So you published your polished post on social media and started waiting for the clicks to roll in. Hours pass by, but nothing happens.
Does this scenario sound frustratingly familiar?
That's because the volume of social media traffic is in decline. Back in 2014, over 31% of referral traffic came from social media - a number that dropped to 26% in 2018, the first year when search outpaced social for referral traffic.
Even though getting people to see or engage with your content has become a challenge, it's not impossible.
Read on to find out how to increase social media traffic in an effective way:
Reason 1: Content Overload
The amount of content shared online leads to content shock - a situation where the available content volume exceeds human capacity to consume it:
Social media platforms are aware of this problem, and continuously tweak the News Feed algorithms to deliver the most relevant content to users - which brings me to the next point.
Reason 2: Ever-changing News Feed Algorithms
Each network handles the algorithms differently. Instagram claims to show us every post from everyone we follow, but prioritizes the order we see them in. Facebook has possibly the most sophisticated algorithm that restricts what we see. Twitter lets us switch between algorithmic and non-algorithmic feed while LinkedIn seems set to copy Facebook’s strategy.
The goal of each social media platform is the same - to keep users engaged and on the platform for as long as possible.
But because the algorithms may deem your content irrelevant and consequently downrank it in the News Feed, there's a chance your posts won't get in front of your audience.
Getting users to click through to your website has become a major challenge.
How to increase social media traffic?
By including social media users in your content creation process, you are breaking out of your online bubble and encouraging people to interact with your posts.
Here's how you can simultaneously create content and engage your followers:
Ask For Ideas
I use this tactic regularly by posting in my Facebook group, as well as on my LinkedIn and Twitter profile. I’ll usually post a list of topics I’m intending to cover, and ask for input.
If someone suggests an idea I later include in the post, I’ll credit and tag them when I share the article on social media. Those collaborators will generally share the post with their audiences.
Pet Sitters Ireland used a similar technique for their post on dog friendly hotels in Ireland. After they published the first draft, they asked for additional venues to add.
Create Round-up Posts
A round-up post is a collection of thoughts, tips, or comments from a group of contributors. How to create it? Ask a specific question on your social media channels and collate your audience's answers together in one big post.
Assuming each of the mentioned contributors shares your post, you'll be able to reach a huge audience.
I’ve used this tactic a few times on my own blog and have found that it works best with micro-influencers. These are influential members of your target market that might not be regularly featured in round-up posts, but who have a significant potential to amplify the reach of your message.
My post for International Women’s Day in 2017 mentioning successful, influential women got almost 800 visits in 7 days, with over 50% of that traffic coming from Facebook:
Choose the Right Topic
There are plenty of tools that can help you research talking points that are hot with your audience. Here are just a few:
#1. Facebook Groups
Join groups that your ideal audience frequent, and keep a note of the questions that come up most often. Look for trends in your audience's conversations, identify problems they face, and create content that addresses these.
#3. Twitter Trending Topics
#4. Keyword Research
Google autocomplete - the easiest way to see what people are searching for is to let autocomplete do the work. Start typing your keyword or idea into Google to get an accurate list of suggested search terms.
#5. Seasonal TopicsTrending topics will drive traffic to your website because they are in the moment. Seasonal content works in a similar way, but the traffic it brings in is more lasting.
Aside from the obvious seasons like winter holidays, you can also engage your audience in conversations about more quirky holidays that you can easily discover with daysoftheyear.com. The website lists all the weird holidays of the year, and even gives you a topical hashtag.
Pick out the holidays that will resonate with your audience and use them as a springboard for your content.
Now that you know the general tips to improve your social media traffic, it’s time to understand the tactics you can use for each social network.
This tactic might seem risky, especially since link posts get the lowest reach and engagement on the platform. Still, this doesn't mean you shouldn't include links in your Facebook content at all - used smartly, links can help drive significant referral traffic to your web.
Here are several tactics you can use to maximize clicks on Facebook.
#1. Use Link Posts
Although this will get more reach, it doesn’t get more link clicks.
Link posts, where the preview of your post is shared are engineered to get clicks. The whole preview is clickable making it easier for people to visit your site and tit gives viewers a better idea of what they are clicking through to see.
Facebook have even told us that this is how you get the best results from your links:
“We’ve found that people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions.
With this update, we will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.”
Links posted in the caption of a photo or video get hidden, particularly on mobile.
There are a few creative tactics you can use for clicks though.
#2. Add a Button to Your Video Posts
To activate this you'll need to boost, or advertise your video post.
Click the ‘No Button’ icon to choose a button.
#3. Messenger Bots
Messenger bots can be set up to trigger when someone comments on a post. Just be sure to let people know that is what is going to happen.
#4. Facebook Ads
Facebook knows how users behave when on Facebook. When you set up an ad with the 'traffic' objective it will serve those ads to members of your audience who are most likely to click. Even for a small budget you will get clicks as long as the content is right.
#5. Facebook story ads
With this in mind, creating ads that are designed for this placement should see you getting a good cost per click.
You can only create Facebook story ads if you also create an Instagram story ad but the format for the two is the same. A 9x16 image or video.
To select the Facebook story placement when creating a Facebook ad click into your ad set and scroll down until you see ‘Placements’.
Click ‘Edit placements’
How can you get people to click through to your website when there is such a huge barrier in place?
#1. Swipe Up
It’s something many Instagram users crave but interestingly, according to digiday the swipe up rate on stories averages around 2 - 5%.
If you don't have 10,000 followers there are other things you can do that will get you a similar result.
#2. Comment For a Link
Kate from Pet Sitters Ireland tested this and managed a 3% link request rate. When I spoke to her about the experiment she told me that she also had conversations with the people who commented which was a bonus on top of driving traffic to her site.
Fired on by Pet Sitters Ireland results, I tried the same tactic and also managed to get a 3% request rate.
#3. Slide For a Link
Instead of asking for a comment The Digital Gal asked people to use the slider poll to request access to her latest cheat sheet. As you can see below she got a large number of requests.
#4. Instagram Story Ads
Just like with Facebook stories you can create Instagram story ads to promote a link. The difference is you can create an ad just for Instagram stories without the need to add the Facebook story placement.
#5. Link in Bio
Having just one link makes it hard to direct people to the right place on your site. To work around this, create a landing page on your website just for the people visiting from Instagram.
There are tools that can assist you with this but the advantage of creating your own is that you can retarget visitors with ads and you have the chance to engage the people who visit.
Here's an example from MyKidsTime
#6. Pretty Links
Pretty Links is a Wordpress plugin that lets you create custom links that include your website domain.
For example you could create a link yourdomain.com/easteroffer
To create a Pretty Link paste your long link into the ‘Target URL’ box then add your desired link into the ‘Pretty Link’ box.
You’ll also see previews of link posts. These are called ‘Twitter cards’ and you need to activate them on your site.
#1. Twitter Cards
Paste a link to a webpage into the box to preview how Twitter will display your link.
To activate cards install the plugin and then click 'Social' in the settings. Then Twitter in the top menu.
Non Wordpress users should talk to their developers about enabling cards.
#1. Get Comments
It’s comments that are magic on LinkedIn. When someone comments on a post, a large portion of their network sees it in their feed. Comments will push your content way beyond your potential audience of connections.
To get this multiplier effect ensure that you are sharing with 'Anyone' when you post on LinkedIn.
You'll find this privacy option at the top of the box when creating your post.
#2. Write-Post-Edit Workaround
I asked the relentlessly helpful LinkedIn aficionado John Espirian to explain the 'Write-post-edit' method. Here’s what he told me.
"LinkedIn wants to keep you on its platform, so posts containing external links tend to have reduced organic reach.
A common hack is to place links in the comments, but this can lead to the links being buried once the post has attracted more than a handful of comments.
A better alternative is to use the "write-post-edit" workaround. This keeps the link inside the main post but sidesteps the algorithm's penalty for pointing to external content.
This has been my most effective tactic for transforming the organic reach of content marketing posts on LinkedIn."
Read more about this method on his blog.
And that’s it, my list of non-standard tactics you can use to drive more social media traffic to your website.
As social media referrals decline we will need to continuously re-learn how to get traffic from social media. The tactics I’ve shared above will help you boost your social media traffic, fight the algorithm and stand out in the sea of content, for now.
If you have any to add leave me a comment below.
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