Social media is a leading source of traffic to many blogs. Like any other traffic source (for example, search engines) the amount of traffic and the results can be influenced by the approach of the blogger. It’s pretty well accepted that website owners and bloggers should maximize their chances of getting search engine traffic by building a search engine-friendly site, but there are mixed opinions on how much focus should be given to social media.
Two Opposing Views:
View #1 – Bloggers should actively use social media and should take advantage of its potential by publishing content that appeals to social media audiences. By creating content specifically aimed at these users the blogger will get more exposure and traffic.
View #2 – Bloggers should ignore social media audiences when writing content. Bloggers are better off writing for their readers, and if the content is interesting and high-quality, traffic and exposure will come in one form or another.
I think most bloggers fall somewhere in the middle of these two views, and I would also put myself in that category. Both of the extreme views have some valid points, but they also have limitations and room for improvement.
Problems With Targeting Social Media:
Bloggers that always target social media audiences may find it difficult to build a base of loyal readers. With content that is created specifically for social media there can sometimes be a disconnection that prevents the blogger and the reader to develop the strong relationship that is wanted.
Additionally, this approach will produce very inconsistent traffic. That’s not always bad, because it implies some large spikes of traffic. However, if you’re relying on social media the traffic will be almost non-existent unless you have a post that is currently popular. Building on this issue, a low percentage of visitors will return later. A high percentage of social media traffic is one-and-done.
Problems With Ignoring Social Media:
If you’re not paying attention to social media you are missing out on traffic, exposure, subscribers, and links. To make things worse, your competitors are most likely benefiting from social media, so you are losing ground.
Finding a Balance:
1. Create content that appeals to both audiences. It is possible to please your regular subscribers as well as social media audiences at the same time. Find content that your readers appreciate and present it in a way that will also draw attention from social media. Taking this approach will also help you to gain more subscribers from social media as this content will be very relevant to the primary topics of your blog.
2. Timing. When you are targeting social media audiences it’s important to consider a few different aspects of timing. First of all, you probably don’t want to do so with every post that you publish. Pick your spots and go after social media traffic occasionally, but not with every post. Also, you’ll get better results depending on when you publish your posts. For example, most social media sites are less active on the weekends, so you’ll probably want to avoid these times.
3. What do you want to be known for? Make sure that your posts and your social media bait fit with the image that you want to portray to you visitors. There are plenty of opportunities to take shortcuts with social media, but if the content doesn’t fit with image you are building, does it really help?
4. Find the social media sites that work best for you. Many bloggers just go after traffic at the major social media sites. Not every blog is a good fit. Find the sites that work best for you and don’t worry about the others.
5. Use social media for a purpose. Have a plan for your Social Media Marketing, don’t just go after traffic. What do you want to accomplish through social media? Don’t get distracted by the stats, keep your focus on what’s most important to you and your blog.
What’s Your Opinion?
Do you think bloggers should specifically target social media audiences? Why or why not?