Should You Focus on Social Media Engagement or Traffic?
by Jomer Gregorio on February 9, 2016
In recent years, social media has become an integral part of digital marketing and has been a crucial element to online success. This is due to its traffic-generation capabilities which is practically comparable to traffic generated from direct links or search engine results. eMarketer estimates that the number of US companies using social media for marketing will grow from 88.2% in 2015 to 89.4% by 2017.
But for many marketing professionals worldwide, the importance of social media goes beyond mere traffic generation. In another report conducted by Ascend2, it was established that increasing audience engagement has emerged as the most important social media marketing objective for these marketers.
This brings the question on whether other digital marketers should follow suit and focus more on generating audience engagement better than brand awareness, lead generation or website traffic. Others would argue that the ultimate goal for any form of digital marketing is to increase conversion and sales.
However, if you come to understand the true essence of social media, you will eventually conclude that traffic-generation success is better achieved if you focus more on the “social” element in these networks – which is engagement. The following discusses this in further detail in an attempt to showcase engagement as a crucial element to social media success.
1. Knowing Your Social ROI
Before you take further steps, it would be best to start by identifying your Social ROI and measure your social media success. Metrics may differ from one business to another and will depend on your business niche or industry
The measure of your success can be:
- Increasing brand awareness
- More website visits
- Lead generation and conversions
- Increased sales
Whatever Social ROI you choose as a measure of your success, it will still depend on how you connect with your targeted audiences through engagement
2. Correlation of Traffic and Engagement
In a report from Socialbakers, it was established that increasing interactions and engagements with targeted audiences through social media correlates to an increase in website traffic. The higher the interactions, the higher reach and traffic will be generated.
The study was conducted using Facebook as the channel. Engagement was measured through average likes and shares. The study measured how the average website visits increase or decrease in level in correlation to the amount of interactions generated from the site’s social media activities.
3. Generating Engagement and Traffic with Your Content
Higher traffic is generated by higher social interaction and engagement as established earlier. Engagement on the other hand is generated by the quality and effectiveness of your content. Capturing the interest of your targeted audiences will depend largely on the type of content you have and how they were written and produced. This is a hot topic here at Digital Marketing Philippines (owned by CJG Digital Marketing) and is expanded in greater detail through our “Top 10 Ways to Drive Engagement to Your Social Content” infographic.
4. Other Ways to Increase Engagement and Generate Social Traffic
Aside from the quality and structure of your content, there are other strategies that you can employ to increase engagement and generate social traffic. Social Media Explorer recommends the following:
- Make Use of High Conversion Keywords – depending on the social network, specific sets of keywords will generate more interaction than others. The following are examples outlined by Social Media Explorer:
- Tell Us
- Social Media
- New Blog Post
- Check Out
- Make Use of Hashtags – one of the more phenomenal elements in social networks that is deemed effective in generating engagement, traffic and conversions is the hashtag. Here are some interesting stats:
- Tweets with hashtags generate twice more engagement on Twitter
- Using 1 to 2 hashtags on Facebook posts can generate up to 593 interactions
- You can gauge the interests of your readers at Google+ through a list of related hashtags shown
- Make Use of Visual Content – Social media users are naturally attracted to visual content and thus will generate more engagement. This includes videos, GIFs, memes, posters, vines, images and other forms of visual content that:
- Generates 39% more engagement on Facebook (image-based posts)
- 28% more engagement on Google+ (videos)
- 98% more comments on LinkedIn (image-based posts)
- 200% more engagements on Twitter
- Make Your Posts Short, Concise and Precise – Social media users have short attention spans and will engage more with posts that is short and precise instead of long posts that takes them more time to read and digest. Ideal post size for social networks are:
- Less than 100 characters for Tweets (17% more engagement)
- Less than 40 characters for Facebook (80% more engagement)
- Less than 60 characters for Google+ posts headlines
5. Social Customer Care – Listening to Customers’ Expectations
Social media success depends largely on engagements – but it does not end there. You will need to nurture and care for the relationships you have built with your targeted audiences if you want the success you gained to continue. Social customer care is one area many brands and marketers fail at in their social media marketing campaigns.
A good example is from the report from Social Bakers about how many sales opportunities – and customers as well – were lost because only 61% out of the 34.9 million questions asked by consumers on Twitter and Facebook were answered by marketers.
Brands that are Socially Devoted – those that respond to at least 65% of these questions – generate 3.1 times more engagement on social networks. These brands have understood the value and worth of social customer care and are thus rewarded with more social engagement, more site visits, and direct sales.
In social media marketing, every form of engagement – likes, shares, comments, retweets, status updates, etc – provides an opportunity to connect and interact with your targeted audiences. It is through engagement where you can generate more interaction, build relationships and eventually build a following that can generate more traffic and drive greater sales.
So should you focus on social media engagement or traffic? The answer is focus on both!
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