Some people say that social media does nothing more than send untargeted visitors to a site, a short-term spike that disappears quickly with no lasting results. While this can be true, and probably is true in most cases, it is also possible to achieve real, long-term benefits with social media marketing.
The key to achieving long-term results with social media is having a plan. Know specifically what you hope to gain through social media. Don’t simply use social media to gain visitors. Have a specific audience that you want to target, choose relevant social media sites that appeal to your target audience, and get to know the site’s users and what types of content they like best.
A successful social media campaign will bring a flood of new visitors to the website or blog, but what you do after the traffic spike will have a huge impact on your long-term results. Too many of us tend to simply emphasize getting to the front page, and we forget that our work is not done at that point. Here is a brief list of things that you can do as a follow up to social media success that will help to transfer those short-term benefits into lasting results.
1. Provide Excellent Follow Up Content
Some of the new visitors that have found your site as a result of social media will be interested enough to come back again later, or they may have even subscribed. In this case, the quality of your follow up content is essential to encouraging them to keep coming back. They’ve already liked your first piece of content enough to come back for a second visit, now this second visit is the perfect opportunity to show them that you are not just a one-hit wonder.
If possible, build on the same topics that were successful with social media. If visitors were interested in the first place they will more than likely be interested in related content. I’ve made the mistake in the past of following up with content that was not at all related, and I lost a large percentage of the subscribers that I had just gained.
If you are creating a blog post specifically to target social media users and you are expecting or anticipating success, have a follow up post prepared ahead of time if possible. Because the follow up is so important, it is not something that you want to take lightly. If you can have it prepared ahead of time you will have a better chance of creating something with real quality. If you don’t have time to prepare something ahead of time, at least give some thought to what would be an effective follow up article so you’re not starring at a blank screen waiting for a great idea to pop into your head.
Don’t publish follow up content just to get something new posted. If the quality is not there, you are better off to wait another day or so until you can have the time to develop a better follow up post. Not posting immediately is better than posting something that will take a step backwards.
2. Reply to Comments
Most blog posts that get tons of traffic from social media will generate some feedback from new commenters that haven’t visited your blog before. Replying to comments is always a good practice, but it can be difficult to do when you get a lot of comments. Taking the time to reply may be enough to turn that new visitor into a repeat visitor.
One thing that I have done in the past with very good results is to email 1st time commenters. I would typically write a brief email that says thanks for commenting, I appreciate your feedback and hope to see you around again in the future. If I have time, I’ll visit their website or blog and mention something that I liked about their site in the email. It’s always a good idea to also leave your subscription URL.
Some of the comments that you get may be constructive criticism (or they may be not-so-constructive criticism) which can be used to help you in the future. Some of these comments may be able to aid you in creating social media content that will be even more successful.
3. Thank Other Bloggers for Links
Blog posts that are successful with social media may draw a large number of inbound links. Make an effort to visit the blogs that link to you and leave a comment to say thanks. Bloggers always appreciate when you take the time to visit a post that mentioned and linked to you. In some cases, that’s what they are hoping to accomplish.
4. See Who Voted for You
Most social media sites will allow you to see who voted for you. It may be worth your time to browse through those that voted, add some as friends and make an effort to get to know them. If they liked your content enough to vote, they may like our other content as well.
Many social media sites allow users to link to their blog or website from their profile. If you see that some of those who voted for you have their own blogs, visit them and leave comments. Any way that you can build relationships with active social media users that like your content is beneficial, as it may help to produce better results in the future.
5. Analyze Stats
You can learn a lot about your success with some basic statistical analysis. What worked an what didn’t? Which social media sites did you have the most success with? Know what has worked in the past can help you to prepare and promote content even more effectively in the future. If you’re getting traffic from social media sites that you really don’t use actively, start using them. Get to know them better, make some friends, and learn how to do even better in the future. On the other hand, if your pushing hard after a particular social media site and it just isn’t happening, maybe you would be better off to adjust your strategy. Try targeting other sites and see what happens.
What’s Your Experience?
What have you learned about social media from your past successes and how do you use that to your long-term benefit? What other items would you add to the discussion?