Before I spill the secrets on “5 Proven Social Media Tips to Drive Traffic,” let’s all take a deep breath and hit the pause button. Why hit the pause button? After all, you are probably more than ready to fix a major source of frustration — how to use social media effectively for your business.
At Xylina, we constantly get questions about how to make social media work for business, from building awareness to how to generate sales and revenue from social media platforms. For many of our clients, doing social media activities is a major headache. Before I start sharing proven social media tips for building traffic, step back and ask yourself, “Why do I need or want to use social media for my business?” It’s perfectly ok to be honest and say, “I’m not sure.”
If that is the case, go read the previous social media blog post “5 Core Social Media Principles,” especially principle number 4. If you have clear and specific answers to the questions included in each principle, you are ready to rock and roll. Now on to how to rev up your traffic with these useful social media tips and tricks!
Social Media Tip #1 – Start by increasing your own social media visibility.
Spend 10 to 15 minutes a day responding and commenting on other people’s or social media platforms without spamming or promoting your own business. Make sure that you provide thoughtful, useful comments. Assuming you are leaving valuable comments and nothing spammy, you’ll notice that you’ll start to get referral traffic showing up in your own Google Analytics reports. Considering that some of the most popular blogs receive thousands or even millions of visitors a month, it’s not hard to drive a fraction of these visitors to your site. The key is to be one of the first commenters to the post so that your comments are both visible and valuable.
The value of this activity is that you are staying current on what is going on in your industry niche, you know what your competitors and influencers are doing, what is working for them (or not working!) as well as building your own name recognition/visibility as a thoughtful and informed participant. This is how I found my amazing real estate agent when I moved to the Portland OR area – she provided specific, very helpful answers to peoples’ questions on several top real estate sites, including Trulia and Zillow. Unlike her competitors, she had no pushy sales talk or unrealistic promises – just lots of helpful ideas and resources for finding the perfect place. She won me over by proving she was a trustworthy expert.
Here are the necessary steps to doing this tip:
- Put together a short list of top social media influencers in your business niche and community. I like to use AirTable or some similar easy-to-use database to keep track of people, organizations and communities.
- Prioritize this list so that you are paying attention to the most relevant people to your business, not just your friends or networking buddies. You want the whales, the ones with real clout and connections.
- Follow them and set up an alert or feed, so you get their latest posts and comments in real time.
- Take a minute to craft a thoughtful comment or response, and make sure that you include your name, business name and your website or social media platform URL.
- If people respond to your comments, respond in a timely manner.
Social Media Tip #2 – Become a rising social media star.
Follow these steps to increase your online visibility through community groups.
- First build out the influencer list that you created in tip #1. Look for the top niche groups on your core social media platforms (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter) related to the product or service you are selling. You want to join these groups as long as they have over 100 members – 1,000+ is ideal. Join a handful of these groups (2 to 5 is a good starting number to keep this manageable).
- Next, follow the same steps as tip #1 by reading posts from other group members. Identify who are the most active and regular posters who provide thoughtful, useful information and responses to the group. These are your group “ringleaders.” “Like” and “follow” these people.
- Once you get a feel for the group personality and interests, start responding to other posts and create your own posts 4 to 5 times in each group during your first month. Ask thoughtful questions that require more than a “yes or no” answer. No spamming or self-serving promotions!
Be helpful and you will get retweets or shares. Help someone online – post useful tips on Twitter. If you don’t use or like Twitter, substitute another social media platform like FaceBook or Instagram. Respond to other people’s tweets or posts with helpful advice or information. Retweet or share the stuff you like – share the best information out there. Speed it up by responding to tweets or comments about competitors – be helpful, no pitching your company, products or services. Being helpful helps you build community goodwill and it will nudge people into checking you out.
When you consistently post comments and responses that are engaging, people will start following you as a subject matter expert. Done correctly and consistently, this will help generate visitor traffic to your own site and social media platforms.
Social Media Tip #3 – Use free SEO tools to hack your keywords.
Do you know what keywords or phrases your target audience uses to search online? Do you have a current list of your top SEO keywords or keyword phrases? Businesses who have this nailed down can generate better quality search traffic at a much higher rate and build sales pipelines and revenue from these keywords. By finding your keyword “sweet spot” you’ll have keywords that aren’t outrageously competitive but also yield decent traffic results. Keep testing until you get the right words and phrases that boost your organic SEO rankings.
Here are the steps to using free tools to generate your keyword or keyword phrases.
1. Choose a tool and type in your keyword or competitor URL. Some of my favorites are:
2. The tool will then suggest keywords and even show you the cost per click. What you are looking for is the “sweet spot” blend of competitive density, keyword difficulty and search volume. Tools like SEMrush even allow you to spy on your competitor’s sites!!
3. Create a short list of potential keywords using the tool’s suggester features – aim for 25 to 50 keywords or keyword phrases as a good starting point. Many top-ranking sites have comprehensive keyword lists of several hundred words or phrases that they use consistently. Many of these tools will allow you to export your list as a csv file you can use to create an Excel or Google docs keyword tracker spreadsheet.
4. Next rank the keywords on your list by these two factors:
- Search volume – You want a decent number of monthly searches for the keyword. If there aren’t any searches, it won’t be worth your effort. 40 to 50 monthly searches or more is a good minimum number to start with.
- SEO Keyword difficulty – This is ranked from zero to 100, with 100 being the most competitive keyword to rank for organically. According to several of the tools, you stand a decent chance of ranking organically if this score is less than 70 to 75.
By going after keywords that aren’t as horribly competitive and have a reasonable amount of search volume each month, you’ll find that you can generate search traffic at a much faster pace. If they have a decent search volume, these keywords should generate a steady amount of traffic that you can convert to leads and eventually sales revenue with the right targeted offers. In the end, it’s all about the numbers.
5. Once you have a tight list of keywords, use them consistently in your social media and website content. Create hashtags and content with your top keywords or phrases, and variations on these. Use this core list to generate variations, as shown by Neil Patel's keyword ideas tool results below.
6. On your website, use free SEO tools such as Yoast to build SEO titles, meta descriptions and content that targets your keywords and phrases. You will be able to expand your keyword list by identifying and using similar keywords or phrases – the trick is to learn how to think like your audience. What words would they use to find what they are looking for?
7. Finally, use your website or social media platform analytics tools to track how well your keywords are performing compared to your competitors. Swap out keywords that aren’t performing as well as you expected.
Social Media Tip #4 – Build your domain authority by posting relevant content and adding highly ranked backlinks.
First of all, what is “domain authority”?
Search engine algorithms such as Google are rather complicated beasts and always changing. However, they are looking for two basic things when they rank your website organically:
- Relevant content for your target audience – do you have solid content to back up your keyword or keyword phrases?
- Your ranking as a subject matter expert for your keywords. Backlinks are part of the search engine’s evaluation for determining this. Backlinks are links to your site from other sites and community directories – the more backlinks from highly rated and relevant domains, the better your own domain authority and the higher your SEO rankings.
Let’s start by defining what I mean by “domain authority.” Here’s Moz.com’s definition:
“Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the "ranking strength" of a website over time. Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google in determining search rankings and has no effect on the SERPs.”
Of all the social media tips listed so far, this one will take the longest amount of time and effort to build up successfully. Here’s how to increase your domain authority:
- Get listed in professional and community directories that link to your site. You want to link to your main home page, not some obscure, buried content page.
- Add useful tools, guides and “how-to” types of content or resource lists to your website that others can recommend. For example, if you have a real estate website, you can always add a mortgage calculator to your website. For example, if you have a real estate website, you can always add a mortgage calculator to your website.
- Ask your networking partners to put a link on their sites to yours. For example, if you are a massage therapist, are there similar health and wellness providers in your network that work with your clients, but provide different services, such as a chiropractor, who might be willing to recommend you by providing a recommendation on their site and a link to your website?
- Check your site’s domain authority on a regular basis by testing with the Backlink Checker tool.
Social Media Tip #5 – Learn how to present or speak online.
If you are more of an extrovert and miss the thrill and energy of being at live events, this social media tip is for you! Virtual events now offer great opportunities to take your show on the road. Speak at virtual summits, online webinars/seminars. There is a boom in online networking groups, and all of these groups are constantly looking for subject matter experts to share what they know. What you will find is that the event promoters often share the attendee list with the speakers.
Potential networking opportunities to check out:
- Professional or community Meetup groups – both virtual and “brick and mortar.”
- Facebook or LinkedIn business groups – go through your list from Tip #2 and research what kind of virtual networking events they sponsor or participate in.
- Chambers of commerce and other professional business networking groups – both virtual and “brick and mortar.”
- Do an online search for virtual summits or conferences in your industry. Online magazines and professional directories are likely suspects to check out.
Once you have researched who’s doing what, get connected. If you find an appropriate event to speak at, help promote the event. When speaking, be sure that you get at least a few minutes either during your introduction or closing remarks to introduce your company, products and services.
Keep in mind the 80/20 rule – you are not spamming with an infomercial but providing legit information and advice on your area of expertise. No one likes attending event in the hope of solving a problem or learning something new, and instead being bombarded with a boring, self-serving infomercial. Encourage people to share their contact information with you by providing a useful, free handout.
- Check out and leverage sites like Influence to find influencers.