If you are selling products or services or only publishing content for ad revenue, social media marketing is a potent method that will make your website profitable over time.
There is simply no other low-cost promotional method that will easily drive large numbers of visitors to your website—some of whom may come back to your web pages again and again.
Social media marketing is the process of promoting your site or business through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and many other sites. It is a powerful strategy that will get you links, attention and massive amounts of traffic.
Those who ignore the efficacy of social media marketing usually fall into any of the following three categories:
Why bother exploring social media as a marketing channel for your website or business? After all, you could stick to link exchanges, search advertising or the purchase of banner and editorial ads on relevant sites.
Here are some reasons why you should consider using social media and all of its viral advantages:
It’s natural. Not only do you get natural links with no discernible pattern, your website is exposed to large groups of people in a spontaneous fashion. This differs from paid advertising, which has overt commercial overtones.
It’s defensible. Once successfully mastered, social communities can be a great source of web traffic on top of any traffic you are already receiving from search engines. While you can’t easily increase your search engine traffic, social media traffic can be very easily controlled through strategic marketing.
Its low-cost/high returns. If done by yourself, costs are limited to only time and perhaps the expenses involved in hiring a freelance programmer or designer. The benefits will often exceed the cost. It would take you thousands of dollars to buy many links; social media has the ability to give you that for free.
It complements other efforts. Social media optimization and marketing is usually community-specific. It doesn’t interfere with any other methods of getting traffic to your website. It can and will fit perfectly with an advertising campaign targeting other websites or search engines.
For those who don’t understand or see the value of social media websites, the benefits of creating viral content and effectively promoting your business’s messages through social media channels are powerful:
Primary and Secondary Traffic. Primary traffic is the large amount of visitors who come directly from social media websites. Secondary traffic is referral traffic from websites which link to and send you visitors, after they come across your content through the social sites.
1. Links = Better Search Engine Rankings
When a website receives a high number of natural, permanent links from trusted domains, it develops authority. Search engines trust it. If you optimize your linkbait and website structure properly, you can easily start ranking for competitive keywords, which will in turn bring in search engine visitors.
Do this often enough and your search traffic will increase. In a sense, you are obtaining these quality links through borrowed trust. Many bloggers and webmasters still think that if an article is on the Digg or del.icio.us homepage, then it’s probably worth checking out and referencing through a citation link.
A new website may find it difficult to gain links from a critical mass that is unfamiliar with it, but a trusted social news resource makes it easier for links to come in because the community and buzz has somewhat “certified” the value of the site. Note that the actual strength of the article is still of utmost importance for all.
2. Primary + Secondary Traffic = Community/Supporters
Some people claim that social news websites only send useless traffic—visitors who will often simply view a specific webpage and click away. Yes, that’s often the case. Sites like Digg are notorious for their poor bounce rates; many visitors drop in for the article and then leave after reading it. StumbleUpon is much better in this aspect.
But don’t mistake this for a lack of interest. Your subscriber figures will often take a big jump up and then stabilize after a few days. If your entire site is relevant to the general interests of the social media website, there will always be a handful of social users who will start to track your site in order to submit future content.
Detractors also ignore the power of ultra-targeted secondary traffic. General sites or blogs in the same niche will link to a story that’s popular on social sites, because it adds value for their readers or users. This is done naturally on a daily basis for many.
While primary traffic usually comes in larger volumes, secondary traffic is in fact more valuable. Why? Because links from other websites bring visitors who are very likely to be interested in your content. These citation links demonstrate recognition of your site in the eyes of others—and that builds your brand.
Think of the social news site as a platform or a soapbox. As something that gives you a chance to be heard or read, even for a brief moment of a few hours. The people who are drawn to your message will visit your site and recommend it to others.
Because social media websites can be leveraged for links and better search rankings, they can greatly increase your site’s income potential. For example, you can price ads higher, or be in a position to generate revenue from many paid business models.
In and of itself, however, social media doesn’t drive revenues straight to your bottom line—at least, not directly. Every site or business that wants to expand and become profitable needs a core group of supporters who will be willing to make purchases or recommend the site to others. In other words: Your site needs to perpetuate itself.
The more supporters you have, the faster word spreads about your site. Social media marketing is an excellent way to get people to come into your site to take a look at what you have to offer. Then, your business will grow when you’ve cultivated a group of loyal visitors ready to always act upon what you have to offer.