What Value Is There In Traffic From Social Marketing?
Depending on who you talk too, social marketing provides either a valuable stream of traffic, or a flow of useless traffic that does nothing but send your bounce rate through the roof. There is more than a grain of truth to both arguments.
How can they both be true? A lot will depend on the type of social marketing you do, where you do it, and most importantly, why you do it. Social marketing through sites like Digg and StumbleUpon may drive a lot of traffic to your site, however history shows that this traffic is short lived and converts at an extremely low rate.
Social marketing through sites such as Facebook and Myspace generally doesn’t deliver huge spikes in traffic, they can however convert at much higher rates.
The difference between the two is that Digg and SU are really nothing more than social bookmarking sites. As such they don’t lend themselves to most forms of social marketing. This doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Their value lies not in today’s traffic but the traffic they can help to generate longer term.
Social bookmarking has, over time, two benefits to websites. The first is the links they can help develop. You may get an increase in traffic that is short lived, however if just 1% of that traffic links back to your pages, they are links you didn’t have yesterday and they all help to boost your rankings into the future. The second benefit, though fleeting, can be very valuable. There are times when I notice a page being indexed by the search engines with minutes of it being bookmarked. A similar unbookmarked page can take hours, sometimes even a day, before it is indexed.
Social marketing through the social interaction sites such as Facebook doesn’t produce the same results. However, the traffic that can be generated is of much higher quality. This traffic arrives on your site because they are interested or curious about you and your product or service. This traffic is far more likely to convert to a sale.
As you can see, there are two different marketing strategies with two different outcomes. Don’t look at the flood of traffic from social bookmarking as being low value – think long term. There is always value in any sort of traffic – it is just a matter of perspective. Social marketing should have clear goals and that starts by defining your short and long term aims.