November 23, 2014

13 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing is Worth Your Time

When comparing social media traffic to other forms of traffic, such as search engine, the numbers typically are going to look rather bleak. While you’ll hopefully see a spike in number of visitors and pageviews, that will often be accompanied by higher bounce rates, lower pageviews per visitor, and a lower average time on the site. With stats like this many bloggers wonder if social media traffic is even worth the time and effort.

Despite the tendency of many social media visitors to quickly exit your site and move on to the next one, there are still some very convincing reasons why you should care about social media and why it is worth your time.

1. It’s Free

Unless you’re paying for a consultant or a link bait specialist (both can be good options), marketing your website with social media is free. It will cost you some time, but that pales in comparison to the value of the traffic that you can get in return. There are countless ways to market a website or blog. Just about all of them involve spending money (which isn’t a bad thing), and of the ones that don’t involve money, the vast majority of them are a complete waste of time. I’ve never tried any other type of free marketing that brought even 1% of the results I’ve gotten with social media at my primary blog. Most bloggers are on a tight, or non-existent, budget when it comes to marketing. If this is the case, social media is for you.

2. Quick Results

Building a successful website takes a considerable amount of time and effort. Search engine rankings, for instance, can take years to build in a competitive niche. On the other hand, with social media you can develop content and be seen by thousands of visitors within the same day. For this reason, social media is a great option for getting a new website or blog noticed right away .

3. It’s Flexible

There are so many different social media websites that just about every imaginable niche is covered in one way or another. There are social news sites, bookmarking sites, and general networking sites. Whatever your needs and your audience, there should be an option to use social media for your benefit.

Also, you’re not stuck to using the same social media sites over and over. If you’re not getting results in one place there’s usually other options that you can try out.

4. It Gets Easier with Time

If you’re new to blogging and social media and you feel like everyone else is getting traffic but you, understand that it takes some time and effort, but it will get easier. Once you have established a bit of a reader base and you’ve hopefully attracted some social media users to your blog, it will be much easier for you to get votes and ultimately get more exposure. The more you use social media the more you will understand about how it works and how users will respond.

5. It Will Lead to Other Valuable Sources of Traffic

Although visitors from social media sites may be less responsive than other types of visitors, success with social media will likely increase the number of inbound links you receive. Links will boost your search engine rankings and they’ll also drive click-through traffic your way. Both are generally high quality traffic sources.

6. Building Links with Social Media is Safer than Buying Links

If you plan to cut out the need for social media by purchasing links from other sites, you’re running the risk of being penalized or banned by Google. For some, this is a risk worth taking, but in most cases I would strongly discourage taking this chance. Personally, I focus on building links for my primary blog through the combination of content and social media.

7. Social Media Users are Predictable

The whole concept or link bait or Digg bait wouldn’t even be possible if social media users were unpredictable. But the truth is you can usually have a good idea of what is likely to draw a response and what is not. This will come with time, and of course there is no 100% guarantee. However, once you know a social media audience pretty well, you can cater content to their preferences with a pretty high success rate. What you learn about social media can easily be duplicated to your other blogs or to serving clients.

8. It Doesn’t Require as Much Time as You Might Think

Personally, I use social media every day, but on a very limited basis. If you think that you have to spend all day on Digg or Stumbling pages to get some results of your own, you may be surprised. With the right approach you can get fantastic results with just a few hours per week on social media sites. To be a top Digg user you’ll need more time than that, but being a top Digg user isn’t necessary to draw social media traffic.

9. Branding Through Social Media is Possible

One of the great benefits to the exposure that you can get through social media is the result it has on the branding of your blog. Branding is key to building a success blog in the long-term, and social media is an excellent, free option for helping visitors to see your blog in a particular light. (For more, see my post at ProBlogger A Blogger’s Guide to Branding with Social Media.)

10. Links Can Help Your Search Engine Rankings Rise Quickly

Earlier I mentioned to social media can provide instant results. Well, in addition to sending loads of traffic directly, the links that result from social media success can get your new posts ranking very well with search engines almost immediately. It’s not uncommon for me to see a very respectable number of visitors from Google searches to a brand new post that just drew a lot of links through social media. While it will take a while to build search engine rankings as a whole, it is possible to create specific posts to rank well right away.

11. It Allows You to Leverage Your Existing Traffic

Do you already have a solid blog with a steady flow of traffic? If so, chances are you could leverage that traffic to draw even more visitors with social media. You may want to use voting buttons on your posts or ask some of your readers and friends to give you a vote occasionally.

12. Some Visitors Will Be Targeted

The biggest knock on social media traffic is that it’s not targeted, and that is typically true. However, visitors from niche social media sites can be very highly targeted, and on top of that, a portion of visitors from general news sites will be targeted as well. For example, if you get 25,000 visitors from a post on the Digg front page, maybe only 5,000 of them will have much of an interest in your site. Still, that’s a quick 5,000 visitors that you wouldn’t have had without social media. Just because a smaller percentage of the visitors will stick doesn’t mean that they are irrelevant.

13. The Future of the Internet is Social

Social media and social networking aren’t going away any time soon. The major players and the types of social sites may change of the course of time, but this is a trend that online marketers need to adjust to. Without finding ways to build a website or blog through social media you could be left behind by your competitors.

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

60 comments

  1. Usefulness of Social networking given in nutshell

  2. A very useful list of benefits. Thanks. You forgot to mention that in general, bloggers are very nice people :)

  3. usable list! increase my knowledge ’bout social network.
    thanks

  4. I agree with some of what you are saying here, although it is very easy to waste an awful lot of time for very little benefit on many of these social networking sites.

    For me, the long-term benefits of substantial amounts of traffic to link bait posts are well worth the effort, but I miss the boat as often as I hit it :)

  5. Using the right site to attract the right sort of traffic is also vital

  6. I can’t agree with most of your points at all. Sorry. I laugh whenever I see SM geeks try to rationalize SSM with the best foot forward. Don’t get me wrong though, as I love to read it. :)

    I think every article I have read about this exact same topic always says something like “free”…. but it takes time. Not that much time though. LOL

    In my book, TIME is the most expensive item and drain and resource hog on a business.

    Also; most all articles point out the se boosts with links ,etc. Too bad these so-called links are slowly but surely getting devalued all the time. What will people do then? Maybe build good sites? Oh no.

  7. Real estate,
    I completely agree that it’s possible to waste a lot of time. That’s why it’s important to have a plan (one that works) and to stick to it. There’s probably more people wasting time with social media than there are actually benefiting from it. But it doesn’t have to be that way, it’s just poor planning and execution in my opinion.

    Doug,
    You don’t have to agree, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. However, I know for a fact that social media does work for link building and improving search rankings because I’ve seen it firsthand for over a year with consistent results. You’re right, not all the links you get this way will be high quality, but some will.

    I agree with you that time is a very precious and valuable asset, but for those who are just getting started with a blog, time is probably more readily available than money. That should change with time as the blog/website is built to be more successful.

  8. This is a good post that should reduce some self imposed barriers that people have regarding social interaction online.

    I would like to point out that link building in social platforms for the sake of link building is a bad practice that leaves an ugly footprint that Google will slap.

    Focus on content and communities and your link building will happen as a natural result.

    Charles Heflin
    Twitter @CharlesHeflin

  9. A very well-written article that outlines the potential impact of SMM on site traffic and promotion. I think the most important point to remember is the final one – the future of the Internet is social, indeed.

    We’ve been seeing this movement gaining momentum for some time and the tidal wave will surely be upon us soon, if it isn’t already. Those that are already comfortable with SMM will certainly have a decided advantage moving forward. Long-term business success is about building relationships and rapport…SMM gives people a medium to accomplish those goals, but on a much larger scale.

  10. Good stuff, but one should remember to only focus on a couple social media sites for marketing. If you try and be everywhere, you’re going to lose something very important – frequently providing good quality content. Yeah you want traffic, but what good does it do you if they’re only there for a second or two and leave. Focus more on having a sticky website with good quality content where visitors would actually want to stay on your website and buy a product or click on an ad. So far I’m only focusing my social media marketing efforts on digg, stumbleupon, and mybloglog.

  11. Webpreneur,
    I agree that you should only focus on a few social media sites at a time. For most people Digg is a waste of time. If you don’t get to the front page it will send next to nothing, unlike StumbleUpon.

  12. @Steven I can see how Digg can be a waste if they only focus on being on the front page all the time, but if they learn how to harness the power of Digg and the other ways you can create buzz for your website(s) with it, then I think you can get something out of it

    I use Digg mostly because of its shouting feature; add a bunch of friends constantly, reply back to their shouts, send a few friendly messages here and there, “Digg” the links they send you, leave comments, and every once in a while, shout them up about your latest article (if u have a blog) or your updated website, asking them to check it out and asking them to shout your message to their friends as well, it does wonders for traffic, especially if you’re a newcomer

    some people might see it as spam, but it’s not, Digg decided to have this feature for a reason, if you are constantly “shouting” people, then yeah that would be spam, but if you’re interative and use it once in a while, it can be a very powerful advertising medium for your website(s) with no costs!

  13. After creating a “business” profile on Facebook, I could not be happier with the results. I log into Facebook in the morning, give nods and winks to “friends”, update my info and then get to work. I don’t count on Social Networking being my main source of clients, but it sure has increased traffic to my site. I am completely sold!

  14. We have found that social media marketing can be more effective than most other digital channels, including Search PPC. We have some examples of our social media campaign results on http://www.agency2.co.uk

  15. Traffic to my site has increased and i hope this will keep up.

  16. Up next: 13 ways to keep those visitors in?

  17. Great article – It is important to point out that social media traffic with time will convert better then it does today. Many people lose faith in the social media marketing because they see no results. Social takes lots of time in order to build a reputation and for people to trust you.

  18. Thanks for the tips. The key is niche sites, and SU is working pretty good for me as well.

  19. Loving this post. I feel so good about myself now that I know I havent been wasting too much time “playing” online!

  20. Social media is surely a boon for the newbies in the net zone. It has never been as easy as this. But one should have a clear plan before getting into the social media circle. For a wrong strategy could backfire and can also affect one’s business.

  21. I have seen remarkable increases in our traffic since adding Twitter and Facebook to our daily marketing. Our visitors keep coming back to our sites and are constantly given more reasons to talk about the experience of going to our website. Our social marketing friends are becoming our clients. Every communication is another opportunity to remind blog viewers why they like our product.

    Steve

  22. It seems that social media sites are a great way of marketing. The best part about these is that it is essentially all free, as pointed out by this article. As this world of Web2.0 continues to grow, I believe that you will see more and more businesses expanding this way. It’s very interesting how beneficial these sites are and how little they are being used by companies.

    -Webolutions

  23. The tremendous growth of social media over the last year (since this was originally posted) attests to the truths written here:)

  24. Great article. Glad I came across this post.

  25. My issue with this article, as with many articles on the same topic, is that it over simplifies the situation of marketing and developing your brand via Social Media. Without a clear marketing strategy and clear vision of what your brand will be or is, the time spent on social media is a waste. You can tweet, blog, share and post all day, but little mis-steps with your “social stock” (I had a business call me a “hater” and say that I “#fail” yesterday because I called him out for spamming a hashtag…that was stupid to attack potential clients), or not having a clear plan and goal is a sure fire way to fail.

    There really isn’t anything new here that hasn’t been said numerous times before and just as each time before it fails to deal with the core. You need a strategy and direction before just jumping into anything. Maybe that should be a “gimme,” but most people that don’t understand sales and marketing think that spending time on social media is going to help them. That isn’t the case.

  26. Ryan,
    Maybe it is oversimplified, but it is just a blog post, not a book. Covering all of the relevant topics to social media marketing and developing a plan was not really within the scope of this article. I was simply trying to say why it is not a waste of time, like many people say.

  27. While it’s been hard for me to get over “showing” what I’m doing to my contacts in Facebook and Twitter (some wierd fear of people laughing at me…), I’m seeing so many great results from doing so. I’m learning a lot from networking with others in the same boat as me, but also learning how to just put myself out there… Plus, it’s great when someone becomes your pilates student after following you on Twitter!!

  28. Great article clad I stubled upon it

  29. Social media is free. Social Media is where it is at for 2010! Everyone understands the importance of a “Targeted” audience and that is exactly what Social Media Provides. The author here has also given 11 other reasons you need to get involved in Social media Today.

    Don’t get left in the dust!

  30. I am taking my Social Media marketing efforts to the next level – and this post has given many compelling reasons to go for it!

    Thanks.

  31. Very nice article. Social Media Marketing has revolutionized the marketing communication model. Social Networking over the web is not a new thing. Its surprising that not many companies are discovering the benefits of it. Having an online presence and then interacting with target audience is much more effective than any other conventional way of promotion like advertising. Companies should integrate Social Media Marketing with their existing promotional efforts to maximize its benefit and effectiveness.

    http://www.facebook.com/vizzmedia
    http://twitter.com/vizzmedia

  32. Nice article. Social is a key part to any online strategy.

  33. I’m still trying to figure out if Social Media marketing is worth it. Apparently to some degree it works, but it seems like it takes far more effort then it’s worth. I’m still going to try some of these tips, but I’m pretty skeptical about it at this point in time.

  34. Overall a good post, a lot of people are complaining about the depth of the article and that and that you cannot market with social media, there is something that people need to take into consideration.

    All Social Media sites are there for interaction and comms, marketing needs to take a low priority as people will get put off by direct marketing and you will loose your momentum.

    Interest is only generated if you communicate what you do and you assist, this leads to indirect traffic but you build up a reputation. It is the same approach as when you talk to people socially nobody wants to be spammed or hard sold in a social environment.

    They are open to suggestions or recommendations that is how this opens avenues for a company to promote.

    Well thats my 2 cents

  35. I don’t know about #2. You MIGHT get lucky and have some quick results if you’re Rebecca Black status, but I would say in general there are no quick results. Social takes time and hard work day in and day out. I’m sure when Best Buy started their Facebook page they had a great immediate response, but do you think Mike’s Plumbing in Kansas is going to get quick results just by creating a Facebook page? He’ll have to develop some pretty sweet content and a solid strategy to get himself noticed.

  36. Nice post informational and factual…:)

  37. I think people approach social media like it’s going to solve all their problems. I see people all the time who come back from a social media conference and go crazy for a few days, don’t see results and then quit. The truth is it’s just one part of an overall strategy, and it’s much more of a marathon than a sprint.

    Hope you write an updated version of this post for 2011.

  38. I just read this article, and three years later its relevant, great post!

  39. Social media is pretty amazing. I run my own social media company called Social Cindy (I don’t like to spam links, but it shows up if you would like to Google it) and most of what people say about social media is true, including this. Good post.

  40. Great medium to get traffic!!!

  41. Jonas Storm Halvorsen

    Great post with valid points. In my experience the social media marketing has not really taken of here in Norway yet. It has for business to consumers, but not for business to business.

    That will probably change in the coming years, so better be prepared! :)

  42. Would love to see your thoughts a couple of years on from the original post.

    Think we are still facing many of the same problems!

  43. I’m with Jake and Dustin above, great post soldier, but it’s time to update the post to include a link to your 2012 view on this.

    I’ve just started a twitter account and I can tell I’m not “important” yet because I haven’t put out many tweets or followers. Hate that there is now a hurdle just for those data points.

    Truly,
    -HQ

  44. Great article, My wife worked as Director of Social Media for a company in LA – it really does work if you do it consistently!

  45. 4 years ago and you were definitely onto something. Social media is definitely king today and I think it worked out even better than predicted. It’s great for branding, and most visitors are VERY targeted. Especially with Facebook. Amazing laser sharp marketing. I have a lot of tips that still work very well with Facebook on my website http://www.fbprofits.youaccomplish.com.

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