I asked several top SEO professionals to write about what is the best social network. Which social networks do they have the most success with, and to share any tricks or tactics they use for getting more traffic from them. These contributions make for fascinating reading, as there are so many different ideas that work differently for different people. However they all work.
This is not textbook stuff, this is tried and tested methods to gain social attention. These are great social media tips. There is a lot you can learn from these contributions, so take your time and enjoy!
I would suggest that you don’t try and do everything here. Think about what tactics will probably work best for you and do one or two of them really well, rather than spread yourself too thinly.
If you have any other ideas, tactics, techniques, please feel free to share them in the comments bellow.
Without further ado, here we go…
Ken Lyons – Measured SEMand Cornerstone Content
With the affiliate sites we run, we leverage social media channels primarily to promote content assets, like infographics, informative guides, group interviews, top lists, curated round ups, etc. For really personalized, targeted outreach and relationship building, Twitter is our go-to social platform. We start by building out a list of prospects we intend to reach out to and follow all of them at least a week in advance. We’ll share some of their stuff as well and @ them on Twitter as a bit of outreach “foreplay” and to get on their radar. The day we launch an asset and begin promotional efforts, we’ll shoot them an email but also @ them on Twitter too, which makes potential sharing a little more friction-less. This tactic yields a trickle of traffic (a few hundred visits on average), but it’s typically traffic that’s of higher intent and of better quality as these folks can end up in the top of our funnel or become relationships we can leverage for future projects.
To drive higher amounts of social traffic, we buy impressions on Reddit and Stumbleupon. It’s relatively inexpensive and for a $100 you can generate thousands of unique visits. The referred visits from those sites are definitely of lower value/quality (short time on site, high bounce rate) and will never convert, but buying impressions helps to propel the content asset in front a much larger audience with a potential for additional shares, coverage and links.
Nick Eubanks – SEO Nick
For me personally, and my blog, my most successful social network has to be twitter. There have been several occasions where twitter has sent gobs of highly qualified visitors to my website, resulting in tons of shares and new email subscribers. It’s the same for any social network; you get out what you put in – so I try to stay on topic, be humble, and provide useful (and sometimes funny) content to the people who are nice enough to let me into their feeds.
I don’t really have any ‘techniques’ per-say, I just follow people I respect and appreciate; although I suppose I do tend to follow people who are first-movers or who provide value to my twitter stream. I used to follow a lot of people who only retweeted others stuff and never had an original thought or contribution of their own. I found that these types of people clogged up my stream and made it less useful for me to be an active user.
As for the other social channels, I don’t use Facebook as much as I probably should, same goes for Linked In, but I have been starting to use Google+ and have had some really great conversations. I personally have found that people seem to be willing to share more in-depth answers and opinions on G+ than on most of the other platforms (and obviously more than twitter).
I think the approach that has helped me start to grow a following is trying to be useful, keeping the personal stuff out of my tweets (for the most part), and not using it as shameless self-promotion soapbox. But don’t get me wrong, I definitely promote my content, but I promote others 10 times more.
Gregory Ciotti – GregoryCiotti.com
For marketers working in the B2B space, one of the most underrated social media platforms out there is SlideShare. For my B2B software startup Help Scout, there has been no better source of social media traffic than our presentations on SlideShare. The secret to using the platform, however, is in the art of the ‘push’, or in leveraging your current audience to get early views on a new presentation. By doing this (such as embedding your slideshow onto a blog post), you increase your chances of hitting the SlideShare homepage, where you can easily generate over 25k+ views from professionals and small business owners, resulting in highly targeted traffic. Throw in a eye-catching title slide and a clear call to action at the end of your presentation, and you’re good to go.”
Bill Sebald – Green Lane SEO
My biggest, and only qualified traffic driving social network, is the bird.
Twitter. I’ve tried paid StumbleUpon, LinkedIn sharing (which wasn’t too
bad when I targeted an active niche), and Facebook (both organic and PPC).
All drove traffic, but kind of wild traffic. It took years of feeding a
Twitter addiction, but Twitter by far brings my most engaged, converting
I have a few thousand followers from nothing more than sharing topics I’m
interested in, which mostly default to digital marketing and beer. Seems
like there’s a lot of us out there. By sharing, which ultimately works like
an endorsement, I’m guessing it eventually built my followers up through
retweets. Some of it probably comes from my blogging as well. Ultimately I
gain about 20% more followers each week than I lose. The unfollowers are
most often people using TweetAttack(defunct) type programs to build their
own follower count, and dumping me because I didn’t bite. Organically, it’s
a slow climb.
I’ve come to learn that if I want the most engagement, my peak time is 11am
and 2pm (which is 11am on the west coast). Something about that time gets
me the most retweets, and drives the most traffic. A tool I tried once
called Crowdbooster validated this time as being a key time by analysing my
Geoff Kenyon – Geoff Kenyon.com
Different social networks have very different target markets and purposes. Two that I like for driving a lot of additional traffic are Stumble Upon and Pinterest – They are obviously intended for different markets but both have the ability to deliver a lot of traffic. Stumble upon is great for creative pieces such as infographics; I’ve been able to drive a lot of extra traffic to infographics via Stumble Upon. This exposure on Stumble Upon often leads to more exposure on other other blogs and more links. Pinterest is a great driver of traffic for DIY, home, and food markets. It doesn’t often lead to the same level of exposure on subsequent sites as Stumble Upon, but you can drive a lot of traffic to you site. I’ve found that “instructographics” work really well on Pinterest as do simpler resources such as recipes. With either of these examples, you have to a lot put time and effort into the content/resources that you’re promoting to make it great otherwise it will fail. Crap content gets crap results, regardless of the social network it’s on.
I’m finding it a little difficult to choose between Twitter and Facebook, as they’re both good depending on the circumstances and niche. However, I think I’ll run with Facebook, as it can be a lot more fun and engaging. I don’t really feel like I’m using any techniques or secret tactics here, I pretty much act as if a Facebook page is the page of a real person. Sure, I keep postings relevant to whatever product it’s for, but I’ll do things I’d do on my personal account like post images I find interesting and asking followers questions.
Recently, I asked our followers about slogan ideas for t-shirts and the response was great. People were engaged on both Facebook and Twitter. These simple acts have not only helped us grow our fan count, it also generates a lot of first time customers, and of course, traffic. A great example of this is George Takei’s Facebook page. He just tweets whatever he finds interesting and has nearly 4 million followers. Sure, he’s also George Takei, but the concept is the same.
Steve Morgan – SEOno
I’m a heavy Twitter user when it comes to promoting my posts – more so than Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. In addition to tweeting about a post when it goes live (I’ve found weekday lunchtimes (GMT) to be the best publishing time for me), I also do an “In case you missed it…” style tweet a few days later, publicising it again. I’m also a big believer of Twitter outreach, but only when it’s relevant to people (i.e. I’ve featured them in one of my posts).
Chris Dyson – Triple SEO
I do quite a few things with my affiliate or client sites to drive traffic via Social Media.
1. Stumbleupon – use the Stumbleupon URL shortener su.pr to share the article on Twitter/FB etc. This loads the Stumblebar with your page & lets your users easily share your article with their friends on Stumbleupon
2. Use Stumbleupon paid discovery to test viral campaigns. If the idea is bad it will fail to get any natural stumbles.
3. Twitter – I’m a big fan of Buffer and I use Tweriod every few weeks to analyse when my followers are online. There’s no point in sharing an article if there’s no one to read it.
I have a a lot of US followers to my SEO Twitter account. My tweets are scheduled throughout the week to go out in the late afternoon / early evening UK time, when my followers are at work. I can then check my Buffer stats to see which topics & which times had the best engagement.
Houssem – HQ Social Media
Although social networks are more of a relationship building tool than they are of traffic generation, they could be a massive source of traffic if used correctly. The most effective thing you can ever do to increase the referral traffic from these platforms is to craft attention grabbing headlines. As you know, social media is all about discoverability, so the better headlines you post, the more clicks you’re going to get on your links. The key of course if to understand your audience and learn what triggers their action on each social network. the better your understanding of your audience is, the better headlines (tweets, status updates…etc) you’re going to write, and the more traffic you’re going to get.
My most successful social push was when I combined Launchrock with my Twitter profile for the announcement of my link building book. Launchrock has a great feature where you can make it super easy for people to share the fact they have signed up to hear more about the launch of your product. You can easily customise the text and call to action which makes it great for getting the word out about your product. It also provides great reporting so you can see which tweets from which people sent the most signups. I’d highly recommend Launchrock for anyone who is about to launch a product and build a list around it.
A great way to get instant website traffic is through Facebook ads. Due to the massive amount of user data that Facebook holds, the ability to precisely target your target customers is every marketer’s dream. But the secret weapon behind Facebook ads is using the Facebook power editor compared to the normal ads manager. With the Facebook power editor, you can not only target your ad audience by their age, sex, demographic location, interests and their education level, you can choose to display your Facebook ads directly on their newsfeed (not just on the right hand side), and on their desktop and smartphone!
This is a massive advantage as we’ve heard the statistics that more Facebook users use their smartphones to browse Facebook than their desktops. Power editor allows you to plug directly into this! Another massive advantage of using Facebook’s power editor is custom audiences, which allows you to upload the details (emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs) of a custom list of people. This could be a segmentation of your customer list that have been a buyer in the past but haven’t bought any of your newer products yet. You can then target your Facebook ads towards them and drive them back to your website, which can form the start of your sales funnel.
Michael Lux – Student Loan Sherpa
Nearly all of my social media successes can be attributed to one of two approaches. First, I’ve learned that great things happen when you work with others in your field. Networking with your “competitors” can lead to great opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have. This is especially true in the case of authority sites and blogs. Just because someone at another site wrote an insightful article doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share it with your social network. Your readers will appreciate it, and more times than not, the favor will be returned. The second approach that has worked for me would be trial and error. It would be great if there was one ideal approach or a most efficient method, but the best approach will really vary from person to person and site to site. Give everything a try, diversify your interests, and find out what works best for you. Success doesn’t happen overnight, you only get there if you are willing to fail a few hundred times first.
Thanks to everyone for contributing.
Check out these other great collaborative posts…