Social media websites provide some of the best opportunities for free traffic generation. Unfortunately, there is also a downside to social media traffic. Here are a few of the flaws and a look at what you can do to overcome them.
1 – It’s Temporary
With most social media sites, success equals a burst of traffic for a day or two, and then it’s back to life as normal. While the surge in traffic can be exciting, it can be equally depressing when things return to status quo.
How to overcome it: It is possible to get steady traffic from social media. To increase your chances you can post frequently, develop high quality content, build a strong profile, and focus on sites like StumbleUpon that send lasting traffic rather than sites like Digg.
2 – It’s Not Targeted
Many of the visitors that you get through social media would not fall within your target market. They may just be clicking through based on interesting headlines or because they see a lot of other people voting for your stuff. Having a lack of targeted traffic means you will receive less significant results from the traffic.
How to overcome it: Take advantage of niche social media sites. They may have a lower number of users, but the quality will be higher and they’ll be more likely to fit into your target market. When you do submit to larger, general news sites, be careful to choose the most appropriate category. Many users view submissions according to the category they are associated with. Finally, don’t force a submission when it just doesn’t fit. Not everything will be a match for the social media audience.
3 – Too Much, Too Soon
Especially with the major sites like Digg, traffic can come so fast that many servers can’t handle it. The “Digg Effect” takes many sites down every day. Obviously, if your site is down the traffic is doing you no good. Some people prefer not to even deal with Digg traffic for this reason, because it can be more of a headache than it’s worth.
How to overcome it: If you plan to market with social media you must have quality hosting. Most low-price shared hosting services can not hold up to high traffic volumes, like the ones you will get from being on the front page of Digg. Quality hosting isn’t that much more expensive than some of the cheaper options, but the price won’t even be an issue once your site has crashed and you’re missing out on traffic. Trust me. I’ve been there.
4 – Negativity
Some sites, especially Digg, have notoriously negative users. Even very popular submissions to Digg will likely be filled with negative and derogatory comments (the comments on Digg itself, not necessarily on your blog). When you get your first submission promoted to the front page of Digg it can be pretty discouraging to read these types of comments.
How to overcome it: One of the keys to overcoming it is to simply expect the negativity and understand that is it usually not a reflection of the content itself, but rather a reflection of the audience. Another option is to not even read the comments. However, by not reading the comments you may be missing out on some valuable feedback. Although it may be hurtful, some of the comments can help you to see how you can improve.
5 – Visitors Take No Action
Huge volumes of traffic are nice, but ultimately you will want your visitors to take some kind of action. Maybe you want to gain subscribers, make sales, or get people to click on ads. All of these things can be very difficult with social media traffic. These visitors are generally interested in only taking a quick look at your site before returning to place where they found you. The conversion rates that you are getting from other sources of traffic will almost certainly see a big drop from social media traffic.
How to overcome it: Yes, conversion rates will be lower with social media traffic than with most other types of traffic, but the enormous potential amount of traffic from social media can more than make up for lower conversion rates. First, you need to understand the habits of social media users and adjust your strategy accordingly. Trying to sell a product directly to these visitors is almost certainly a losing effort. Rather, you may be better off focusing on using social media to build links or improve brand recognition, both of which can eventually lead to increased sales.
Know what you want from social media visitors and make it easy for them. For example, if you want to gain subscribers be sure that your subscription link is somewhere on the page that will be seen immediately. Keep the content very closely-related to the primary topics of your blog, and consider adding a small welcome message that reminds visitors to subscribe.