How to Increase Site Traffic and Improve Conversion Rates Through Social Networking – Three Tickets to Success in the Social Media Circus
Like any savvy businessperson, I jumped into the social media circus to build a following and generate leads for my consulting business. I created a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and I posted and tweeted like crazy. At one point, I was tweeting 18 times a day.
What I learned was that posting 18 times a day is a great way to get people to unfollow you.
While my research has clearly shown that there is a direct correlation between social media activity and improved conversion rates, it’s not like powdered sugar on funnel cake: more isn’t necessarily better. However, the research I published in the now-defunct The Journal of E-Business showed that, by following a few simple suggestions, an effective social media strategy can increase your site traffic by 23 percent and improve your conversion rate by 780 percent. No, that’s not a typo.
When it comes to navigating the ups and downs of the social media circus, there are three tickets to a winning experience: the right place, the right time, and the right stuff. Let’s take a look at each one.
The Right Place
Facebook ought to be the cornerstone of any business owner’s social media strategy. It’s the largest network, and it gives you the greatest flexibility to share the widest range of content. One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming Facebook is for college kids. The fastest-growing segment on Facebook is 35 and over.
If you run a B2B company — selling professional services or products to other businesses — LinkedIn definitely has its benefits. You can create a history of your projects to showcase your industry influence or participate in LinkedIn groups to demonstrate your expertise.
If your business has a time factor involved in the sales process — such as a restaurant or car dealership, where limited-time specials and quick turnarounds are common — then Twitter is an essential tool. By posting updates on daily specials or location-specific offers, you can engage a loyal following.
Twitter is also essential if you’re dealing in the distribution of content, as it helps you build links to your blogs, offer downloads, and create conversation with other industry insiders.
Within two years’ time, Google+ will be a strong contender for Facebook’s social media crown. In the meantime, enjoy the experimentation phase, and use it to distribute content from blogs, host hangouts, and take advantage of the priority Google gives to its social users when ranking pages. The latest data shows that about 7.5 percent of your ability to rank well on a content page comes from the social strength of that page.
You don’t necessarily have to use all four networks. Social media is rapidly changing, so invest in the channel that suits your needs today.
The Right Time
Learn from my mistakes: Don’t post so often that you hog people’s social media feeds and drive them away. Post two times a day: once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
But you have to remain consistent. One car dealership in my area started tweeting in May 2012. By 2013, they had a total of three posts, and one wasn’t even about cars — it was about Hollywood. Set up an automatic posting service via HootSuite or Buffer if you don’t have someone on staff with the time to post daily.
The Right Stuff
Whether you’re posting on Facebook and Twitter or publishing a snippet from your latest blog on LinkedIn, the idea is to create conversation around a topic related to your product or service. Leave the Hollywood gossip, political commentary, and cat videos to the pros.
You should be publishing six professional or life-related posts for every one product or service-related post. My research has shown that this 6-to-1 ratio will help you not only retain followers, but also build credibility and trust among your burgeoning community.
Business posts should consist of topics that increase your credibility, such as a photo from your latest speaking engagement or conference, a link to a published paper or interview, or information about a recent award you won or a community event you attended. Include a link in each post, such as your blog post about the conference or a news article about your award that you’ve embedded on your website to increase site traffic.
Life-related posts include vacation pictures, office parties, and holiday celebrations. I highly recommend that small business owners create not only a Facebook business page, but also use their personal profiles for business purposes. You represent your business — you’re the face of the company and synonymous with the brand.
Letting your followers see your child’s birthday cake or your vacation pictures makes you a tangible person we can like and trust. If you build relationships, you will build your business. You can’t do that if you don’t let people get to know you.
By using these three tickets to social media strategy effectively, your site traffic will increase by 23 percent. Not only that, but in contrast to the typical industry conversion rate, which is 2 to 4 percent, you’ll see a conversion rate of 22 percent, which is a 780 percent increase. That means 22 percent will become buyers. And if you’re executing your social media strategy as I’ve outlined above, those buyers will turn into loyal customers who spread the word about you and your company.
So choose your networks wisely, post twice a day consistently, and follow the 6-to-1 ratio for publishing content. If you use these three tickets, you’ll be a main attraction of the social media circus and avoid getting caught up in the sideshows.
Image Credit: Rob Watling