The Web Is Social
There are many different ways to drive traffic to your business online. The choices might be overwhelming – what should you do first? What should you focus most of your time and attention on?
There's no easy answer to that question because every niche and business is different, but it's a safe bet that social media should be a huge part of your overall strategy to generate traffic.
The web is social. Social media is where people learn the latest news, keep up with people, products, services, businesses, and more. It's generally expected these days that a business should be found on social media. It’s where customers are now trained to connect with businesses they care about.
That’s good news for you, too. Social media is a wonderful way for you to get to know your customers. You can use social media for niche research, to understand your audience more fully, to develop strategies that will be a hit with your audience, and to become known in your niche.
The more well known you become on social media, the easier it will be for you to generate traffic to your web properties. Your goal should be to become an authority to people in your niche. They should see your posts and tweets and activities on social media and know that you are someone to watch, as well as someone with a personality.
It's so important to be present and helpful on social media. That's the sort of thing that will help you get noticed. When you get noticed on social sites, you’ll get more followers. People will come to respect your opinion. They’ll naturally want to check out your website and your business—that’s the goal.
Who Are the Current Social Media Superstars?
Consider the people who are currently social media superstars in your niche. Where do they (and the audience) hang out? They might be on Facebook or Twitter. How do they conduct themselves?
They probably spend a lot of their time interacting with members of that niche. They answer questions, re-tweet or share things of interest, hit on the latest news and changes within the niche, and more. They are seen as thought leaders. People flock to them because they’ve made themselves so magnetic.
Take notes on what these superstars are doing because that can give you some great clues as to what you should do on social media. They’re likely generating a lot of traffic, and success leaves clues.
Driving Traffic Using Facebook
There are three main areas to Facebook. You have your typical profile, where you typically “friend” family and friends. There are also Facebook pages and Facebook groups. We’ll focus on pages and groups.
You can create a Facebook page that will be of interest to the people in your audience. I don't mean just creating a page for your business – I mean creating a page that represents an interest of the niche overall.
This should be something people will "like" because they actually do like it. Right now, they don’t know much, if anything, about your business (assuming you’re just getting started). What will capture their attention?
You can get ideas by looking at some of the most popular Facebook pages within your niche. Create a page people will really go for – something they’ll like even if they don't know who you are quite yet.
Once you start a Facebook page, you can comment as that page (generating interest from similar pages), run ads to that page, and otherwise interact to get more people to like your page. You can share helpful information, photos, helpful posts, and more. People will start to share your content, leading to more likes.
You can also join or start your own Facebook group. Facebook groups are a bit different in that they offer more of a community feel.
Do a search for existing groups in your niche. Get a feel for how these groups are run. Consider how they benefit their creator. How does the owner of the group use the group to drive traffic and represent himself or herself as an authority figure in the niche?
Once you understand how Facebook groups work, you can start your own. This group should be created with the intent of being helpful to people. In addition to being helpful to people, you can link to your web properties, squeeze pages, special offers, and more.
Driving Traffic with Twitter
Twitter is another very popular social site and it can be very useful to drive traffic, depending on the niche you’re in. To get a feel for this, take a look at what heavy twitter users in your niche are already doing.
Start to follow people in your niche – including those heavy hitters and those who are following those heavy hitters. Tweet and re-tweet interesting things. Make use of hashtags and popular keywords in your niche to generate more interest.
You can list your company's web address in your profile, tweet your squeeze pages, special offers, and more. Keep in mind that twitter moves much more quickly than most social media sites, so you’ll really need to study Twitter to maximize its effectiveness.
If you get a lot of followers, and write tweets that are interesting and intriguing and generate clicks, you can drive some great traffic to your web properties.
Driving Traffic with Pinterest
Pinterest is an interesting social site because its focus is on sharing (or “pinning”) pictures of things. If you have more of a visually focused business (fashion, fitness, etc.), this is definitely a social media site you’ll want to pay attention to.
You can start to pin graphics and images from your blog or website. Re-pin things other people pin. Start to follow boards on Pinterest and do a good job of organizing your own boards so other people will follow them, click on your pins, and visit your links.
It can take some time to become familiar with Pinterest. Study those who are already effectively using this site and come up with your own strategy.
As you pin images from your blog or website, they can be re-pinned by others, bringing you some great traffic. In some cases your pin might be re-pinned thousands of times.
Make use of hashtags and keywords within your descriptions on Pinterest so those who use the search bar on Pinterest come across them.
Also, make sure you put easy-to-use buttons on your blog or website so people can pin your content themselves. The idea here is that you want others to pin things from your webpage organically and re-pin things you've already pinned, in the hopes that you'll gain a wider audience of people clicking through to your website.
Getting Traffic with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is fantastic for business-to-business social media especially. Your LinkedIn profile is where people can go to learn more about your company. If you're in the Internet marketing niche, offline marketing niche, or anything like that, this is definitely where you need to be.
LinkedIn is all about networking. You can get to know people in your niche, potential partners, and more.
LinkedIn allows you to link to your other social media accounts and interlinking is a good thing for traffic generation.
There are also groups right on LinkedIn you can start or join. This is how you can become more well known, getting people interested in what you have to say so they’ll naturally want to visit your website and see what you have to offer.
Getting Traffic with Instagram
As with Pinterest, Instagram isn't for everyone. Instagram is a site where you can share images and graphics. It’s less flexible and quite different from Pinterest, though, other than the fact that both sites rely on images.
This is more of a site for those in visual fields, such as fashion. You'll gain Instagram followers by using hashtags, following others, and consistently sharing high-quality images that are attractive and interesting to your audience.
Be Where Your Audience Is
Now, you have a brief overview of what you can do to drive traffic using social media. The overall point is that you should be anywhere your audience hangs out online. Pay attention to what's popular – where are people hanging out?
Once you know the answer to that, you can develop a strategy you can follow through with every day to grow your presence on social media. As you develop a following on social media, you can then drive traffic to your web properties.
Remember to provide a lot of value. This isn’t about spamming your link all over social media. This is about helping people and developing real relationships so people will naturally want to check out what you have to offer.