If you own, or are working on starting a website that you want other people to see, you will definitely need to harness the power of social media. In many ways, proper use of social media today is just as important as search engines like Google, and for some sites, it can drive just as much traffic.
While most website owners know that social media is an essential tool, most of them don’t really understand how to put it to good use. In fact, most webmasters make the same common mistakes over and over again, which can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of their social media marketing. Look over the following five mistakes, and make sure you’re not making them for your site.
1 – Mixing Business (site) & Personal Accounts
In most cases, your website should have its own page that is not associated with your personal page. While you can typically manage a business or website page from your personal login, that should be the extent of the association. You don’t want to have everything mixed together or it will only cause confusion and annoyance for everyone involved.
When you have your personal account commenting and updating the website page, your friends and family will see every update. This will quickly get them annoyed with you, and they will end up hiding all your posts. In addition, if you’re not posting from an official name that is dedicated to the website, the followers of your page may get confused.
This is an easy mistake to avoid, so make sure you take the time to always post from a dedicated website social media account whenever possible. It will take a little extra time up front, but it is well worth it in the long run.
2 – Not using Paid Advertising
Even if you have thousands of people who ‘like’ or ‘+1’ or follow your social media account, each post you make will only be seen by about 10% of the total number of people associated with the account. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but the bottom line is that 10% is not that many.
In order to drive that number up to 100%, and even beyond, you need to use paid advertising. Yes, this will cost you money, but it is really quite affordable. Of course, if you are not making any money with your website, this might not be the best idea.
If you are, however, it is absolutely essential, and here is why:
- Targeted – You can choose exactly who sees the ‘sponsored’ post
- Effective – Social media paid advertising has been a proven way to drive traffic and build followers
- Easy – You can set up advertising on a post in just a minute or two
- Customizable – You can choose exactly how long the ad should run, how much you want to spend, and even what hours of the day you want it running
Most people won’t want to use paid advertising to promote every one of their posts. Instead, only use this tool when you’re posting something especially interesting. This will help you gain additional followers, so that 10% who see the rest of your posts will be an even bigger number of people.
3 – #Hashtags
Love them or hate them, hashtags are here to stay. As someone who is looking to drive traffic to your website, you are almost certainly using hashtags incorrectly. Almost everyone either uses them WAY too much, or WAY too little.
The bottom line with hashtags is not that you should put a # before each key word in your post, but that you should try to jump on trends to gain additional viewers.
For example, if you wrote a post about how to buy athletic shorts, you may have wanted to use the hashtag #worldcup2014 in your post (while the world cup was running). This would get your post in a lot of lists associated with the world cup. Of course, the people who read these lists will be interested in athletic shorts, so it is a good fit.
Before writing any posts on your social media accounts, you should go look at the top 100-200 trending hashtags at the moment, and try to use as many of them as you can. Of course, you want them to fit in with what you’re posting too, or you’re just wasting time.
4 – One way Conversation
While blogs and websites are typically a great way for you to get your information published and seen by a lot of people, social media is supposed to be a two way conversation. While you may initiate most of the conversations with your posts, you need to be watching what other people are saying about them. When someone comments on your post, try to respond to them right away.
Even just going through and liking their posts, or thanking them for their comments will help to show them that you’re actually a real person. This will help you to build a relationship with your followers. In addition, the more interactions you can get on your page, the more your posts will show up in the dashboards and news feeds of your followers. The bottom line here is, you should always be communicating back and forth with your social media followers.
5 – Too Focused or Too Distracted
There are dozens of different social media sites out there today. Most website owners either make the mistake of using only one (typically Facebook) or else spreading themselves too thin and trying to engage with people on every single social media platform they can find.
You really need to strike a good balance that works for your schedule and site. Virtually every website should have an account on the following platforms:
- Facebook – This is the largest social network in the world, it is essentially a requirement for all websites.
- Twitter – Same here, you really must have a Twitter account.
- Google + – Like it or hate it, Google + is here to stay. In addition, it will almost certainly have an impact on your sites SEO than any other social network.
Depending on the type of website you’re running, you may want to consider adding accounts on these popular social networks:
- Pinterest – This site is invaluable if you are running any type of site that could benefit from sharing images. It is extremely popular and can drive thousands of users to your site.
- Tumblr – Another huge site. Many people will simply auto-post their content to Tumblr for easy traffic and back links.
- Instagram – Again, this is a great image sharing platform, and if done properly, you can drive a lot of traffic.
- LinkedIn – For any business/professional websites, this is an excellent option.
Choosing which of these sites you want to participate on can be difficult, but if you attempt to do them all, you’ll end up doing them all poorly, which won’t help you in the long run. Figure out how much time you can spend on social media, and then only join as many sites as you’ll be able to keep up with.
Avoiding the Mistakes
If you work hard at avoiding each of the above listed mistakes, you will turn your social media efforts from a waste of time into an incredible source of traffic for your website. While it isn’t always going to be easy, it is well worth the effort.