One of my favorite parts about generating traffic and managing an online community is using social media. Some will say that building traffic with social media isn’t all that great or you can not get a large increase in traffic because of social media. I have to disagree with this thought. With social networks such as Twitter with its 200 million users and Facebook with its 600 million active users, a website owner/business would be crazy not to tap into that.
When I first started out building and designing sites, I had no clue what SEO and social media marketing was and thought I didn’t need it. I thought all I needed was good content and a great design. After I started working at my first design firm, I was asked to learn SEO and social media marketing. After a basic crash course in SEO, I started researching and teaching myself SEO. I found the research alone took up a good part of my scheduled day. So adding social media marketing was really out of my reach and besides I am not trained marketing.
At some point, I realized that I was going to need to learn social media marketing, but I wasn’t sure where to start. So when I first started out with social media traffic generation, I had no idea how social media would work for me. After some research, I came up with a game plan and jumped right in.
After a few months of working on my first traffic generating case study, I found that creating good content and SEO wasn’t enough. SEO is great for steady traffic, but its not good enough if you want comments on your blog and people purchasing your products and services. Through research and testing I found social media seem to do better at converting readers into clients and customers.
My History With Social Media
Before I got into social media as another avenue to generate traffic, I had only used Facebook and LinkedIn for personal use. After some time I added Twitter and Facebook as my main tools for traffic. At first I could see why people say social media doesn’t bring traffic to a site. After a few months of research I started getting traffic from Twitter and after reading Twitter Dummy, I learned that you have to have engage with your followers. So I took that advice and used on several other social networks. Within a few months, I saw a dramatic increase in traffic from these social sites.
Now I use a variety of social media sources to get traffic. I use social media bookmark sites and micro blogging sites along with other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to get traffic from. But my favorites social media networks are Facebook and Twitter.
Using Facebook To Generate Traffic
Since there is so much talk about Twitter how to get traffic from that site, I decided I would talk about my second favorite place to get traffic from and that is Facebook and Facebook fan pages.
Facebook – Personal
As I mentioned before, I mostly used Facebook for personal use and did not mix it with business. After some research and getting to know how Facebook settings and privacy worked, I started using Facebook as a way to generate traffic.
First thing I did was let the world know I use Facebook. I sent out messages on different social media sites, I added my Facebook profile links to whatever profile allowed me to add it, and finally I add links to my Facebook profile to my sites. At one time, I use to have a message letting my readers know they could connect with me on Facebook.
Once I started getting more bloggers added to my list, I created filters (groups for friends) so I could seperate family/personal/work friends from my blogging and networked friends. I found very quickly that your friends and family may not be interested in your niche blogging promotions as your network friends are. So I setup the filters to only let certain status’s be seen by certain people.
After getting all this setup, I started engaging with my followers. I responded to status updates with useful and helpful comments, add likes to any link that I Liked, and I shared content from my sites and some of my favorite articles I read through out the day.
Once I started engaging with my followers, I started getting traffic to my sites. I do not engage as much as I use to and I can see the difference. I still get the traffic, but I do not get that many comments and likes as I would like. So its important to keep up with your Facebook friends. Some of them like communicating with others. Just dropping links to your sites and others is not being social. Eventually you will loose your blogging friends and your traffic.
The one draw back to Facebook personal, at least for me, is that my privacy is set so only friends can see my information and wall. I do this to keep unwanted eyes from seeing what I am sharing. But at the same time, it keeps others from finding and seeing my content that I am sharing.
Another potential place to generate traffic is from Facebook groups. Facebook groups are still pretty new and a lot of people do not like them. I think its mostly because setting up this new feature where anyone can add any of their friends to a group even if a user doesn’t want to join that group, could be a new to spam people. Also, I found it very annoying getting hundreds of update emails from these groups. But once I figured out how to remove myself from these groups and filter out these emails, I started liking these groups.
Although I am still testing this traffic building method, I see a fair amount of traffic and some of it is from the groups. My recommendation is to look for small groups such as cool bloggers, that was Setup by John Sullivan, and was setup for bloggers to share their content and to hang out. If cool bloggers isn’t your thing, look for groups that match your niche or groups that might be interested in your content and join those groups.
If none exists, then create a group for your niche. Do not invite everyone to your group without asking them. Send them a private message and explain to them what the group is and ask them if they want to join. Second, when sharing content in your groups, only share your best content, keep the asking to a minimum, never double post an article, and always reply and send out tweets, diggs, and stumbles whenever possible. When not helping out with others, try and engage with the group, and spend some time on there.
If you want to join cool bloggers, join my network on Facebook and just ask, I will invite you.
Facebook Fan Pages
When working with Facebook to build to traffic, do not overlook Facebook fan pages. When I first started out, I did. Because of that it has taken a little bit of time to build up fan page fans and I am still working on getting more. But with the 130+ facebook user fans current as of March 30th, 2011, I am getting a good amount a traffic from this site.
Since my data is a bit limited, I am working on projection and a gut feel that the fan page is going to be great way to build traffic. From everything I have read and major corporations creating and being active with facebook fan pages, I can see the chance to get traffic from the fan page.
I learned from research and testing with my fan page to back up those findings, you can easily get traffic from the site. You need fans that are interested in your company, website, or services and good content to get users interested in your fan page and website. If you do not have the fans or content, your fan page will stay a ghost town.
The first thing I did was update my fan page information. I made sure to add keywords and topics and services offered on the website. If you haven’t already created a fan page, think carefully about what you name it. I have seen some sites that have the company name and then they add keywords after the name.
Looks like: Your Fan Page | social media | SEO | Blogging | Design | Services and Resources. But I haven’t found any evidence that this helps. Just make sure to fill out all of the basic information fields and make sure to add your keywords so the search engines and Facebook search can find your site.
Next, I started adding content to my fan page. Originally I just feed in my own blog articles, and I got a small amount of traffic but not worth the mention. So I decided that maybe if I started adding articles that would be interesting and useful to my fans, this might get more traffic back to my site. I started small and got a small increase.
After realizing that I adding useful content from other blogs to my site was helping me get more fans and more traffic to my site, started looking for ways to add more content. I realized real fast, that I could not physically add all the great content to the site to the fan page without help. So I found a service called Dlvr.it to feed content into my Facebook wall. Dlvr.it uses a website’s RSS post links to the Facebook, Facebook fan page, Twitter and several other social networks as well.
Once I found Dlvr.it, I configured ten of my most trusted and favorite sites that has a great track record of producing killer and useful articles feed into my Facebook page. I ended up sharing articles in design, SEO, social media, and blogging since my niche is new media and I have a mixture fans that like only a few of the topics I feed to my blog. Having a variety of useful articles to read will attract more fans, just keep those articles related to niche or would be helpful resources for those in your niche.
After selecting my favorite blogs, I configured Dlvr.it to share links from each site only once a day and grab the latest article. I then set Dlvr.t to check the site once a day and some to check every 12 hours and post the newest link if available. On several of the more important sites, I configured them to post links at the high traffic times for the fan page.
Now all you have to do is monitor your fan page for activity and respond to any comments, shares, and likes.
The last thing I did was create a welcome page for the site. This is actually pretty easy to do, but if you do not have the design skills to create your own welcome page, you can always look for a Facebook fan page welcome page theme. Then add the code to your fan page. For me, I could of use Dreamweaver to create the cod to posted it Facebook.
But, Francisco Rosales of SocialMouths created a great tutorial on how to create a basic welcome landing page for Facebook even if you are not a designer.
Basically all you have to do is come up with the welcome page image and head over to image-maps and create an image map. Once you have the code for the image map copy the code over to your Facebook page.
Note: When creating your welcome page, make sure to add call to action buttons and links to your website other important social media profiles. Please refer to the article for the complete tutorial.
After completing your welcome page, you may want to create resource list to niche related freebies and premium resources. Although I haven’t implemented this feature yet, I have seen several sites offering resources only to those that “like the fan the page”. I think this would be a great way to get new facebook users to like your site and become a return visitor that also visits your site.
Facebook is always adding new features to personal profiles and fan pages. So always check Facebook and your favorite social media sites for the latest news and features for Facebook.
There are so many social media networks out there and I use quite a few sites. I use a lot of different social media network types, everything from social bookmarking sites to reblogging sites such as Posterous and Tumblr to share content and build traffic. But out of all the social media sites I use, Twitter and Facebook are the best.
What social media sites are you using and what are the best sites for you and niche?
This article is part of the Traffic Generation Blogging Contest, please add a comment and tweet it to support the author.