Using Social Networks to Drive Traffic

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Social networking has hit the mainstream in a big way. Sites such as Facebook and MySpace are household names – whilst other services such as Twitter are really making a slash in both the internet community and the outside world.

Many sites are now able to rely exclusively on social media traffic, whilst others use it to provide a large proportion of their visitors. Still others use such social networks to allow them to build a brand, or develop back links.

It is a phenomena that is only getting bigger, and as such represents a powerful way of driving traffic to your blog or site. But how do you go about doing so? What are the best ways of getting people from such networking sites to visit your own internet real estate?

It’s all in the niche

The chances are that your site operates in a niche. Whether it is internet marketing, current affairs, sports, cars or knitting, your site has a niche audience that you should be targeting. Social networks are perfect for that.

Because of the way you can see profile information on sites such as MySpace, or their comments on sites such as Twitter, you know instantly if they are the sort of person that you should be connecting with – if they have an interest in what you have to show them.

How to go about getting users to take an interest

Now we all know that social networks are full of spammers – and the last thing you want to do is be labeled as one of those. Which is why it is important for you to allow people to take an interest in what you have to say, rather than force your message on to them.

But how do you do that? There are a number of ways

  • Set yourself up as an expert in your niche. People respond to experts, hunt them out for answers and like debating with them. Show your knowledge and insight into the whole niche.
  • Don’t just link to your site. Instead link to other interesting articles as well as your own, let people see a broader range and that you are someone interesting to read, friend, follow etc.
  • Network. Social networks are not just about trying to get clicks or followers. They are about networking. Interact with the people you connect to and watch your status rise accordingly.
  • Make sure you fill out your website in your profile. If you are interesting enough people will look to see if you have one, and many times these links pass on some ‘link juice’ to your own site.
  • On page social networking. You can now use plug ins to help connect your page to social networks. Using ‘tweet this’ etc plugins allows people to use social networks to spread your message – without you getting involved.

Now these may not seem like much but just following these tips can actually make a massive difference to the amount of traffic you can garner from social networking sites – and the amount that your brand will rise.

It is important to remember that it is not just what you are saying that effects how you are seen on social networking sites, but what others are saying about you. To that end it is important that you are always professional and courteous to other users – unless your brand is hoping to create a negative reputation around itself.

What not to do on social networks.

Which leads us nicely into the other point I want to be making when it comes to social networking. What not to do. It might seem obvious, it’s the opposite of what you should be doing, right?

Yes and no. But there are times it can be right to step away from the ‘do’ list for awhile, but there are certain methods of acting on social networks that should never be done.

  • Make it all about you. The clue is in the name, social networking is about being social. If you are only posting and talking about yourself then people are going to lose interest very quickly.
  • Selling constantly. In a similar way it is not just about you it is very definitely not just about your offers. Social networking is about people, not about companies. If you have a message to give then give it by all means, but don’t let it just be constant selling and branding.
  • Insulting. You will come across people in different social networks that will get your back up. But whatever you do DON’T BITE. If you rise to the bait and start insulting them back then you will be doing your brand a lot of harm. Always act professional.

What social networks work best?

As we said it is important to understand your niche. Various niches have various social networks that could be better suited than the larger, generalist ones. But that said the ‘big’ networks still have a role to play for driving traffic to almost all sites because of the way you can target users as being within your niche by what they say, how their profile reads etc.

The best general social networking sites include

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Linkedin
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Squidoo

These vary from being a strict social networking site like Facebook, to services that contain social networking components such as Digg. But in all cases it is a case of interacting with the users, getting your message across, branding yourself and setting yourself up as an expert.

Social networking has a massive role to play in the modern traffic strategy of sites. How you use them is vital to the success of any online venture, so it is important that you understand the rules and the social community in which you are participating.

Here is the list of network I am participating.

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