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Social media has an omnipotent presence – you see it everywhere. However, the question still remains as to whether it contributes to traffic to your website or not. Why should you spend time, money and effort to manage a network of social channels if it doesn’t contribute towards your goal of attracting visitors to your site? Is social media just a fad and another medium to have fun and not to be taken seriously? The answer is not simple. Social media engagement can be fruitful or otherwise depending on how you go about it. Let’s examine the why and how to use social media effectively.
What constitutes Social media?
Essentially whichever platform provides a suitable basis for human communication and interaction is social media. In this sense, your daily newspaper isn’t a part of this, simply because it’s a one way medium. Similarly a website would be excluded from social media. However, a blog falls right under the category because it is an interactive medium – blog posts attract comments which can yet again be commented upon. Most of us have not looked at a blog in that sense, possibly because it’s not as rich and vibrant like other social media like Facebook. Can a blog be used to drive traffic to your website? Yes, of course. Website owners have launched their venture and promoted them using blogs as their primary social media tool.
It’s party time as far as social media is concerned. Hundreds of these platforms are born and many die in this internet universe every day. Some of them have become legends. Some legends in making have fallen out of grace. Google backed social media Orkut died silently and no one wept. People have moved on to Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has grown in popularity and has reached an iconic status. Many of us mistakenly assume that the face of social media is constrained to Facebook alone. In fact, there are many facets to social media. YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit and LinkedIn are all social media focused at different groups and interests.
All these social media sites have one thing in common. They are used exclusively to exchange information – sometimes it may take the form of gossip, a means to express romantic feelings or just to keep in touch. Originally, sites like Facebook were launched for the common folk. Slowly, it evolved as a platform to sell products and services. Obviously, as a progression, website owners started using such sites to harvest traffic. However, there is a method or a process if you wish to extract maximum benefit from social media.
Where to use what?
There is an abundance of social sites. In a sense, each one is a specialized market, dealing with specific products. Facebook is a wonderful platform to sell personal products. Fashion, accessories, beauty products and such items sell well here because the audience is of that nature. Studies have revealed that women use Facebook much more than men. You would usually avoid Facebook if you were selling an industrial product like a CAD machine. You have to use your discretion in choosing the right media platform. Free advertising has made us spoilt for choice. We want to use all social channels and in the process we tend to lose focus. You must understand the power and potency of each social media platform and create specific strategy to extract the best from each of them.
Twitter is another popular social media. You can communicate with millions within a matter of seconds. There have been instances where a tweet has dramatically increased traffic to sites leading to server crashes. Twitter cannot be used for a long lasting impact. Its message is instantaneous and loses steam equally fast.
YouTube has millions of registered users and a single video can make a trillion hearts weep. Pinterest is exclusively for sharing images. Pinterest can be used to increase traffic to your website. Many website owners swear on social platforms like Reddit. Messages and ideas can travel at fantastic speed over these channels. LinkedIn is a specialized social media platform for the exclusive use of professionals.
Google plus has turned email messaging into a social media platform. SEO experts now feel that Google Plus will play a major role in SERPs. The concept of transforming day to day communication between two or more people into a social event is novel and original. You should keep an eye open and explore Google Plus in the coming days.
How to use social media?
The ‘how’ to use social media is critical to your success on this mighty platform. Generally, we see a casual approach to social media engagements. There are hundreds of half-hearted efforts lying forlorn and forgotten on this social highway. The mistake is in assuming that once you have posted something or anything on Facebook, it’s somebody else’s job to promote you. Dull and unimaginative presence will get you nowhere. You might as well save your energy.
Social media requires a dynamic, exciting and thrilling engagement. You have to come up with original ideas which storm the social bastion. You must innovate and create impactful messages. In addition, your post/message must address a specific audience, crafted and tailor-made for each social media platform. Twitter requires a message which captures the essence of the moment. Big businesses have used Twitter as a platform to engage massive number of followers using the football World cup. The famous incident of a player biting off an ear was used by McDonald’s with a tweet – have a bite. What beautiful timing and great humor. This is quintessential social media engagement. You can imagine what this could have done to your traffic?
Another aspect of using social media is offering deals and discounts. Our customers are a pampered lot. Instead of fighting this primordial emotion, you must offer time bound discounts. You must have a sale every now and then – Christmas sale, Father’s day sale, Mother’s day sale, New Year’s sale, Valentine’s sale. This is an easy way to engage your audience and motivating them to visit your website.