The Fundamentals of Increasing Web Traffic from Social Media
Social media marketing, for B2B companies, often means one thing: generating new leads.
But what do you do with these leads? At some point, you’ll want them to visit your website and other web properties, where they can be exposed to more of your content, become a captive audience, and enter your sales funnel. The trick is, your social marketing should ensure this happens.
Just because you’re finding prospects on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter doesn’t mean they’ll seriously consider your products and services unless they’re directed to do so. With a shrewd social media management strategy, you can create an experience for your followers that naturally funnels them towards what you have to offer, ultimately increasing your web traffic.
Web traffic is a key metric factoring into social ROI—in fact, Shareaholic reports that social media drives nearly a third of all traffic to websites—and all signs indicate it’s an increasing trend. Thus, social traffic is something that B2B marketers need to get right. Here are 3 ways you can increase web traffic via your social marketing efforts:
1. Make your web properties social media-ready
Chances are you already have a web presence. And if you do, you have some copy throughout your site that was created to introduce prospects to your products and pre-sell them on the benefits. You’ve also probably created a fair amount of material for your company blog. But none of these things should exist in a vacuum. Even with careful SEO optimization, you still need to build awareness of your presence on the web, and social media is often the perfect means to that end.
A plethora of potential buyers interact every day on social channels, and the companies that are engaging them are drawing them to their websites. So, why not you? This can include your company, as well. But first, your web presence must be social media-ready. Here are some ways to make that happen:
- Use social sharing buttons on your blog content. These buttons allow your readers to share your content with a simple click to their social network of choice. The result? Your prospect’s network will see your content and might be curious enough to click through.
- Include calls-to-action for your blog readers to share your content. Blog readers can very easily skip over the social sharing buttons, so it’s up to you to make it clear that sharing should happen. Some plugins, for example, encourage your readers to “Tweet this,” to share your content and increase your visibility on Twitter. Also consider plugins that incorporate pop-ups or fly-overs encouraging shares.
- Allow blog comments—and be responsive. Some company blogs still make the mistake of not allowing comments. While it can be a little bit of a hassle to deal with spammers, you want to invite prospects to respond to your content as part of an evolving relationship. Once your readers are engaged and they notice you responding back in turn, they are much more likely to become loyal followers and share your posts with their peers and colleagues on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other outlets.
- Link naturally to your social profiles and/or discussion groups in your content. If you happen to have ongoing, natural discussions with customers and prospects via social channels, there will be opportunities to subtly build some buzz about it in your blog posts. When and where appropriate, mention that you have private discussion groups on the likes of LinkedIn or Google+, or link to a high-performing social post.
- Share social links everywhere. Social links aren’t just for your blog posts. Let your customers and prospects know, in every piece of content they encounter, that you have a social presence. You can do so with links next to videos, in email newsletters, in infographics, and other pieces of content. Remember, the more engaged social followers you have, the more roads you’re building back to your content.
Determine from the start that all your web properties will connect with your social presence, with full integration across outlets. Not only do prospects want and expect this, but it leverages whatever traction you have on social and places it within an ecosystem that funnels prospects toward your website.
2. Gear your social posts towards increasing web traffic
Once you have infused your website with your social profiles, it’s time to take the next step: look at your social posts themselves, and making sure they’re primed to bring your followers to your site.
Of course, you want to achieve a balance between active participation and the “hosting” of your brand’s presence on each network, while steadily drawing your followers into your sales funnel via your website. Nonetheless, here are some tips for making sure your social posts are pushing traffic your way:
- In native social posts, direct social traffic towards gated content. Your in-depth material, whether it’s ebooks, white papers, or informative research reports, is what will get your followers to invest more in your brand and think of you as an industry leader. And how can they get to this content? Via a social post that takes them to your landing pages. Review your social media calendar and make it a point to incorporate posts specifically targeting gated content. You might even take the bold step of creating content that can only be accessed via social—look at your customer profiles and best-performing social outlets for engagement and conversion rates, and consider whether it’s worth it.
- Use keywords. The use of keywords and phrases in your social content can help interested prospects find you when they use the search functions of those networks (not to mention the peripheral SEO benefits), which can lead to increases in social traffic. On Facebook, you can search for specific industry-relevant phrases to see which ones are the most popular, revealing both which keywords you might want to use in your content and prospective customers to connect with. For Twitter, sites like hashtags.org let you qualify hashtags by popularity, so you know exactly which relevant hashtags are getting the most traction.
- Use advertising. Social media ads are an immediate way to get traffic to your website. If you’re looking to jumpstart social traffic from a particular outlet, create an image-based post that catches your prospects’ attention with a relevant headline.
3. Optimize your website and social strategy based on your results
After implementing the above, you now have a website that’s connected in every way to your social profiles—your leads can’t miss it if they tried. And, you have some results on social media posts that are specifically engineered to drive leads to your site. Now, it’s time to optimize on both fronts.
First, you’ll want to revisit your website to make sure it’s doing its job in converting prospects into interested, qualified leads and then customers. Using your website analytics, consider your highest-performing blog posts and highest traffic webpages for indications on which content comes out on top, and focus future writing efforts on creating more of the same type of content. In addition, it’s always smart to conduct A/B testing on your web copy, specific elements of your landing pages, and other aspects of your site to make sure every detail is as efficient as a conversion-driver should be.
When it comes to evaluating social media ROI, there are three (among many) useful metrics to take note of:
- Social traffic: Plain and simple, your social traffic numbers tell you which social posts are driving the most traffic to your website, and how much.
- Click-through rate: This tells you which posts garner the most clicks. Are some underperforming, contrary to expectations? It might be worth tweaking your headline text, adding an engaging image, or changing some other element to pique your followers’ interest.
- Conversions: Every good marketer knows how much a lead is worth to them. By tracking conversions from social, marketers can determine how many leads, and how much money, social media is generating for them.
A highly effective social media analytics tool (especially one that “talks” to your marketing automation platform) is your perfect companion in assessing the impact of your social media initiatives on web traffic.
Increasing social traffic = proof of social media promise
Increase the amount of qualified, targeted web traffic, and you’ll score brownie points for an effective digital marketing initiative. But if you can demonstrate that the traffic is coming in from social, you can equip yourself with solid evidence that social media marketing is worthwhile. Leads will convert to customers, and company sales will rise. And with enough marketing “elbow grease,” social traffic can become a self-sustaining driver of growth for your brand.