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Social media is a vital marketing channel for brands, but you don’t want to waste time on the wrong platforms.
If you are using social media as a traffic generation tool, you need to be clear on how the platforms work, as well as how to make the most out of them.
Here is all you need to know about generating social media traffic from the top platforms.
Twitter has seen something of a hit in recent years, reporting falling user levels in the face of other social giants such as Facebook. But despite that, it’s still a formidable player in the social sphere.
For marketers, Twitter is great for sharing blog content. Bit.ly links and strong integration with automation platforms let brands quickly and easily share updates in an RSS-style feed.
It’s also particularly popular amongst digital marketing businesses, heavily employing hashtags at conferences and connecting swiftly with other brands and agencies online.
However, with such a noisy feed, it can be difficult to regularly generate lots of consistent traffic. Vying for space on a cluttered Twitter feed can be challenging at the best of times, even for big brands.
Not usually one for great referral traffic.
Pinterest is often seen as the underdog in the marketing world, especially when compared to social behemoths such as Instagram or Snapchat. And yet, there are plenty of brands, marketers, and SEOs who won’t hear a bad word said against the platform.
Pinterest might be the new kid on the block, but it’s definitely making waves in the digital marketing industry for traffic generation.
As visual content continues to be hugely important for marketers, Pinterest provides the perfect playground for brands to connect with consumers.
Creating Pins is a great way to drive engaged traffic to your site, particularly in the blogging community. And because it’s part visual search engine, part social network, it’s the perfect blend of both worlds that marketers can calculatedly leverage to drive traffic.
As I mentioned earlier, visual content is, and will continue to be, a significant focus for digital marketers. And what better visual platform than the world’s favourite video sharing site, YouTube?
With more than one billion users watching a billion hours’ worth of video each day, it’s ripe for driving traffic to your brand’s website.
But at the same time, it’s quite insular too. Videos automatically play as default, and dozens of suggested videos are displayed with each clip to keep viewers hooked.
As a result, this means brands have to work harder to drive traffic to their sites.
That said, YouTube is a great platform for cross-promoting across multiple channels, ideal for brand subsidiaries (think Vice’s Noisey and Munchies sites) or partnerships with other brands. And because video is easily embedded, it’s easy to share across your web and email marketing.
But YouTube is really best for brands who embrace heavy vlogging in their content strategy.
If you really want to succeed on the platform, you should invest in a creative vlogging campaign that regularly post engaging, interesting videos.
With 1.47 billion daily active users in the second quarter of this year, Facebook is easily the most popular social platform around.
However, it has seen considerable changes in recent years, with organic traffic apparently on its way out.
For smaller businesses on a budget, this is a big negative.
It seems that to really get yourself seen on Facebook, you need to invest in paid ads.
With a variety of ads available (canvas, video, dynamic) with the option to place virtually anywhere in a user’s feed, they’re a highly effective means for brands to promote themselves on social.
And with the Facebook Pixel also on offer, Facebook provides a solid variety of good marketing tools — if you can afford it. It’s a solid traffic driver — but you have to pay to play.
In the same vein as Pinterest (and seen by many as its main competitor), Instagram continues to rank highly as a popular social platform, aided in no small part by its Facebook affiliation.
Traditionally, Instagram wasn’t great for driving organic traffic to websites.
Brands had to rely on 'link in bio' posts to encourage shoppers to visit their store. But recent developments mean that consumers can now make purchases in-app, visiting online stores without ever leaving Instagram — a move proving hugely successful with shoppers.
Combine that with their recent roll-out of IGTV, and Instagram shows that it’s a social platform that’s looking ahead to the future.
It’s visual, it’s intuitive, and it’s diverse — Instagram will continue to be a VIP for brands well into the future.
There was a time when Snapchat reigned supreme. The allure of instant photos and videos that self-deleted proved irresistible to audiences.
It was a unique concept that was immensely popular, and one that Instagram copied — and did better.
Unfortunately, Snapchat didn’t roll with the times and its marketing options are meagre. While brands still have a presence on the app, users aren’t able to see their content unless they add them first.
And the only way to grow your presence on the network is to, rather contrastingly, promote it on other social platforms.
While Snapchat continues to roll out new updates for both brands and general users, Snapchat might well have had its time in the sun.
Choosing the Platforms Best for You
So what should you look out for when you’re choosing social platforms for your brand? Firstly, you need to ask yourself:
Does it Fit Your Niche?
Certain methods of generating traffic through social media have become virtually synonymous with certain niches, industries, and technologies.
For example, Shopify businesses often rely heavily on Facebook-ad traffic, whereas bloggers will use viral Pinterest pins that provide them with referral traffic for years.
Think about whether the social platform in question is aligned with your business and brand goals.
Walk away from anything that doesn’t fit.
As mentioned before, brands on a budget might struggle to find organic reach on Facebook, while Pinterest and Instagram can be good substitutes.
Carefully consider your budget to determine which platform you should really invest in.
Is this social channel a channel that you can really build an audience on? As you can see, there are limitations to some of the big social channels as pure traffic generators.
As a result, you’ll need awesome community management and content to back up your strategy.
Driving traffic to your site requires a multi-pronged approach, with SEO, email, and social all playing a vital role. But when it comes to the latter, it pays to be discerning. Be clear on what you want to get out of social. Need traffic? You need to post frequently, at optimal posting times, and use hashtags, check-ins and all the available discovery tools.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. For all the latest on developments in ecommerce, marketing, and design, check out her blog, Victoria Ecommerce. Victoria has a drive for helping store owners get the best return on their ecommerce businesses.