Social media gives powerful meaning to the phrase “you tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on…” Links in blog comments, re-tweets, social media votes and bookmarks… these are the vehicles that drive content down the social media highway.
The other night I tweeted that I had received my order from waxworksencaustics.com. I’m not only a customer, I’m their web designer. I checked the Who’s Online back-end administration of the site and watched as the numbers jumped from just me to 18 people online in just a few seconds. It helps that I have a number of encaustic artists following me on twitter, but the point is that if you get on twitter and get a following that share your interests you and your followers will drive relevant traffic to your Web site. You can monitor your twitter link traffic by using http://bit.ly/ a url shortener service that also tracks the number of clicks your link receives and it is the default service used by Twitter. You can also drive traffic to your website from your Facebook Fan page – your loyal fans will respond to your wall messages and visit your blog, online store or Web site.
Commenting on blogs is another great way to drive traffic to your site but the desire for traffic should be a secondary motivation. Make comments because you have something to say and you are meaningfully participating in the community aspect of a blog. Some blogs have great comment communities, almost like mini forums. If you read blog posts of related content and add meaningful comments you’ll encourage other bloggers to check out your blog. If they are active social media users and they like what they find they will retweet, bookmark and comment on your post sending it speeding through the social media highway.
This doesn’t mean that you have to do it all. If your target audience is on facebook then you will want a facebook fan page. Perhaps Linked In is a better business networking tool for you? If you are an author or book publisher then goodreads is one tool you need to use. Familiarize yourself with a variety of social media tools, test drive them and see what works for you. Check your Google Analytics and see where the traffic is coming from. If you are putting efforts into an area and not seeing the results maybe you need to switch to a different social media network or maybe you aren’t really engaging with the community. Social media is “social” so you have to build relationships.
There are some great time saving ways to link your social media tools, such as having your twitter feed post directly to your facebook fan page and to your blog, but you will still need to budget some time to write blog posts, read and comment on other blogs, tweet, retweet, add meaningful content to your facebook fan page, etc. You can invest in an expensive ad campaign to drive traffic to your site or you can invest time in being an active, authentic participant in social media.