social media you could be left behind by your competitors.