Series 4, Article 45

 

So you’ve got a mobile-friendly responsive website, you’ve got great content, your SEO keywords are in place, and you still are not getting the amount of traffic to your website that you want?  Your next step is Social Sharing.

Having a strong social marketing strategy is a must for today’s social media driven culture.  Websites that integrate social media on their website just plain receive more traffic.  It’s free advertising!  It would be ridiculous to not use it.

I’ve had clients tell me “I hate Facebook”, “Twitter is for kids” and “I just don’t want to learn anything new”.  All legitimate feelings, but the fact remains that social media is the driving force of the majority of website traffic and it will only become more and more important in the years to come.

So the question is, do you jump on the bandwagon now or wait until you are really “behind the times” and try to catch up then?  Luckily for these folks or the business owners who just don’t have the time to run their own social media, there are now people who can do that for you.

For those of you who are ready for the Social Media Age, here are 10 important secrets that will improve your efforts tremendously!

  1.  When and how often to share

Tweets have a short “shelf life”, meaning that they move down the page and get lost below newer tweets fairly quickly.  So Tweeting more often is advisable.

Facebook Posts have a longer “shelf life”, remaining towards the top longer (depending on how many friends are feeding into it) and tend to get exposure because people love to scroll down through posts even if they are hours or even days old.  Getting the scoop on the latest news is a worldwide obsession these days.

Blog Posts have even a longer shelf life, with customers reading back through years worth of archives in order to find the information they want.

Facebook is used during downtime at work, lunch hours, afternoon lulls, but more often in the evenings, and the most on weekends.

Twitter spreads news quickly – personal, social, political, etc.  These posts spike when people typically commute, take breaks from work, and go home for the evening.

Get to know the habits and personalities of your typical customer by using social analytics to determine the best days and times to post.  You can find a free social analyzer at http://simplymeasured.com/free-social-media-tools

  1. Use the limited space of social postings effectively

Engagement, content, and a call to action – all in as little space as possible. That’s the game with social sharing. Twitter made brevity the hallmark of its platform, but Facebook users also reward character conservation: posts under 80 characters get 66% more engagement.

You want customers to do something with what you share – you want them to act and continue the viral spread of your content. Opportunities for action and engagement include questions, contests, requests, hashtags, and even a simple link. Give your customers a way to interact productively without ever leaving your post.  Ask people to “comment,” “share,” or “retweet” your post.  A visitor to a social site or your website only spends milliseconds deciding if they want to respond to your content.  

  1. Maximize the size and visibility of your posts

A picture is worth a thousand words……ALWAYS include a photo in your posts, whether you are posting on Facebook, Twitter or your blog.  Posts with images receive 40% more interaction than those without.  Make sure your photos are always linked to your website, not to the photo URL.

  1. Make your social profiles represent you well

Every form of social networking gives you an opportunity to create a social profile.  Make sure the information is consistent, professional and well polished.  This includes your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.  Services like Yelp, Pinterest, Tumblr, Foursquare, Goodreads, and even topic-specific forums may best get you in contact with your particular customer. Find where your customers are; make sure you’re there too.

  1. Make your site share-friendly

You’ve worked hard to build a functional, attractive website and publish meaningful content on your blog. Now, make sure people can find it – and easily notify their network of your good work. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to share your content.

Add share buttons (links to share instantly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) to your website and blog, and make them readily accessible. Some tools and plugins even make these buttons ‘float’ or follow the customer’s scroll.  Use social sharing buttons that display counters of how many times content has been shared.  This provides a credibility-boosting ‘crowd’ of readership.  Let your customers see how popular your content is, and give them the opportunity to make it more viral.

  1. Benefits of regular Blogging

The Internet is giving you an opportunity to post lasting content – content that you control, on a site you control. Exploit that opportunity.

Your Facebook posts and Twitter tweets will disappear, buried under billions of newer messages. But your blog benefits you in search, gives you a platform to become a reputable source, garners links to your work, and drives traffic directly where you want it: your website.

Choose compelling images to accompany your posts. As with posts directly on social media platforms, this increases engagement and makes your content virally shareable on various networks.

So, do it. Blog regularly. Current research indicates that blogging 15 or more times per month can increase traffic by 5X. Even if you’re a small organization, make this a part of someone’s job description. If you’re part of an even smaller enterprise, then find a way to make blogging work for you – the same research shows your business stands to benefit the most in terms of traffic increase.

Blog content is longer-lasting, but this is still the internet – it takes concentrated effort to get your desired content onto your customers’ screens.  If you’re not already posting frequently, these numbers may seem daunting. Don’t worry, there are ample resources for blog post ideas.

  1. Share and Share alike

You’re reading this because you want to promote what you’re doing and boost your web traffic. That gives you something in common with just about everyone else using the Internet. Helping others meet their goals in social sharing ultimately furthers your message as well. Highlight resources, companies, and persons that create value for the customers you want to meet and to serve.

You can promote people whose promotion and reach you want, such as influential figures in your industry. Interview one of these people or invite them to guest blog on your website. Donald Trump may not show much interest in writing for your suburban real estate shop, but a realtor a few towns over, similarly successful as yourself, would likely be delighted to participate in such cross-promotion. And you build your own credibility by associating with relevant authorities online.

  1. Use groups to meet and interact with customers

Identify groups relevant to your customers on Google+ Circles, Facebook, LinkedIn, industry forums, or in other virtual settings like Twitter Lists. Make these groups work for you analytically as well, using them for A/B testing of changes you’re considering in content, style, and presentation and tracking how these alterations play out with your customer base.

Become a contributor to the discussions in these settings. Build trust in here, and you can interact with your customers like never before. Turn this group into a tribe that believes in what you’re doing, and you’ll enjoy the endless benefits of having like-minded people promoting your work and also sharing content that interests you. And don’t just show and tell – ask questions too. Ask your customers for their input and feedback. Get them in the habit of interacting with you, and show them you value their opinion.

  1. Quality content

With all these strategies, there’s no substitute for making worthwhile products. A well-timed, expertly-linked, meaningless tweet is still just a meaningless tweet. If you want customers to find, engage with, and share your content, then give them something worth sharing.

You can find all types of free resources, guides, and tools at FIRST SITE GUIDE.

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